Rishikesh: The Yoga Capital of the World that has taught the world the most divine art of keeping one’s mind and soul in a framework – Yoga. But not just Yoga, Rishikesh is also famous for numerous other adventure activities. Can you guess a few of those? Do not sound a bell. Let me give you a hand. Rishikesh is a popular youth attraction for White Water River Rafting, Trekking, and Bungee Jumping. It is a small town in Uttrakhand state of India that lies on the coast of the Holy Ganges River, 27 KM ahead of Haridwar and 250 KM from Delhi.
A SUDDEN PLAN TO RISHIKESH
Together with my four friends, I visited Rishikesh on November 17, 2020. We began our journey to Rishikesh on November 16, 2020. Yes, it was our first trip after COVID-19, and we managed to escape that annoying and hectic #NewNormal lifestyle. I had been looking forward to this trip for such a long time. We need to get some fresh air for a while. It was a sudden plan when my friend Abhay had the idea to visit such an adventurous city. Believe it or not! We started planning just the night before, and we boarded the bus with a lot more to figure out during our trip.
But this is what travel all looks like as full of surprises, full of confusion. You can’t sort everything on the couch. You have to go out and explore a world full of surprises. We boarded our bus from the ISBT terminal, Delhi. The pinch is that we had finished this trip at INR 2,100 per person, including all expenses, stay, meals, and activities. You must be wondering how we completed this trip with such a small budget in this weird year of the century. Well, I’m here to tell you the same. So, Let’s dig together now.
DAY ONE IN RISHIKESH
We awakened with the cold breeze and sunrise of Uttrakhand (The Land Of the Gods). The bus was passing through Haridwar, and Believe it or not! The Aurora of this place was something you can’t get in urban cities. There was no disturbance or even calm in the traffic noise. Everyone is satisfied with his or her work and life. The bus was crossing the river Ganga on the left and the green valley on the right. The sun was rising at peeking through the giant hills of Uttarakhand. Finally, we reached the bus terminal at Rishikesh early in the morning.
ARRIVAL IN RISHIKESH
A bit of freshness, and after taking a few selfies, we began to head towards Laxman Jhula. Now you may be wondering why we went first towards Laxman Jhula to skip Ram Jhula. All the camp agents have an office near Laxman Jhula. We had been barging a little with Auto Driver as we are five friends. Don’t forget that when you travel in a group, you receive a group discount. The merit of travelling with a group of persons. LOL!!! He dropped us off at Laxman Jhula, where we need to book our one-night camp stay and rafting trip.
But since we had a tight budget, we spoke to many agents to get a reasonable deal. After some time and effort, we obtained the stay, meal, rafting in just INR 900 per person. Believe it or not! It was a great deal with that sort of package. Next, our pick-up was ready to take us to the jungle adventure camp. The camp was far away at a trek of 6 km full of trees, mountains, and a cascade of waterfalls. I also found many yoga centres on the way to the camp. We lost for some time in that astounding nature. We sat for a while in the camp common area and admired the beauty of the mountains that surrounded us.
WHITE WATER RIVER RAFTING IN THE GANGES
PREPARATION FOR RIVER RAFTING
After refreshing ourselves, we headed for the most awaited activity of our lives – White Water River Rafting. But before we leave, we’re enjoying a bit of a volleyball session. After such a good warm-up, we head to our pick up site. We all were a little scared as it was a completely new experience for us. I had no idea what to expect. All the bad things were roaming in my mind. But ignoring such a thing, I decided to jump into this whole new experience. We boarded the cab, and it took us to Shivpuri – The point our Rafting trip needs to start. We’re all gettin’ ready.
Wore a safety Helmet/life jacket and grabbed our Paddles. Afterwards, on the beach of Ganga, we met our instructor and our coach for this rafting. He’s such an experienced and confident man. He told us what to do and what not to do when we boarded the raft. While river rafting, we were all a team, and everybody must contribute. There were four basic commands. The instructor passed instructions to the whole batch as follows: All Forward – All of us must paddle forward, All Backward – All of us must paddle backward, Stop – All of us must stop paddling, Get down – All of us get down and rescue ourselves from the giant waves. He taught us many more rescue measures that certainly help us in river rafting.
