Rishikesh is a quaint tourist town at the foothills of Himalayas. Nestled between the Ganga and Chandrabhaga river, Rishikesh had made it to the top tourists’ places for the country for the ancient temples, adrenaline-rushing activities, and of course, its pure scenic beauty. The iconic band, Beatles’ visit to Rishikesh to experience the therapeutic tranquillity is a testament to the peerless spiritual capital of the country. However, the showstopper is undoubtedly the rafting experience that Rishikesh provides to all its visitors. The bone-chilling thrill, the high standard of safety measures adopted, and the fitting budget are all the more reason why everyone should have a part in this experience. Brace yourself, here is everything you need to know about rafting in Rishikesh.
Best Time to Visit:
Rishikesh has pleasant weather throughout the year. However, the temperatures at June hits over 35 degrees Celsius, and rafting during the monsoons is not considered very safe. For this reason, the ideal time to engage in rafting at Rishikesh is from late September – October to mid-November. It is also wise to avoid a July visit as the local festival called “Saavan” will result in crowded streets and blocking of roads.
There are 4 rafting stretches demarcated at Rishikesh, each stretch with a differing difficulty level. The Brahmapuri-Rishikesh stretch is the easiest of all and is suitable for people of all age groups. The stretch is challenging and yet calming at the same time, which is why families usually prefer this stretch. If you don’t know how to row, it’s perfectly alright. They will teach you in the first few moments. The stretch is only about 9 kilometers and takes only 1.5 hours to finish. It’s a grade 1 rapid stretch and the per-person cost is as low as Rs 450. If you are a beginner, this is the most suitable stretch for you without a doubt.
For the higher thrill-seekers out there, Shivpuri-Rishikesh stretch is the answer. The stretch is a 16 kilometer, 3.5 hours task with rapid grades 2 and 3. The cost is INR 650 per person. The stretch will satisfy the adventure lover in you as the course offers certain some interesting obstacles.
The Marine drive- Rishikesh route with its 14 rapids and grades 2 and 3 is a feast for the adventure seekers. The 24 kilometer, 4.5 hours stretch with an ascend that puts your heart in your mouth is an experience that sends a shiver down your spine. Costing only INR 850 per person, this trenching trip is worth every bit of money spent.
The Kaudilya– Rishikesh stretch is easily the most challenging petrifying of them all. The 34-kilometer ride with grade rapids of level 4 and 5 takes about 8 hours to complete. This stretch is mostly reserved for the professionals and the experts and is not a cup of tea for the faint-hearted. Requiring high rafting skills and composure in challenging situations, this stretch is also the most expensive one with INR 1800 per person.
Grades of Rapids at Rishikesh:
Grades are essentially various parameters that separate the novice from the pros. There are 5 grades at Rishikesh based on the difficulty of the levels of rapids. Grade 1 is the easiest and is most suited for the family experience. It is suitable for all ages and is the safest option. Grade 2 and 3 pose some difficulties with the presence of different obstacles, however, it is still suitable for non-swimmers. Grade 4 has accelerated water and pose boat shaking obstacles. This grade is probably not the best for the light-hearted ones out there. Grade 5 is the most challenging and difficult one and usually, only pros opt for this grade.
Rafting Tour Operators:
For the best experience, it is imperative to have the best tour operators. It is these tour operators that provide with rafting instructors who give the basic instructions and who’ll accompany you throughout and provide you with a fulfilling and safe experience. The package offered by these operators typically consists of a 1-night stay with one lunch, snacks, dinner, and breakfast each. Some packages also include other adventure activities like bungee jumping. These packages also include other camping activities like softball cricket, badminton, etc. Hence, it’s very important to analyze the information and choose the apt package and operators. The base price of these packages is usually INR 1700.
Pack extra shoes, clothes, and clean towels. Your guide will pack everything in a waterproof covering. It is ideal to hand over your phones, watches, or any valuables to your guide for safekeeping. Waterproof cameras are best suited for rafting. However, there is a risk of shock damages during raft topple. It would be wise to carry sunscreen on a sunny day and to wear swimming goggles for an exciting time. Avoid rafting on Sundays, the huge crowd may hinder the exciting experience.
It is of your best interest to ensure that you are physically fit before you embark upon this adventure. This might be your vacation, but it is necessary to stay responsible as well. Don’t consume alcohol before the trip and heed to every instruction of the guide. Don’t panic in case of raft topple and always row with the crew. Most importantly, relax and have a lot of fun.
That is all you need to know about rafting in Rishikesh. Surely it is an adventure as well as a fun experience that will test your limits. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone. But then again, as someone wise said, “your life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.