A Digital Nomad in Rishikesh

Photos from the Road: Punakha Dzong, rice paddies and a Madman
August 22, 2013
Kolkata (Calcutta) via Instagram
September 1, 2013

A Digital Nomad in Rishikesh

digital nomad in rishikesh

Traditionally, Rishikesh has attracted Hindu pilgrims, yoga enthusiasts, meditation students, and those seeking enlightenment.


digital nomad in rishikesh

View of Rishikesh from across the Ganges.


But recently the town has lured digital nomads and other location independent. Its combination of affordable accommodation, healthy activities, and beautiful setting in the mountains above the Ganges River make it a fine base for weeks or months.


This is my latest in a series of digital nomad posts. Check out A Digital Nomad in Luang Prabang Laos and A Digital Nomad in Dali China.


WiFi Access


Connectivity in Rishikesh is not spectacular. But it was sufficient for getting my work done each day. Very few cafes have Wi-Fi, so you should rely on your guesthouse to supply your internet. Most guesthouses only have internet for set hours during the day and a few charge extra for it. Speeds are not fast, but not too slow, either. With so-so Internet, maybe this is the time for you to write the book you’ve been pushing off.


digital nomad in rishikesh

View from the roof of my guesthouse in High Bank.


City with a Village Feel


It’s hard to top Rishikesh’s setting. It’s situated along the Ganges River between in some small mountains in the foothills of the Himalaya. Most foreigners base themselves at an ashram or hotel along the river. Another popular option is to stay up in High Bank. This is where I stayed for 10 days, at a family-run guesthouse among a cluster of similar ones. Make no mistake; Rishikesh is as noisy as any Indian city, but basing yourself up on the mountain-side in High Bank sets you apart from the bustle in a peaceful area.


digital nomad in rishikesh

Juno and I with our yoga instructor Surinder Singh at the Hotel Rajdeep.


(Good) Distractions


Yoga is the main event in Rishikesh. There are countless yoga studios and yoga ashrams offering drop-in classes, courses, teacher-training courses. Some hotels even have their own yoga hall. It’s tough to get solid information about which are the best, so it’s best to just show up and ask around for recommendations. I had good luck with Surinder Singh at the Hotel Rajdeep and Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram in the Tapovan district of Rishikesh. My Spanish friend was looking forward to a teacher training course with Patanjali Yoga. Anther yoga instructor to look out for is Swami Yogananda, who is 105 years old and teaches at Om Shanti Om.


Additionally, you can find meditation ashrams or take music lessons in Rishikesh.


digital nomad in rishikesh

Crossing the Ganges River over the pedestrian bridge.


Inexpensive living


Overall, living expenses in Rishikesh are quite inexpensive. You can get rooms for as low as 200 rupees ($3.25 US) outside of high season. Rates at a yoga Ashram I visited were 600 rupees ($10) per night which included room, three meals, as well as two yoga lessons. Even the western cafes in town aren’t overpriced, where you can eat for only double the price of what you might find at a local café. At most local cafes you can fill up for 60-100 rupees ($1-1.60). Transportation around Rishikesh in shared Rickshaw is only about 10 rupees ($.17).


Alternatives to to being a Digital Nomad in Rishikesh


I don’t think there’s any place quite like Rishikesh. You can find yoga schools and foreigner enclaves other places in India, but they all don’t come together like they do in Rishikesh. If you want to get cool, up in the mountains, try the nearby hill stations of Mussoorie or Nainital.


Do you have plans to visit Rishikesh?  Have you been here already?


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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 15 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Google +, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Rebecca says:

    not so sure if I could live there but it sounds like a great experience

  2. Stephen says:

    I was actually considering India as a backup if Kyrgyzstan’s winter weather gets too unbearable. Handy tip, thanks!

  3. Hey Stephen, I’m not sure how the winter is in Rishikesh. It’s near the mountains, but not up in them. I suspect it would be cool, but not cold. Probably warmer than Kyrgyzstan’s winter though! For warmth and connectivity, I might head down to Kerala or Goa.

  4. […] A Digital Nomad in Rishikesh – Stephen Bugno finds a city in India that makes for an ideal working base. […]

  5. Ryan says:

    I’ve been to many parts of India, but have never seen Rishikesh. Hopefully I can get there someday.

  6. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Ryan. Yeah, Rishikesh is a a good place to stop and recharge physically and mentally while traveling around India. Of course it’s got all the yoga ashrams but is nicely situated in the foothills of the Himalaya along the river, and it’s easy to find a quiet, cheap place to stay there.

  7. Sounds fantastic Stephen! I’m heading to Rishikesh in March.

    I know it’s been a while since your post, so i’m hoping the WiFi is better now 😉

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