Mountains have an endearing charm on us humans and I feel at peace when perched on the mountain ranges or surrounded by them especially at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.
I clearly remember how entranced I was, on catching a glimpse of the green , holy river- gushing unabashed, blessing the land and people on her shore along Rishikesh, washing away their worries and making them feel relieved, refreshed and purified about taking a dip in Her!
This was some 15 years back when the State of Uttarakhand in India was just chalked out of its bigger sister-Uttar Pradesh. In those days, the holy river of Ganga was relatively cleaner and the serene pilgrim town along her banks were not tampered .Thus , both the places and the river retained its enchanting effect, intact!
These thoughts came rushing as I entered the sacred towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttaranchal/Uttarakhand last month. The holy river looked subdued and its natural flow missing. So much had changed from the last time I visited these places.
After having stayed in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh for a couple of years , I thoroughly felt claustrophobic on landing in Delhi last year. Our impromptu trip to Rishikesh (Thanks to my brothers) came as a welcome relief. Of course, can’t deny that Delhi is where all the action takes place.
There was a drastic change in the scenic beauty. A hazy, pale and suffocating sky of Delhi paved way to a serene and picturesque blue sky of Rishikesh within 7 hours.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas and a part of the Aravalli ranges in Northern India, Rishikesh is known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas and ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. The famous band of Beatles had visited an ashram here on the banks of the holy river and the Ashram is now famously known as the ‘Beatles Ashram’.
We opted to just experience Adventure activities this time around, as we had a short weekend to savour the plush environs.
Disclaimer : I have not been compensated either in cash or kind by Red Chillies Adventure or any person connected with it, to journal about this experience. I am just suggesting- tried and tested options of mine for my readers on my blog.
Red Chilli Adventure Camp was our chosen destination and it indeed turned out to be a memorable trip. We reached Rishikesh around noon having started during the earlier hours of the day , from Delhi. After the paper work and the payment done at their office located on the Laxman Jhula Road, we drove up the hill to reach the camp site at Byasi, around 30 kms away from Rishikesh on Badrinath Highway.
Suddenly, I felt I was entering the Rishikesh of yesteryears. The town might have become congested over the years but the up-hills still hold the charm. We were tired and thoroughly famished by the time we reached the camp site. The layout of the camp , our cosy tent and the food laid out in the dining area was a welcome relief.
Our Camp Manager Mr.Nagraj was a cheerful person who made us feel welcomed. We were given a short briefing by him. He ran us through the do’s and dont’s to be followed during our stay. The camp staff was generous in serving the food unlike other camps,where local tourists are usually snubbed. Having gobbled our lunch, we hit the tents for a quick nap before heading to the river site for the evening activities.
Accommodation: Deluxe tents with beds, mattresses and quilts were provided (twin sharing). Each tent was furnished with 2 camp cots, mattresses,quilts, a table, two cane chairs, mosquito repellant and a pedestal fan.
All the adventure activities for the evening took place at the river site. I got to know that the camp was located on the river bank , bang on the shore, previously. However, the flash floods of 2014 –The Kedarnath Tragedy, had forced these camps to be shut and move up hill owing to safety concerns.
We were given safety jackets and floats to be carried with us for canoeing. Reaching the river site was a short trek in itself , cutting across the woods with no defined roads.
The sight of the majestic gurgling river meandering its way towards the town of Rishikesh was all it took to do away with our tiredness. We thoroughly enjoyed kayaking and then dipping our feet in the river while chatting away sitting on the white beach! The advantage of doing the adventure activities with Red Chillies as I realised is that- safety of the travellers is their prime concern.There was always a small kayak with an expert accompanying and testing the waters for any eventuality, before we could take the plunge!
My son tried his hand at rock climbing, conquering his peek successfully under the watchful eyes of his uncles, while his parents were lazing away on the white beach!
But what we dreaded was climbing the cliff to get back to our cosy tents.Surprisingly, we climbed much faster than we descended. May be we were hungry?! Hmmmm…
The appetizing sight of hot pakodas (fritters) and options of steaming coffee and tea, served as jackpots to be claimed at the end of the short adventurous experience. And relish , we did!
We quickly refreshed ourselves , pulled out the cane chairs and sat chattering away- competing with the sounds of the birds returning to their homes as the dusk neared.
There were activities like volleyball and cricket which others were indulging in and there was a bonfire too. As there was a huge group around the fire, we decided to stick to the platforms in front of our tents.
Losing track of time and unmindful of the availability of Internet on our mobiles (There was no issue of network coverage at this place) we spent the evening indulging in family time and soon starters were served. This was followed by an appetizing spread of dishes which were simple, yet ,tantalizing.
What to expect on the second of the camp at Rishikesh
Next day , we experienced the White Water River Rafting while braving and conquering the Roller Coaster and Baby doll…..Watch out for what these names mean and get to know how we managed the whole stay under 10k rupees for the five of us (inclusive of stay, food, rafting and other adventure activities (2D/1N)).All this and more, coming your way-tomorrow!
Thank you for reading through this post, blogged as part of the series on Uttarakhand .Hope you enjoyed the trip with me as the narrator .
Have you been to Rishikesh? If yes, where did you stay and how was your experience? Do share it with me here…Remember, blogging is all about caring and sharing….Ciao!