Rishikesh, which is popularly known as the world’s yoga capital, also attracts thousands of youngsters and adventure seekers trying to get an adrenaline rush by rafting in chilling waters of the Ganges or the Ganga River. On the Himalayan foothills, lining the pristine white sand in Rishikesh, there are several make-shift camps (offering lodging, food and sports activities), which are just a stone throw away from the longest Indian Ganga river.
In case you have been thinking about an adventure like river rafting, it is advisable to step up your stamina and inner spirit before venturing into wild waters of the Ganga, which can both test your endurance as a human but also offer an exhilarating adrenaline experience of your life. Although, rafting may seem like a fun activity to every adventure newbie but it is definitely much more than that. Rafting requires patience, strength, calm attitude in difficult situations and most importantly, a lot of common sense and teamwork.
The 16-km rafting stretch begins from Shivpuri, which is located some 18 km from Rishikesh, and culminates at the Laxman Jhula, an iron suspension bridge across the river. The initial stretch of the river is smooth but as one rows a few kilometers, oh boy! The uncertainty that awaits on the other side of violent rapids can overwhelm you with maddening anxiety. As you proceed further, the fierce rapids smash your face and body, trying to topple the raft or toss you out; at the same time when you are continuously rowing faster to escape the terrifying. The difficulty level of the rapids can be graded from easiest grade I to highest level IV+, however the best part is that you don't need any sort of prior training for rafting, just a decent fitness level would be sufficient.
In addition, several deep whirlpools along the course of the river can be frightening, at least they were for me when I wanted to know what would happen if I was sucked by those wide-mouthed whirlpools. I vividly remember how after facing turbulent rapids our instructor told us that swimmers can swim whereas non-swimmers can float around the raft while wearing their life jackets. Floating in the Ganges that morning taught me how beautiful it is to live in the present moment, not to be bogged down by the past or your worries and trust life, nature or the higher force that is making everything possible around us. Rafting is your own journey into the arms of adventure and nature. You must trust yourself that you will not fall and stay afloat, despite all difficulties or uncertainties that lie ahead.
In Rishikesh, there are several Indian government-approved private operators, who provide rafting equipment and other relevant facilities at an affordable price. Online bookings are also available but we I suggest directly going to the rafting operators once in Rishikesh to avail best bargains and discounts. I wish you a great adrenaline rush on the Ganga River.
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