If you’re looking for a destination which offers an adrenaline rush, while being close to nature and experience living in totally raw surroundings, then Rishikesh is your answer. Complete with River Rafting, bungee Jumping, Flying Fox, Treks, Camp stay and awesome food, you simply can’t resist this one!
When you are in a place like IMT Ghaziabad and you spend 5 months slogging with only 2-3 hours of sleep daily then as soon as you get a little breather you want to spend your celebratory weekend outside of NCR. And we chose Rishikesh for what it had to offer – mountains, river, camping, adventure sports and because of its proximity to Delhi.
Getting to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
We decided to drive down to Rishikesh, though it is easily accessible by public transport as well, and we took an early start at around 5 in the morning. It’s a little over 200 km from Delhi and driving down is comfortable. The road is fine since it is a national highway, rough and broken in patches but mostly fine. There are a lot of dhabas on this road and a couple of complexes with QSR’s (Quick Service Restaurants) as well if you would rather grab a snack at McDonald’s or Haldiram’s. We stopped at a dhaba for a quick breakfast and reached Rishikesh by 11 am. (Other options described further below)
The Adventure-centric Experience
We headed directly to Kailash gate, Muni ki Reti on the main road of Rishikesh. All the camp & adventure sport providers have offices in this area. We booked a place for us and the people there suggested that we go for rafting the same day after lunch. So we decided to go to Chotiwala, which is a famous eating joint in Rishikesh, where we had the much recommended Poori Bhaji and lassi. There are too many restaurants with the same name so do check with the locals to find the original one! Then we decided to drive back to Muni ki Reti where we parked our car and left for Shivpuri, the starting point of rafting, in their vehicle.
The guide gave us instructions for around ten minutes before we put on our life jackets, got into the raft and surrendered ourselves to the mighty Ganges. Rafting in Ganges is an amazing experience, especially in December when the water is icy cold and instantly makes you go numb. You pay utmost attention to every command coming out of the instructor’s mouth, hold on to the oars and cling to the raft for your life. The scare that you get when you enter a rapid and the adrenaline rush that you get after successfully crossing one is mind-boggling. After getting done with the rapids you just float past temples, ashrams and ghats and enjoy the sights of the riverbank life along Ganga.
The cost for river rafting was INR 300-700 per person
After almost 2 hours of pure adventure we got back to where we had parked our car, changed into dry clothes and drove back to Shivpuri to our camp site. To reach most of the camps here you have to park on the roadside and trek down for about 5-10 minutes to reach the river side where the tents are pitched. Here we were greeted with chai, pakoras and a raging campfire, just what we needed on a chilly December evening. We sat around the fire for hours, gazing at the stars and the river, having our dinner and singing songs late into the night before retiring to our tents.
One good thing about mountains is that you don’t need an alarm, nature does the job and you’re up by 7 am latest. There was also a provision of kayak at the campsite and we all tried our hands at that for a while and soaked up the beautiful sight of the morning sun rays slowly lighting up the valley. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet and left to explore the city.
One of our friends had done bungee at Rishikesh before and he offered to show us the bungee point. We went to the office of ‘Jumpin Heights’ where they have a café and you can see people doing bungee live on screens. Once there, we just couldn’t resist and we decided to indulge into a little more adventure. Two of my friend’s decided to go for flying fox and another friend and I decided to just take the plunge and went bungee jumping.
The Adventure Sports
For flying fox you need to trek up 10-15 minutes to reach the starting point and trek back after to reach the point. The bungee point also is a 5 minute walk from the office and after you eventually jump off the cantilever you have to trek back to office which takes around 20- 30 minutes.
Prices: 2000-3000 per adventure sport per person (they have group discounts)
After this we just wanted to soak up on peace and tranquility of Ganga and the city. Hence, we headed directly to Little Buddha Cafe (location) which is in the main market across Lakshman Jhula. We sat at the Little Buddha cafe for hours, observing the river, ghats, temples, aarti, sipping tea and munching on the delicious food items they had on their menu. You may try their awesome filter coffee and different cuisines like Mexican and Italian.
Bonus: Aarti in Haridwar
We left from there around 5:30 and reached Haridwar just in time to witness the magnificent aarti of Ganga at Har ki Pauri. You get the best view of the aarti if you stand across the temples on the other bank of the river. We had a scrumptious Indian meal here, complete with kheer and phirni, bid good-bye to the river and mountains and started our drive back to campus.
How to reach Rishikesh
Option 1: Drive down or hire a cab. Takes 4-5 hours. Here’s the route.
You can also use blabla car which will cost in the range of 550 – 1000 per seat.
Option 2: Take a train from Delhi / Ghaziabad to Haridwar. From there take a shared taxi or bus to Rishikesh
Option 3: Take one of the many buses available from ISBT Delhi and Anand vihar. You may also check Redbus.in . If you fail to get a direct bus, take a bus to Haridwar and switch from there.
Where to stay
To get the best experience stay at one of the camps in Shivpuri.
Camp roller coaster : situated at site of a rapid named roller coaster.
Website – CampRollerCoaster.com | Mo: +91-9634578787, +91-9761162608
Price range : INR 800 – 1400 depending on the season.
Camp dream life : A beautiful site for camp, on a clean river beach with nothing else but mountains and river. No sign of any other camp or establishment visible till far. Kayak was available at this camp.
Website – DreamLifeAdventure.in | Mo: +91-9412402390, +91-8923039770
Price range : INR 600 – 1200 depending on the season
River and rock holidays : They have several options like river side and jungle camp; can give accommodation according to your choice.
Price range : INR 700 – 1300 depending on the season.
These prices are inclusive of one night stay in the camp, campfire, snacks, tea, and all three meals – breakfast, dinner and lunch.
All the camps provide the same staying arrangements and food – regular swiss cottage tents with provision of 2-3 beds, solar lamps if any light at all & common toilets.
The food is usually good in all the camps but the food at ‘Camp Roller Coaster’ was exceptionally good. The meals are on buffet system and they serve both veg and non veg but you will not find much non-veg options outside the camp and in the city area of both Rishikesh and haridwar. Also, alcohol is banned in this city, so if you are planning to carry anything, do it at your own risk.
You can see all the related photos here – Flickr Album
What to carry
- Backpack or safari bags only, sports shoes, at least 2 pair of cotton socks, shorts, slippers, comfortable trekking clothes, at least 3 pairs of change since you will spend a lot of time in water.
- A jacket and couple of pullovers if you happen to visit in the winters.
- A torch, mosquito repellents and vital medicines
Here’s what you should know before hand
- Absolutely no electricity or mobile network coverage in most camps.
- Don’t forget to buy your alcohol and smokes before going to the campsite in the night because there are no shops in that area.
- In December it got extremely cold in the night and we required 2 sweaters, a jacket, gloves, cap and woolen socks to get comfortable.
- And of course, a word of caution true for any religious or even otherwise crowded place, be aware of pick pockets and wear minimum jewelry items.
Have you been to Rishikesh or plan to do so sometime soon? Share your experiences or engage in a conversation below. (Alternatively, here’s a link to the discussion on our facebook page)
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