SHOW TIME FOR WHITE WATER RIVER RAFTING
Finally, after an informed and meaningful long session, our wait was over, and All of us were on the cold streams of the Ganges. There are five kinds of rapids on the Ganga White Water River Rafting. We chose 16 kilometres of rafting. Thus, we were going to face levels II and III in the stretch from Shivpuri to Rishikesh. That was neither too easy nor very difficult. Roller Coaster, Return to Sender, Double Trouble, and Golf Course were the rapids in this stretch.
It took us approximately two hours to complete it. Believe it or not! This rafting experience was worth it and a wonderful experience never before. It was so refreshing that you would forget all your worries and feel like enjoying every moment of White Water Rafting. Then one more thrill arrived. Our instructor asked us to hold the lifeline of the boat and leap into the water. First, we were somewhat hesitant because the water was cold as ice, but we jumped somehow. It was a breathtaking experience. We hovered in the water for five to ten minutes. Imagine floating in the serene Ganges with mountains covered on both sides. No one’s bothering you. You’re drowning with your thoughts at peace. I found it refreshing to live in it.
CLIFF JUMPING: A BREATHTAKING MOMENT
Then we make it to the final checkpoint, Cliff Jumping. In the cliff jump, one person needs to jump from the high cliff into the water. Maybe you are thinking, what is cool with it? But believe it or not, my friend, it was worth it. That 3 or 4 seconds in the air while jumping gives ultimate shivers! First, we hesitated because it was high. However, under peer pressure, everyone jumped. Later, after my friend jumped, it was so incredible that we all wanted to keep repeating it. We were all amazed by the experience. This time, no one was hesitating or having a lot of fun. But as we were running short of time we needed to move forward in our remaining 5 minutes of rafting, we dried up on the shore and returned to the camp for more incredible moments to live.
JUNGLE ADVENTURE CAMP
My friends and I trekked back to the jungle camp after such a refreshing experience. We all got tired and slept after changing and having our delicious lunch. Lunch was simple enough, but we were all starving like hell. So, everybody eats like they hadn’t eaten for centuries. The camp boy was shocked to eat the way we did. LOL!!! He was running out of food and praying we all would complete sooner, whether we asked for more food to eat. He had nothing left to serve us. After that, we slept for almost four hours. Next, our sleep broke when camp staff woke us up to inform us that the evening snacks were ready. We walked out of our camps, and we saw a warm bonfire was burning to sit beside us and discussed the moments of rafting.
After battling COVID-19, we’re all in need of a break and a moment to relax. The bird was chirping, the cold breeze cooling our soul, and the warm bonfire gave us every reason to enjoy the evening. It was the most peaceful place. We could hear the sound of a waterfall & burning wood. The sky was so clear that we could even pick up constellations. It was rare for us because Delhi has a thick blanket of air pollution. We finished our snacks and tea, and we sat down peacefully. After that, supper was ready. This time we ate like humans. LOL!!! We finished our supper and sat by the bonfire until around 2:00 in the morning and talked about life. After a long and warm bonfire season, we all went to sleep as there were more left to explore the next morning.
DAY TWO IN RISHIKESH
After a long and much-needed sleep, I awoke and opened my camp curtains. It was a fine morning that city dwellers missed throughout their lives. I woke up with my other friends, and we all freshened up and had breakfast. It was time to pack our bags and get on with our trip. None of us wanted to leave this wonderful place, but that is what travel is all about. You have to depart from one majestic place to find a new one. After a couple of farewell selfies, we decided to head out. Our next stop – Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. HAR HAR MAHADEV!!!
NEELKANTH MAHADEV TEMPLE: HAR HAR MAHADEV
We got off at Laxman Jhula to pick up a taxi to and from Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. Since we were on a tight budget, we could not agree at any cost that the drivers want. We negotiate a little, and one of them accepts to take it to Rs 750. But he could not get more passengers, so we had to pay Rs 900 altogether. We kept our luggage at the camp reservation desk and went to the shrine. The drive to Neelkanth Shrine was beautiful.
