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Rishikesh: an adrenaline fuelled extravaganza !!!
Apr 23, 2008 09:46 AM 5479 Views

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Rishikesh - a complete package in itself. It offers something to suit everyone's tastes. From adventure sports to temples galore, yoga indulgence to tranquility and peace, wildlife escapades to nature trails.


When we had set off for Rishikesh in a group of 6, for a weekend getaway, our intention was crystal clear: "White Water Rafting"  and that's it.  We started from Delhi by a hired Qualis around 11.30 a.m. Braving the scorching summer sun and the traffic snarls due to Mahavir Jayanti processions, we eventually reached our camp around 9.30 in the night.


The interesting part was that we had to callout and whistle for somebody from the camp to pick us up from the point where we parked our hired vehicle. Then started the downhill descent, carrying luggage stepping carefully on the boulders and avoiding slipping on the sand. Thankfully, it was one day short of Full moon and It was God's way of providing us with a natural torch.. We were loaded in a raft and taken across the Ganges. Our camp was called "Sea Hawks" having around 58 tents spread across on the white sand. For nature's call, they had put up 10-12 smaller tents. There were deep pits some with Indian and some with WC facility. A proper wash basin, with running water from a Sintex tank, liquid hand wash and a towel completed the paraphernalia.


We were allotted 3 tents, 2 for each. There were 2 single beds, with proper mattresses and quilts and one lantern. The bonfire was already half way through. So we dumped our luggage, refreshed ourselves and hit the snacks.  The snacks comprising of roasted chicken, papads and masala groundnut were delicious. The food was extraordinarily tasty. Since our next day was going to be hectic, we retired after a lazy stroll on the river banks, bare footed, listening to the roaring river and gazing at the night sky with stars strewn across.


The following activities were undertaken by our group the next day.




  1. The morning started around 6.30, with the guys playing "BEACH VOLLEYBALL".




  2. Then we indulged in "KAYAKING". Kayak is a small, aerodynamic-shaped boat with a closed cockpit that can seat just one person. A 2 bladed paddle is used to move the kayak across the water.






3. "BODY SURFING: Wear your life jackets and simply lie on the water. Let your body loose and simply float on the water. The water was ice cold.




  1. The next daring feat was "CLIFF JUMPING". We were made to jump in the water with our life jackets on, from a small cliff, barely 6-7 feet. This is different from diving. Here our feet go in first and then the rest of the body stays. We stay in the water for a fraction of a second i.e. the time taken by the body to float back to the surface.




Note: Please wear a life jacket and only indulge in this in the presence of experts.




  1. After breakfast, we headed for "ROCK CLIMBING". This included a small trek to the rock we were supposed to climb, A cliff around 20 feet high was cleared of vegetation and there were 2 experts, one on the top and one at the bottom. A rope is tied around our waist to save us in case we slip.  One by one we had to look for crevices to ascend. Rock Clmbing was cake walk for me.




6. "RAPPELLING" complimented Rock climbing. Rappelling involves descending down the cliff with the help of a rope. Though this sounds easier, but for me this was the most difficult part.




  1. Finally after a sumptuous lunch, we headed for the main activity: "RAFTING".




We packed our bags and sent them in our vehicle and setout for rafting. Sanjay our guide, a short, skinny fellow, adjusted our life jackets and helmets and gave us each a paddle and delivered safety instructions. The complete stretch from Marine Drive, where our camp was located to Rishikesh was 26 Kms. We were very excited and looking forward to maneuver through the untamed waters. To get an idea of the classification of the rapids refer to: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafting. The key is. lower the number lesser the excitement.


Just before every rapid, Sanjay gave the war cry: "Gange Maiyya ki Jai, Ki Jai, Ki Jai" and we all raised our paddles like offering a toast. The first rapid was Black Money, a simple grade 1 rapid, followed by 3 Blind Mice, Roller Coaster, Butterfly, Golf Course, Sweet Sixteen, Marine Drive, Cross Fire, The Cashflow, Double Trouble, The initiation and Whirlpool not necessarily in the same order. Roller Coaster and Golf Course were grade 4 rapids and absolute thrill. The raft started to rock and sway as we entered any rapid. It went left and right. At so many points, we felt as if this is it... end of the world!!! It seemed like our raft will topple and we will be gone, sucked in by the Ganges. But thankfully it didn't happen. No words can do full justice to the way we felt: excited, anxious, chilly, shivering all at the same time.


Then during "Body Surfing" rapid, Sanjay called out to stop paddling and jump in the water. I was the official photographer, so had an excuse not to jump. On our way downstream, we crossed numerous camps and 2 other major points from where rafting starts: Shivpuri and Bhrampuri. In one clearing we saw many langoors doing their antics, oblivious of the world around. In the final leg, we reached a place where all the rafts generally halt for "Cliff Jumping" from around 20-25 feet. 3 of our brave warriors took the plunge.


Shortly after this, our rafting adventure came to an end, but not before the 6 of us with help from our guide lifted the raft from the Ganges on to the shore. A piece of advice, go for fating in the first half of the day since the second half is generally colder.


*FACTS TIME:


*Rafting was started in India by the Britishers, that explains the English names given to the rapids. The first Indian rafter, started from a place called Bhrampuri and the first rapid he faced was called "The Initiation".


LODGING OPTIONS:


1. GVMN: Garhwal Vikas Mandal Nigam resorts or other hotels in and around Rishikesh.


2. Adventure camps around 20-25 kms up from Rishikesh. Freedom from electricity and network coverage.


TARIFFS:


Approx. Rs. 1500 per person including 3 meals, rafting and all other water sports provided by the camp.


*DISTANCE:


*Delhi-Rishikesh: 250 Kms + 30-35 kms depending if you opt for a camp.


Nearest Airport: Dehradun (35 kms from Hardwar).


BEST TIME TO GO:


Sept - Oct


Mar - June


Closed during Monsoons and Winters


For all adventure enthusiasts, WHITE WATER RAFTING is highly recommended. This was my second trip and it was an experience of a lifetime. Feel free to contact me for any more information.


Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it ! The size of my pictures was quite large, so refer to my album for a few of them.


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