Braving the waters of River Ganga is the final part of my series on ‘Adventures at Rishikesh’. So, before you embark on this experience of mine, please do read Adventurous Outing at Rishikesh
The canoeing , hiking and travelling the previous day, made us snore away to glory,until we were awakened by the camp staff the next morning, to have our Morning Tea/Coffee. Waking up to a salubrious surrounding, chirping birds , dew on the grassy lawn , whiff of fresh air and a misty morning seemed like a dreamy start to the day. I wished the clock stood still and there was a way to escape to this land surrounded by sal trees from the mundane life of ours.
This utopia was short-lived as the manager came informing us to be ready in the next 30 mins for rafting. We had decided to opt for the 16km river rafting, as we were to rush back to Delhi by that evening. So, the next task on hand was to pack our things and rush to park our car at Red Chilli Office.
Hot running water, clean and well-lit washrooms at the fag-end of the camp made sure that getting ready was not a herculean task.
The Camp Manager assured that an early breakfast would be provided to us and did his best to speed up things at their end. The spread was sumptuous and a long affair. The foodie in us was disheartened to rush through the most important meal of the day!
Get Set Go!
The Red Chilli team arranged a vehicle to drop us at Shivpuri from where our Rafting experience was to herald. As soon as our vehicle (also carrying the raft on top of it) halted at Shivpuri, a changing tent was set-up for us. Soon, we changed into the wet-suits, splash-tops and life-jackets given to us. We were handed a dry bag to keep our camera and pouches. All our belongings were to be left in the vehicle that was to take us back to the camp office after the 16km rafting.
I also noticed that many of the adventure organizers were not taking precautionary measures and equipment. So, please make sure what you are provided with, before embarking on your adventure activity. Like, we had a kayaking expert along with us to help us in case of an eventuality. And do wear your helmets!
Before the start of Rafting, we were given elaborate instructions on the commands to be followed, when to duck, when to row, when to stop and what to do in case of an emergency. All this was instructed by our Rafting Guide Mr.Mahaveer. The commands sounded very familiar and I was reminded of my NCC days when I used to be part of the Naval Wing and had taken up rowing for sometime…
My kiddo was pretty nervous as well as excited. Had to keep reminding him about his solo-canoeing stint of the previous evening. Honestly, we adults were also a little jittery as this was the first time we were rafting and that too in the river Ganges.
We were approached by a team of youngsters at Shivpuri, to shoot our rafting experience. These guys click snaps and shoot videos from different points en route. You can pay them and engage them for the shoot. However, I found the rates very exorbitant. I would say -this was one instance where we over-paid on this journey. But then, left with no option, opted for them.I wish we had prior information on this by the Red Chilli Team.
Watch out! Go-pros can get damaged and one cannot shoot while rafting ( chances of cameras getting damaged are high).
Time to greet the Baby Doll
For the first few minutes, there was complete silence on our raft. I had butterflies in my stomach and kept a keen eye on my son who was sitting in the front. However, as the first rapid was approached and conquered, we felt the thrill and this loosened the knots in our tummy! All of us were drenched by the first splash water and this cooled the pent-up anxiety. We kept chatting, singing and cheering up each other all through, thoroughly enjoying the magnanimous and magnificent white waters of the Ganges. So much so, that we were eagerly looking forward to more rapids.
The names of the rapids were amusing and hilarious-‘Return to sender, Babydoll, Go to Hell and Jail No Bail’. We went through 9 Rapids culminating with ‘Thank you -Goodbye’. The guide informed that these names were given by Mountaineers and rafting experts coming for Expeditions and one such name for a rapid was given by ‘Edmund Hillary’too.
It was disheartening to hear about the aftermath of the Kedarnath Tragedy at Rishikesh from Mr.Mahaveer. And impossible to believe that the same river which looked so benevolent and giving, as we sailed along, could get ferocious and turn into a monster, ripping apart everything that came her way. I guess it is Nature’s way of re-emphasizing to mankind that ultimately it is her who is going to win and she has her own way of sustaining herself and Mother Earth if we humans don’t respect her.
The moment the guide informed that we can jump into the river and swim if we wished to, I took the plunge and tried floating on the Ganges.Bliss! The misty air, the frothy waves, the green river , surrounded by lofty mountains felt heavenly. Glad I gave it a try.
Thank You – Good Bye!
As we ended our rafting, hot chai (tea) and yummy Masala Noodles beckoned us on shore just after Thank you – Goodbye. And we could not leave without buying and gobbling it, as all of us were famished. Made sure we carried all the waste back to the city to be disposed of properly. It is always a matter of great satisfaction to be responsible tourists, isn’t it?
River rafting is more than just adventure and excitement. It is the total experience that creates the memories of a lifetime. And I am glad that I got an opportunity to create some wonderful memories with my family members at a wonderful place like Rishikesh. And I am sure to indulge in this adventure sport again and again!
The tourism board of India under the brand ‘Incredible India’ has been promoting Adventure, Yoga and Wellness packages. Read about them here:: Explore Adventure, Yoga and Wellness Tourism in India
How did we reach Rishikesh:
We drove down to Rishikesh from Delhi in our car. It took us 6 ½ hours to reach the Red Chilli Office. We did halt for 30 mins enroute for our breakfast. According to me, Delhi to Rishikesh by car is a good option for a hassle-free travelling.
Note: Try and leave Delhi between 4-5 a.m as driving time increases beyond 6 hours due to morning congestion in towns like Meerut, Modinagar and Roorkee.
Cost of camping and rafting:
We bargained and settled at Rs.8,500 for the five of us. (4 adults+ a child)
This rate was inclusive of Rafting charges, Adventure activities, Lunch, Snacks, Dinner on the first day and breakfast on the next day.If you need more information on this, do not hesitate to post in the comment section.I will be more than willing to help you.
Tips for a pleasant and thrilling rafting experience:
- Even if you are the best of swimmers, do listen to your rafting guide. They are the best ones to know the flow of the river, the condition of the riverbed etc..
- You are bound to eventually get wet, so it’s a good idea to be prepared no matter what kind of whitewater rafting or kayaking activity you have planned.
- Bathing suits and shorts are recommended for rafting and kayak adventures. Wear loose and woven clothes that dry fast.
- On your feet, wear sports shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or sandals that latch around the ankle. Crocs, flip-flops, and bare feet can be impractical and unsafe for whitewater rafting.
- Staying dry, or at least drying off fast, is the key to staying warm on whitewater rafting trips.
- There is limited space on the rafts, so you should limit what you bring to what you can wear. Bringing towels in the raft doesn’t do you much good because there is no way to keep them. So leave them in your vehicle or car. You’ll be happy to have something to dry off with after whitewater rafting.
- Bring a change of dry clothes to leave in your car or vehicle. Mostly, you will have a changing tent set-up quickly. Then, the dry clothes with come handy.
- Bring water for pre-rafting and post-rafting hydration.
Hope you enjoyed reading my trip, as much as, we enjoyed experiencing it.