In Hindu Mythology, when the poison appeared during Sagar Manthan. Nobody on either side of the Gods or the Devil was willing to consummate it. The Legendary Lord Shiva seems to consume the poison and put it on, which turns his throat in a blue shade. That is why he was also named Neelkanth. So after this incident, Lord Shiva stayed for 60,000 years in the hills of Manikut and established this temple before leaving it. After that, he returned to Kailash Hills and established this temple. That is the reason why this temple is so famous amongst tourists with religious sentiments. The road to the temple was so close and incredible. You can find a couple of heartwarming natural spots to admire on the way to the temple. It took us about 4 hours to get through Yatra.
EXCURSION OF RISHIKESH: TAAP STAHL OF RISHIMUNI
The driver dropped us off at the camp reservation desk, and we collected our luggage and walked to Laxman Jhula. We were all hungry, but all the restaurants were almost closed because they had to prepare for the evening rush hour. Nearly none of the restaurants were in service. At last, we could find a good Dhaba (Restaurant) and have our lunch. After such a delicious meal, we began our trip to Rishikesh: Taap Stahl of Rishimuni.
First, we paid a visit to Laxman Jhula. Laxman Jhula has a long history; it is a 450-foot iron bridge built across the Ganga River in 1923 and is one of the famous landmarks of Uttarakhand. According to Hindu mythology, the bridge was built in the same place as Laxman, brother of Lord Rama, crossed the river on jute strings. That is the way Jhula got that name. The walk along the bridge was beautiful. We had all clicked snaps and headed to our next stop Parmarth Niketan. We rushed to this place as there is a ritual of Ganga Aarti every morning and evening at 18:00 hrs. It was approximately 2.5 km from Laxman Jhula, and we didn’t want to miss it.
Next, we started walking through the local market at Rishikesh. Many stores were selling out some local handicrafts, incredible arts, and crafts. It was the perfect place for shopping addicts to roam around. We arrived at Ram Jhula through the Peaceful Allies of Rishikesh. We decided to get there later because we were late for Ganga Aarti.
When we reached the Parmarth Niketan, Ganga Aarti had already begun. We sat there, and we were feeling the positive energy of the Ganges. It was so relaxing that none of us talked to each other. All of us are just living the moment. We had been sitting next to Ganga for the rest of the time till 7:30 pm.
HOMECOMING FROM RISHIKESH
It was almost 7:30 pm, and our return bus was at midnight. We picked up our bags and headed towards our final stop of the trip – Ram Jhula. On our way, we bought some souvenirs for our home. Always bring some souvenirs for yourself and your family, that will always remind you about the trip. We made it to Ram Jhula. It was waving a little bit due to the cool breeze of Rishikesh, and we can all feel it. It was so adventurous to cross that bridge at Nightfall. We left with approx 4 hours to kill. So we thought of a crazy thing. LOL!!!
Whether we hired an auto to the bus terminal, the auto driver would have dropped us in 10 – 15 minutes. It would have been boring to spend or rather than waste 4 hours of our trip. We decided to walk back to the bus terminal. In this way, we will be able to explore the local street of Rishikesh. It might sound crazy, but we walked about six kilometres to have fun. Yeah, that’s how a guy’s trip sounds. We made it to the terminal, and we were all super starving. We found a restaurant, and you know how starving youngsters eat. Once dinner was over, we headed to the bus terminal.
After a while, our bus arrives to take us home. Yeah, another trip comes to an end we had enjoyed it a lot. It was a much-needed trip in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We completed this voyage for only INR 2,100 per head, covering all expenses. We all boarded the bus and fell asleep. When we woke up, we were at ISBT, Delhi. So, the Rishikesh trip comes to an end after leaving a ton of memories in our minds.
Thanks for Reading!!!
Composed By: Mayank Aggarwal