On our 2 days trip to the mountains of Rishikesh, we wanted to experience the best we can do in this pristine land and what could have come at the top of our list than going for adventurous white water rafting in Ganges and experience the adrenaline rush of the highest Bungee jump in India. White water rafting in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand is considered the best in India. It is not only quite safe, affordable but also challenging enough for all type of adventurers – beginners or experienced.
Rafting Stretches in Rishikesh
We reached Rishikesh at around 2:30 post noon and our tour guide for rafting was already waiting for us. We immediately parked our car at his office, changed our clothes and boarded their jeep headed for Shivpuri from where starts the 16 Kms rafting stretch.
There are multiple rafting stretches that you can opt for –
- Brahampuri to Rishikesh: 9 Kms (Easy with Grade II Rapids) ~ 1.5 Hours
- Shivpuri to Rishikesh:16 Kms (Moderately difficult with Grade II and III Rapids) ~ 3 Hours
- Marine Drive to Rishikesh: 27 Kms (Difficult with Grade III rapids) ~5 Hours
- Kaudiyala to Rishikesh: 38 Kms (Only for experienced with some perilous Grade IV rapids) ~ 9 Hours
Most of the people opt rafting for stretch from Shivpuri to Lakshman Jhula as it has challenging (3+ Grade) yet safe rapids and thus is the best for you to experience an adventure without any substantial risk. We too opted for the same route and were soon at the bank of Ganges getting a briefing from our raft guide.
Soon, we were on our raft and our guide, Pappu Rana, set his gadgets with a GoPro camera on his forehead and started giving us directions – How to paddle, hold yourself over raft, keep your feet tucked in strongly so that you do not fall off the raft. Me and my friend Abhay were super excited and took the front position and started paddling with full force. We both were fully charged and in full sync. though others had to follow our paddling movements but no one looked to bother as they still were negotiating with the ferocious waves of Ganges 🙂
Rapids from Shivpuri to Rishikesh Rafting Route
Rafting Stretch from Shivpuri to Lakshman Jhula has 9 rapids (1. Butterfly 2. Return to Sender 3. Roller Coaster 4. Golf Course 5. Club House 6. Initiation 7. Body Surfing 8. Double Trouble 9. Thank God) of varying grade. Out of these, Roller Coaster and Golf Course are Grade III rapids and are quite challenging.
You would be lucky if your entire raft or any of your team members does not topple in these rapids. As you would be negotiating through rapids, your guide would be continuously giving directions when to paddle forward or when to hold. Your raft would sail through and over strong Ganges waves as you will feel strong adrenaline rush fearing as if your raft is about to topple going up and down. By the way, there were some adventurers who even negotiated these rapids with their Kayak. Depends on your experience level !!
What if you fall in water
Nothing to fear about. It is fun till you are not panicking and following few basic rules (Applicable for this rafting route only. Not all rapids would be generous)
As strong waves would be hitting you and your raft, most of you would be afraid of falling in the water but there is nothing to worry. Your life jacket will not let you drown and you will keep floating and your helmet would ensure that you are safe from hitting any hard rocks. Do ensure –
- Your life jacket and helmet are properly tucked and strapped.
- If you fall in water, please do not panic. In case you are face down into water, keep your mouth closed. Try your best to turn up and keep breathing. Your life jacket will ensure that you will keep floating.
One of our team mates had fallen in Golf Course Rapid. Our guide was quick to get her back while guiding her all through in water and instructing to maintain calm.
Swimming in Ganges and Cliff Jump
Post these 2 rapids, water is quite stable and guide allows you to swim in water while holding the raft rope. By swimming means with your life jacket 🙂 Please do not take the risk of swimming without life jacket as Ganges has very strong flow. On way, your guide will also take a break at Maggi Point where you can enjoy hot Maggi and tea. There is also a cliff from where you can dive into Ganges.
Last few rapids and soon you are done with a thrilling adventure. Do help your guide to carry the raft till the road and load it up on the truck.
Best Season for Rafting in Rishikesh
Best time for rafting in Rishikesh is post monsoon (Mid September to November) and post winter (February to May). Winters would be cold but Monsoons should be avoided as water levels can change with heavy rains up in the mountains.
Cost and Booking for Rafting in Rishikesh
Charges are almost standard. They charge around INR 500 for Shivpuri to Rishikesh Rafting expedition. We had not negotiated it further as we found it a good deal for a 3 hour fun filled adventure. Your guide would be taking videos and pictures using GoPro camera and you may consider to purchase the same post rafting completion. There is no compulsion to buy and you can even negotiate the amount with guide.
Sometimes during tourist season (in summers), it is high rush and you may book upfront but most of the times, you will get a slot on the spot. Try to reach either in morning around 10 or afternoon around 2 as rafts leave together and it takes around 3 hours to complete the expedition. You may reach out to Prashant (9897171422) or Jai Singh Chauhan (9410727572) in case you would like to book a slot upfront.
It was late in evening and we were all worn out. We straight headed to our Hostel to catch a good sleep for our next adrenaline experience of Bungee Jumping next day.