There are some things, to which you get stuck for lifetime. No matter how many times you do them, they never get boring. Infact more you do them, more in love you fall with them. Adventure sport is one such activity. Although adventure sports as a whole have a tendency to get you hooked, but out of all the options available there is always one which catches your fancy.
Am a big adventure sport lover [but then who is not? Check out orkut profile of anyone of my age, all love adventure sports] and out of the few I’ve tried [bungee jumping, rock climbing, rapling, river crossing, horse riding, zorbing, parasailing] white water rafting in the Ganges is my calling. It was few years back that I first got a chance to do it and now going to Rishikesh for rafting is the best trip I can think of; so went for a rafting trip this summer as well.
I won’t get in the details of getting there because if you are a Delhiite, then you are the best guide on the planet, when it comes to Rishikesh. Trust me, no matter which season, whenever you go to Rishikesh, you will find every second car there with Delhi number plate [seems, like me the rest of Delhi is also completely vella]. Still for a brief mention this time we hired a ‘Tempo Traveler’ to go there. Well one can also go by bus or train but then without a vehicle at your disposal I don’t find trip to be amusing, especially when it’s a very short one [for us its a weekend getaway 2 day trip. Leave in the morning and back by next day evening].
Here there is no scope of exploring, so if you plan to do that you can make it a longer stay. But we have already been ‘n’ number of times there and only thing we like to explore now is river Ganga and rafting.
By the time we reached Rishikesh it was lunch time. So a quick lunch at the famous restaurant by the name of ‘Rajasthani’ in the main market is not to miss. Well actually when it comes to food ‘Chotiwala’ is the popular joint in Rishikesh. But there the rush is huge as compared to Rajasthani [we even find Rajasthani over crowded] and you get only the ethnic Indian thali [with poori and different curries] at Chotiwala. Rajasthani is just like any other restaurant with no specialty but the food is tasty and hence you can stop for a bite there.
When going for rafting its better if you don’t pick accommodation in the main city. Somewhere 20 kms ahead of Rishikesh there are number of river side hotels. They are the best place to stay if you don’t want to stick to the dirty riverside camps. This time our junction was ‘Kodiala’, the starting point for rafting.
After settling in the hotel we had some fun in the river. Climb down a hill to the bank of the river [If you can locate an untouched beach, away from manly activities, in the middle of the jungle on the solitary edges of the river and trek till there then it is more fun, fortunately we did] and then its play time in the cold water. But a word of caution, don’t go to far way from the bank, as you may never know how much will be the depth at the next step and the flow of water is fast enough to carry you to places. Moreover at these solitary beaches you can’t expect any rescue either. After almost 2 hours of masti it was back to hotel, retire for the day and start the day early for rafting.
But as luck would have it, at night it rained heavily and we had a rain dance session, then sitting in the hotel garden looking at the sky, hills and hearing the sound of flowing river, all too soothing and mysterious at the same time with a pinch of mysticism watching the night go by and waiting for tomorrow’s rafting.
There are primarily three stretches for rafting. First one is from Kodiala to marine Drive, second Marine Drive to Shivpuri and third Shivpuri to Rishikesh. All are approximately 11 kms of length with third being the most common and little easier with lower grade rapids. Our plan was to start from Kodiala [it has the highest grade rapid called ‘the wall’] and finish at Shivpuri completing two stretches. But due to increased water current we were only able to do the second stretch.
Once in the raft in the river, the cold water splashing on the face, waves in the rapid falling on the raft, hitting the rapid with full enthusiasm and finally jumping off the raft to swim.
Swimming in the fast flowing cold water of Ganges with thick forests and hills on both sides, with no man around, going to places where few have ventured before is a feeling I can’t describe in words. Perhaps this is why I love doing it and more I do it more in love I fall with it. Enough said!