If you’ve read my earlier blog posts, you are already familiar with how I drag my husband along on my travels. So when for the very first time he expressed interest in a place, I just couldn’t refuse! This trip to Rishikesh (Uttarakhand, India) was done solely to tick it off Ankur’s bucketlist! Having said that, I think Rishikesh deserves a place on everyone’s bucket list not because it has any World Heritage sites or any of the World Wonders, but because the places gives you an experience like no other !

Imagine getting in touch with your spirituality through Yoga on the banks of the country’s most sacred river and in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas! Now, go ahead and add some adventure sports as well. Sure does sound like one exhilarating experience, right?

Without further ado, let me tell you everything you need to know to plan your trip right away!


What to do in Rishikesh?

  • Yoga – Rishikesh is known as the Yoga capital. And true to its name, it has dozens of Yoga centers across the city where you can enroll.
  • Walk on the Ram-Jhula and Lakshman-Jhula and explore the banks – These are iron suspension bridges across the river. Make your way through the crowds, cows and mopeds; explore the shops, yoga centers and cafes along the banks of the river and soak in the picturesque view.
  • Aarti on the Triveni Ghat – This is a rather busy place buzzing with shops, devotees, tourists and temples. At 630 every evening, hundreds of lamps are let to flow in the Ganges along with prayers. The sight and aura is sure to mesmerize.
  • Lots and lots of adventure that made it to our itinerary. Read on to find out.

Day 1

We took a train from Delhi to Haridwar and hired a cab to take us to Camp Ganga Riviera, 20 km ahead of Rishikesh towards Devprayag.

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Arrived in Haridwar

We finally reached our destination Mahadev Chatti. To reach the camp, we had to hike down to the banks of the Ganges.

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Hiking down to the camp by the river banks

When we finally reached, we were in love! Clean white sands and even cleaner sparkling emerald waters. Sigh!

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Such a peaceful place!
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View from below. We had to cross that bridge and hike further down to reach the camp.
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Aren’t you tempted already ?

We settled in our tents and after a quick lunch (part of the camp package), we went kayaking. But before we could begin, we had to get ourselves acclimatized to the freezing cold waters! Once you’re over that initial cold shock, there’s no way you would want to leave.

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The Swiss tents by the river where we stayed
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My attempt at kayaking. I mostly went around in circles just like I did in Halong Bay.

The rest of the evening we spent chatting and listening to songs by a bonfire on the banks of the river. Life couldn’t get more peaceful.

Day 2

We started Day 2 with some coffee (Obviously!), breakfast and a hike to a secluded waterfall! The waterfall was absolutely amazing. Super clean, refreshingly cold water – all to ourselves – Camp Ganga Riviera had just earned 4 lifelong fans!

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My morning coffee with a view!
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On our way to the waterfall.
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Waterfall all to ourselves

I found the setting very similar to Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia. Do you guys see the similarity too?

After the waterfall, my daredevil friends decided to jump off the cliff (10-15 ft height) into the 30 ft deep water! I offered to stay out and film their jump. But it looked like too much fun and I gave in too! Sadly, when on the ledge, my feet just wouldn’t move. So I made peace with the smaller cliff and maybe someday I would conquer my fear.

All that adventure had worked up our appetite and the lunch served did justice to all us ravenous souls! We spent the evening kayaking, swimming and lazing around the banks!

Day 3

On Day 3, we finally started off what we had come for – Rafting the mighty Ganges! We started off from our camp to Marine Drive. This was about 4 km and was a fairly peaceful ride.

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After our successful rafting. Sadly I couldn’t take any pics while rafting.

Once there, we joined another group of rafters and the 10 of us set off from Marine Drive to Shivpuri (enroute Rishikesh)!  This is the most popular route and has exciting rapids like ‘Three Blind Mice’ (3 back to back rapids), Cross Fire and a stretch of body surfing where you can jump into the water and swim along with the currents!

More on the routes here- http://campgangariviera.com/pages/raftingroutes.html

I’m proud to say that we made it to Shivpuri without our raft getting overturned. Our cab picked us up here and we headed to Rishikesh. After a quick lunch at one of the cafes by the river, we left for Haridwar and boarded our train back to Delhi!


Travel & Stay Tips

Rishikesh is roughly 300km from Delhi, 20km from Haridwar and 50km from Dehradun.

You can reach Rishikesh

  • By Air – The nearest airports are Jolly Grant ( Dehradun) and Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
  • By Rail –  Haridwar Junction (21 kilometers) is the nearest major station
  • By Road – Rishikesh is well connected by public buses with all near major cities. You can also hire a cab from nearby major cities and drive down.

Where to stay?

This really depends on the kind of holiday you want. If adventure is what you are looking for, stay at one of the camps by the river closer to Shivpuri. We stayed at Camp Ganga Riviera for 2 nights 3 Days. The package included stay, food, rafting, cliff jumping, kayaking, bungee jumping, rappling, bonfire – all for 4500 per person! Oh and they have proper toilets and showers ( I had to mention this – it sealed the deal for me) You can check out their details here – http://www.campgangariviera.com/ 

If you are looking to spend a week doing Yoga and a little bit of adventure, then stay in the city and you can book the rafting separately. These usually cost between INR 450 – INR 1850 depending on the duration. You can look up details here- http://www.riverraftinginrishikesh.com/river-rafting-packages.html#only_rafting

Some handy information and tips

  • There is no electricity and almost nil mobile network in the camps! There are plug points at the common areas where you can charge your phones and cameras.
  • Carry your own alcohol/smokes to the campsite. There aren’t any nearby shops to purchase from.
  • The best time to visit is from late September-October to mid November or early March-April to early May. Avoid May-June as it gets really hot and in July-August, the rains make the rafting impossible.
  • The weather in December is cold and you would need adequate warm clothing.
  • Take some mosquito repellant along – it is a lifesaver!
  • You can carry your phone and wallet while rafting. They provide a dry bag to keep it safe and that way you get to click pics too.

Expenses

Item Details Expense
Train to Haridwar Booked through IRCTC INR 650
Cab to camp and return Our cab dropped us to the camp from Haridwar ; picked us up on Day 3 at Shivpuri and dropped us back at Haridwar INR 1375

(5500 for 4 persons)

Camp 3 Days 2 Nights – Camp Ganga Riviera – Includes stay, food and all the activities INR 4505
Train to Delhi Booked through IRCTC INR 822
Food & Snacks INR 400
Total INR 7752

Planning a trip here sometime soon? Post your queries below or reach out to me at div489@gmail.com

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