Popularly known as “The Yoga Capital of the World” has been on my bucket list for long. No, no not to learn yoga but to explore and experience the other side of it – its adventurous side. I later learned that Rishikesh is also called the “The Adventure Capital of India” because of the extreme adventures that it has on offer.
On my solo trip to Rishikesh, I met three England girls on my bus. These are perks of traveling solo, you meet and interact with different people and it’s fun to hear their traveling stories. They shared how they have come all the way from England to India to explore its beauty and learn yoga in Rishikesh. I was happy to know that they are enjoying every bit of their journey here in India. After a lot of chitchats, we all slept and reached Rishikesh at around 5.30 AM and the city was already busy. A lot of sadhu babas (saints) were walking around the city early in the morning.
Four of us then shared auto to reach Tapovan (Northern side of Rishikesh). I reached my hostel (Zostel) first, we then parted wishing each other many more trips and adventures.
It is a hotel plus hostel concept chain and is so plain, simple yet beautiful. I met so many backpackers, travelers, tourists from different cities, countries and different backgrounds. It gave a completely different vibe, a very positive one. Also, those beautiful dorms, open terraces, eatery, reading zone, paintings on the walls, the sitting area made this place and my stay somewhat different.
Cost: 400-500 INR per night/per person
Booking Details: www.zostel.com
Now, I was in the adventure city so it was time to tick off my two bucket list adventures: Ganga White Water Rafting and Cliff Jumping. The guy at the Zostel helped me with all the required information. I then took a shared auto and reached Ram Jhula, booked myself for rafting and then strolled around the local market and Ram Jhula.
Amidst ample of temples, ashrams, snow-capped mountains lies the spirited side of Rishikesh- the daring and adventurous side of it!
So witness how adventurous you are in this adventurous city. One can try many extreme adventures like Rafting, Flying fox, Swing, cliff jumping, bungy jumping here as well.
We group of random 6 people then boarded a Sumo car, after an hours’ drive, we reached Shivpuri from where rafting starts. With white sand around, the place was filled with colorful rafts and ample thrill-seekers. I chose the one with 18 km rafting with 16 deadly rapids. I purposely kept it moderate to save energy for my Himalayan trek – Pangarchulla Peak Trek which was starting the next day. After putting on our life jacket, after the briefing session and some demo sessions we were all set to experience rafting. It isn’t restricted only for swimmers but for everyone who wants to experience this adventure.
After learning some basics in the calm water, we kick-started our rafting. In our 3 hours rafting, we jumped through some deadly rapids, we screamed, laughed, experienced wilderness, at times skipped a heartbeat but rejoiced to the fullest.
Every rapid has been given a name but for some reason, I could only memorize one out of 16 names. I only remember the Roller Coaster, maybe because it was the deadliest one. Majorly, jumping off the bone-shaking rapids was the fun and the best part.
To add-on more thrill and adventure we all jumped off the raft multiple times. I was shivering badly because of the extremely cold water but relished every second of it.
White Water Rafting and Cliff Jumping Cost: 300-500 INR per person depending on the agent.
One can also opt Camping and Water Rafting packages, there are ample of agents who do bookings, so you can negotiate as well.
After three hours of rafting, tired, we finally reached our cliff jump point. Now it was time to jump from that cliff and finally tick off another bucket list item. Standing at the edge of the cliff, I really was a bit scared more than I thought I would be but then adventures are meant for it. 3..2..1…. and I plunged without thinking much and giving any second thoughts. And yes! I did it and survived too!!
Again after jumping through rapids and cliff twice, we stopped at a maggi point to relax our nerves and enjoy some tea and maggi on the raft. It too was a totally different experience eating maggi on a cold wet afternoon in the midst of rafting expedition.
We then reached Ram Jhula again and bid everyone goodbyes, yet again wishing each other many more adventures.
After this, I searched for a good eatery option and had snacks and dinner at Chotiwala Restaurant and Madras Cafe.
Also, you can curb your hunger pangs at Beatles Cafe, Oasis, Ganga Beach Restaurant, Little Buddha Cafe, Devraj Coffee Corner, etc.
THE FAMOUS GANGA AARTI IN RISHIKESH
Then to find some peace, I went to attend the famous Ganga Aarti which is a daily ritual here and performed every evening on the banks of Ganga.
While the Aarti preparations were going on, I went to explore Parmarth Ashram which is just opposite to the Aarti place. Also, a lot of people and pilgrims from around the world come and stay here to learn yoga, attend prayers and to find some tranquility.
At the sunset time, saints and devotees started gathering near the feet of Ganga. Some people also took a dip in the Ganga water for spiritual cleansing. After the Ganga Aarti started, the atmosphere absolutely turned festive and spiritual.
In a days’ time, I got so much attached to the city and Ganga.
Because Ganga is not just a river, she is truly a divine mother, the soul of India.
All the photos are clicked by me. Please don’t use them without permission!
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