White water rafting and camping
White water rafting and camping Rishikesh Reviews
Must do event - Rishikesh Feb 22, 2010
PLANNING TRAVEL from DELHI TO RISHIKESH
It was a Saturday afternoon and I was in New Delhi, India with 2 of my colleagues and we were on a project working at the Delhi Airport. We were nearing the end of our project and my colleagues were planning to visit some of their respective friends and family (Delhi being their hometown) and I was left wondering as to what I’d be doing over the weekend…
I started browsing through the net for places in and around Delhi and hit upon Rishikesh. I had heard that this place had white water rafting and I was quite keen to experience that! Then I started checking the train tickets on irctc.co.in (which I think is like one of the best train booking sites we’ve had) but all train tickets were booked All bus tickets were booked too!
SELECTING A TOUR OPERATOR
In the meanwhile I googled a few adventure sites organizing rafting adventures and being a Sunday all of them were packed as well!!! Finally I called red chilli and they were more than happy to accommodate me for a half day river rafting adventure which they undertake on a daily basis. I hired a cab to go to Rishikesh from Delhi and back. The catch was that I had to be back to wrap up the project in Delhi on Monday morning and I wanted to return by Sunday night. The cab hire was quite expensive and it overshot my budget bigtime (the funny part – the river rafting experience was 1/10th the cab cost)
TRAVEL - DELHI TO RISHIKESH
The travel from Delhi to Rishikesh is around 6-8 hours depending on your driver, there’s not too many eventful things to do on the way. Finding places to eat is not at all a problem however I realized that in some parts of North India, coffee is hard to find. Tea is the more popular drink and coffee is priced at a premium and takes more time to make. Some places might even give you a funny look if you ask for coffee! The road is average not bad not that great either, some stretches are quite uneven.
We arrived at Haridwar en route Rishikesh at around 5ish in the morning, however the place was already crowded and to find something to do unplanned out there so early was not possible so we moved on to Rishikesh. We landed at Rishikesh at around 6ish and realized that finding accommodation is quite a pain. I’d suggest future travelers to make their booking in advance / be prepared to rough it out a bit to hunt for a room. You will of course eventually find a place but will need to search quite a bit. Since we were more in a get up and go mood, we just rented a small room in a no frills hotel called Hotel Ramaya right next to our adventure company red chilli. I later realized that renting a hotel in this road (Tapovan Laxman Jhula road) is great since you get an awesome view of the Ganga from atop. Btw the hotel wasn’t that bad either (if you’re just looking for a quick one) for 4$ the staff was courteous and helpful. I’d recommend all travelers to rent out some hotel in this road which gives you the view of the Ganga. It was an incredible moment to spend a few solemn moments there and clear your mind off everything!
After having freshened up and allowing the cab driver to take a break, I headed to grab some breakfast and was told that Hotel Tip Top is highly recommended by the local for its mouth watering Punjabi food. The parathas were to die for!! After having eaten a healthy BF I waited for our adventure company to open (which it eventually did by 9)
I was the first one in there and I hung around looking at their travel material and brochures. I believe they even conduct customized treks and river rafting adventures as per requirement. They also house a nice little cyber café with complementary tea. I told myself that I need to come back here and do one of those leisurely treks and rafting trips. Also I learnt from fellow travelers that Red chilli charges a premium (double or more) as compared to other locals however a lot of people prefer red chilli since they take additional precautions for safety and are always accompanied by a couple of professional staff. The staff were educated, courteous and pleasant! I bought a few munchings just in case though Red chilli does always have snacks / lunch as part of their itenary :P I met Ilan from Brazil who was by himself and it was good to have some company. There were also 3 other guys from Delhi who had come as a group.
We started to go to our starting point by a jeep. We were carrying all our rafting gear on the way. The drive is about an hour from the hotel. Further post that we spent another hour or so getting instructions and a safety drill and the staff unload all the rafts, oars, helmets, life savers etc. We had 3 additional members around our rafts in kayaks just for safety in case someone just fell down the raft through the rapids. When you take the half day tour you come through just rapids of level 3-4 which are quite manageable really. The 1 day tour can take you to more challenging rapids.
ACTION STARTS HERE
We then got on to the rafts and tried out how to move the rafts forward and it was a very fun moment to row the raft ahead by ourselves. Of course the course of the Ganges helps you and saves the effort. One of the red chilli staff was the team lead and he’d helpus with directions and the course. We also had to learn to row forward, stop, change course and directions. Interestingly, the guys who sit in the front do the maximum amount of rowing since they need to take charge, the guys behind just seem to hang in and enjoy the ride :P We enjoyed the entire course of the Ganga and passed through what is called a beach houses. These are rental beach shacks which can be rented out, they are on the banks of the river Ganga. I have enclosed some pics check them out! We navigated through the initial rapids with ease. The rapids mid way through smothered us and we were really washed up completely :D Also when you go rafting to ask your guide to tell you when you can jump into the river – its great fun – if you don’t know swimming (like me) then they provide you a rope to hang on to and you can still jump!! Midway through we pit stopped for some chips and some drinks. We resumed on our course to pass through some gorgeous views. The weather was perfect and the water was chilled it was great! And in Hindu belief it is said that a dip in the Ganges helps wash your sins away so that’s an added incentive too :P As you near the end of your 3-4 hour long river rafting experience, in the end don’t miss out the jump from the cliff! This is extremely fun since the guide allows you to jump from a particular spot and you dive in some 30-40 feet down and its great fun. You can carry your camera on board the rafts just give it to your guide who has a water proof cover. Also if you wish to have the tour operator take some action pics – arrange with them in advance. I did so (even though the team didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it – I think all in all it costs around 20$) We had a great rafting adventure and I hope to be back there someday. I have attached some pics of our entire adventure. On the way back don’t miss the Laxman Jhula bridge. Also, Rishikesh is a very cosmopolitan place with many people coming here looking out for Yoga and meditation. I didnt have the time for the camping / beach shacks however its a Must do along with the rafting!!
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River rafting in Ganges near Shivpuri Apr 03, 2009
River rafting in Ganges is absolutely fun.
To make the trip more worthwhile, travel between Nov and Feb and also do make it a point to not just do rafting, but also stay in the beach camp for 2 nights or so. Ideal location for the beach camp is about 9-10 kms from Shivpuri. The one we stayed at was Great Himalayan Expedition - 9 kms from Shivpuri, and it had quite a big beach compared to others out there.
The road journey from Rishikesh isn't really the thing to be talked about. But once you reach the rafting camp, dump the stuff in your tent and get ready for rafting, its all worth it !
There are rapids from grades 1-4 which most people raft on and even we didn't dare go for grade 5 !
A couple of really good rapids are 3 Blind Mice and Golfcourse.
There's cliff jumping to add to the fun, which I absolutely loved.
Back at the camp, there is bonfire and stuff in late evening. The weather and location are just too good to not have a few drinks :)
Coupled with some music, its just what you need to have the perfect relaxation.
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