River Rafting in Rishikesh
Adventure lovers should definitely give a try to river rafting in Rishikesh at least once in their lives. River Ganga, which makes its way through the town, has a particular section where this recreational sport is conducted. You can reach here practically from anywhere in India by trains and roads. Haridwar, about 20 km from here, has rail connectivity to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun, Varanasi, Kolkata, Kathgodam, Puri and Allahabad. From here, taxis and buses are readily available for Rishikesh as hordes of tourists travel between these two towns. The time between February and June, and then from September to December, is perfect for adventure sports on the river.
The town of Rishikesh is located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand. It is among the holiest places in the country, and has numerous mentions in ancient Hindu texts. The town has numerous temples and yoga ashrams, which are frequently visited by tourists. Rishikesh has a humid subtropical climate, which makes winters cool and summers hot. With an average high of 38 degree Celsius, May is the hottest month here, and January is the coldest period with a mean low of 7 degrees. This weather pattern means that you can come here throughout the year; however the months of June and July are quite wet. Know more about Camping in Rishikesh
River rafting in Rishikesh is generally organised from Shivpuri, where you start travelling downstream. The 28 km drive from the town to Shivpuri through the hills can take anywhere from half an hour to one hour. Once here, you will be given a crash course on the sport, its navigational techniques, and how to make it safer. Following the briefing, the organisers will hand you equipment like rafts, paddles, helmets and life jackets.
• Rafts are made of layers of fabric, stitched together in such a way that the space between them can be filled with hot air.
• Paddles are similar to traditional oars, and differ mainly in the way they function. Oars are fixed on boats while paddles are given to you so that you can control the speed and direction of the raft at will.
• Helmets are absolutely essential, and do not take them off while you chart the course on the stream.
• A life jacket is perhaps the most important item of your clothing as it will prevent you from drowning if you are thrown off the boat.
As you begin your boat journey, you will encounter a number of rapids, which you will be required to sail over. This excursion will roughly be two hours long, and will make you use all your power and skill to keep the boat under control. Water will keep splashing all over you, and will keep you refreshed and energetic if you start feeling tired due to the physical work that you will do.
Rapids are sections of the stream where water drops from a substantial height, resulting in increased strength and velocity of the current. While river rafting in Rishikesh, you will come across a series of rapids, with different names and difficulty levels. Rapids are graded on a scale from I to VI, with I being the easiest and VI being quite unnavigable.
• Starting from Shivpuri, the first rapid that you will encounter is called Return to Sender, and carries a IV rating. Here you will see strong currents and feel a significant drop, requiring you to move your hands and paddles quickly.
• The next one is named Roller Coaster, and is graded as III+, which means it will have some rocks, frothy water and irregular waves along with swift currents. Conquering it will carry no significant danger, but will make you paddle hard and change the direction of the boat often.
• Golf Course will come next, and it too has a III+ grading.
• Club House, with a II+ rating will follow, and will require a small degree of manoeuvring as it contains small ripples.
• The next three rapids are named Initiation, Double Trouble and Hilton, and are graded III, IV and III+, respectively.
Do not get worried by seeing so many III and IV ratings as the briefing before you begin will do enough to prepare you for them.