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Rishikesh White-Water Rafting: An Unforgettable Experience

Ritusmita Biswas

Rishikesh over the years have turned into the ideal place for spiritual seekers especially with the firangis or the foreigners who visit the orient to learn about karmic laws and spirituality. This aside, the place also serves the best of adventure sports to people looking for water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking and many more. A trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh- that was supposed to be more of a holiday to the hills kind of vacation turned out to be a blast when on a spur of moment we decided to go white-water rafting in Rishikesh. The reason behind our motivation was our tour guide cum driver Rawat who emphatically stated that madam you cannot leave Rishikesh without doing white-water rafting – it is a must. Thus scared though I was I decided to give it a try and what an experience it was! But first let me give you a brief about going to Rishikesh and the tour plan.

Reaching There

Rishikesh is located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is located in the district of Dehradun. From Kolkata there is no direct transport to Rishikesh, one either has to take a train until Haridwar or can land at the nearest airport at Dehradun. From any of the two points a traveler can reach Rishikesh in a hired auto or car which will take approximately 2.5 – 3 hours. Known as the Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas Rishikesh is a place where one can go as many times as one wants without feeling repulsed or the need to move to the next destination. Quiet and picturesque, there are apparently two sides to Rishikesh, one which is steeped in spirituality and Hindu mythology and the other scenic and breathtaking. There is never a dull moment if you are staying at Rishikesh or so it was with me. We drove down from Delhi via Haridwar and after approximately a 14 hour drive reached the hill town of Rishikesh.

Adventure Sports

While I can write about a hundred and one interesting things about Rishikesh in this article I will only talk about scope of adventure sports with special focus on white-water rafting. The Ganges is the most sacred river of India and passes through Rishikesh. As this city is located near the source of the holy river, the water flows down with great force. This makes it very suitable for adventure sports like white-water river rafting. If you are looking for other options you can select from have rock climbing, cliff jumping, kayaking and trekking. For me it was white-water rafting and that too for the first time.

White-Water Rafting

White-water rafting is a recreational outdoor activity that makes use of a raft that can be inflated. The process of navigating the river with this raft is called as white-water rafting. The nomenclature whitewater is derived from the crystal clear appearance of the water and the purity of the water unaffected by pollution. This form of rafting is a very challenging experience for those who take part as the water of the hills are very rough and untamed. I always wanted to take on the challenge, and this death-defying sport gave me an adrenaline rush like never before.

Techniques of White-Water Rafting

As I saw the water rafting course, I was overwhelmed with awe. The rafting went on for three kilometers and I couldn’t restrain my excitement as I felt the spirit of adventure inside me. The entire path was interspersed with rapids, classified according to their level of difficulty ranging from Level 1 to Level 5. Being a first timer I was content with level 1 but that too was not an easy task. There were rapids on the way and the trick lied in ensuring that your crossed the rapids without overturning your raft.

The journey started with a short 15 minutes crash course on safety – dos and don’ts. We were around 15 people in the raft with a guide or an instructor. The men in the front started rowing while the guide shouted the instructions and maneuvering technique. And we all chanted “Ek Do Tin Char – Ganga Maiya Super Star!)

To sum up it one word it was a wow experience – forget about the thrill of this death defying sport what was further intriguing was the wonderful natural surroundings – the mighty hills within which the white steady stream of Ganges flowing within and my heart cried out like the famous Mughal Emperor if there is a paradise somewhere on earth it is here my friend it is here.

Safety Precautions

While white-water rafting is a must try in Rishikesh here are a few words of precautions. White- water rafting is a dangerous sport that can be fatal if basic safety precautions are not observed. However, in spite of this, fatalities while doing this sport are rare in both commercial and private rafting. The injuries are also low due to the safety precautions taken. My team was very particular about safety and I was lucky enough to have escaped without any injuries. All the credit for this goes to my team who arranged everything meticulously and impeccably.

Environmental Issues

White-water rafting is connected with the ecology of the rivers and hence, it becomes essential to protect the sanctity of the environment. This is done by regulating the number of rafters at any given time. I am an environmentalist and wholeheartedly support this endeavor.

An Unforgettable Experience

Finally, I came to the end of my tour and as I conclude by saying that every adventure sports enthusiast must try this unforgettable experience to feel the thrill of adventure. Happy Rafting!