My Most Unforgettable trip to Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a beautiful small town located in the state of Uttarakhand in India. It is situated in the foothills of Himalayas and on the banks of River Ganges. It is often referred to as Yoga Capital of the World and is one of the most favoured tourist destinations worldwide.

It is this place where the mighty and auspicious River Ganges descend from the Himalayas to the planes. This place is also renowned for white water rafting and a large number of sacred and beautiful Hindu temples.

River rafting
River rafting in Rishikesh

River Ganga often called as River Ganges originates from the Himalayas in state of Uttarakhand in India. It's a glacier fed river and as such has water throughout the year. There are three main tributaries of river Ganga namely Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and Mandakani. 

At Rudraprayag, river Mandakini confluences in river Alaknanda and finally in Devprayag, the Bhagirathi joins the Alaknanda to form River Ganga, which is regarded as the most holiest river in India. 

River Ganga emerges from Himalayas and after covering a distance of more than 2,500 km, it finally enters into the Bay of Bengal. 

I was checking some of my old photos and suddenly my attention went to the photos of my first trip to Rishikesh. The photos rewinded my memory... 😇. 

Although the trip was totally an unplanned one, but was most adventurous and fulfilling. Friends I am taking you back to the shivering cold night of January 2009. 

River Ganga in Rishikesh
River Ganga in Rishikesh

About my Trip to Rishikesh

In the evening of 25th January 2009, I received a call from one of my friends that he was planning for a one day trip to some nearby tourist destination. On his asking I reached his place and found that three more of our common friend's were already there. During the course of discussion, the destination was finalised as Rishikesh which was at a distance of around 240 km from Delhi.

With friends on trip to Rishikesh
We started our journey from Delhi

After completion of dinner, we began our journey at about 8 PM. I noticed then, that except me and Rajul, the other three friends didn't even bother to carry any extra clothes thinking that the journey is only for a day so there was no necessity of carrying the same. You will see as to how they repented later for this small callousness. 

A short tea break

I sat just by the driver side and Rajul took on the driving seat. The other three friends took the rear seat and they were happy too, as they can easily take a nap during the journey. But I knew that Rajul was new to driving and I have to remain vigilant and assist him where needed. Actually Rajul had purchased a new car Hyundai Santro just few months back and it was going to be his first outstation drive.

The things were fine till we crossed Delhi border, but as soon as we reached Hindon River crossing bridge, we were amidst dense fog. It was so severe that we were unable to see beyond 5-6 feet. The other 3 friends on the rear seat were enjoying sleep and I and Rajul were struggling to deal with the precarious situation caused by the dense fog.

In those days lot of road construction activity was also going on and as such it was full of dust and potholes at many of the stretches of the road. This was making it all more difficult.

We moved slowly and then followed the blinking tail light of a bus just with a hope that somehow we will reach our destination. It was completely a dreadful situation. Thankfully the bus was destined to Haridwar and following it we reached Haridwar at about 3 AM. Then we booked a room on rent in a small hotel and had a sound sleep there.

At Haridwar

In the morning when I and my friends visited the banks of river Ganga in Haridwar, we were mesmerised by its beauty. The water was clean and flowing with severe current. Then we decided to have a bath in the river.

River Ganga in Haridwar

The water was bone chilling and the flow in the river was high. You have to remain very cautious while bathing in such condition. For the safety of tourists the authorities had placed iron chains throughout the river bank. We by catching hold of chains took bath in the river Ganga.

The water was ice cold. As I took a deep in the water the body started shivering. But by chanting "Har Har Gange" and "Om Namah Shivay" we somehow gathered inner strength to face that experience. It was quite a refreshing feel thereafter. Then we had breakfast in a nearby restaurant and we left for Rishikesh which was our next destination.

River Ganga in Harkipodi in Haridwar
Harkipodi in Haridwar

Rishikesh is at a distance of around 19-20 km from Haridwar. The journey begins and we young lads were all very excited. After all it was our first journey there and the view was amazing. The road travelled through forest areas and there was little habitation at many of the locations.

At Rishikesh

Then we reached Rishikesh near Lakshman Jhula at around 11:45 AM. and contacted one of the river rafting agencies who after filling in some forms and taking deposit of Rs 300/- per head asked us to board their commercial vehicle and then took us to Shivpuri which was about 17 km upstream. The road through the hills was very dangerous and undulating and we saw that road widening work was also in progress at that time.

On banks of river Ganga in Rishikesh
Rushing towards banks of river Ganga to have a closer look

As we reached Shivpuri we immediately de-boarded the vehicle and rushed towards the banks of river Ganges to have a closer look of the same. 

River Ganga in Rishikesh
Wao.. It's so beautiful

After reaching the banks of river Ganges in Shivpuri we were simply flattened to see how immensely beautiful the entire scene was. The colour of water was Emerald Green. There were huge rocks and pebbles on the banks of the river.

River Ganga in Rishikesh
dancing in happiness 

We were stunned with nature's beauty all around. We cheered and danced out of excitement and congratulated each of us saying that our decision to come to Rishikesh was right. While we were enjoying the view and clicking photos, the raft was being inflated by the rafting agency people.

River Ganga in Rishikesh
cheerful moment (Dipak and Krishna Ballabh)

I could hear the sound of gushing water from the river and the air passing through the mountains. It was quite windy that day and we could easily hear the whistle like sound due to air flowing through the mountains.

Although I was thrilled by the beauty, but my heart was thumping from within as in the next few moments I had to join river rafting in this mighty river. The inner nervousness was more so because of the fact that I didn't know to swim.

On banks of River Ganga in Rishikesh
On the banks of river ganga in Shivpuri

We clicked some of the photos and we heard that the rafting instructor was giving a call to all of us to reach him. Hearing his call we started moving towards the raft.

River Ganga in Rishikesh
On banks of river Ganga in Shivpuri 

After the raft was ready, the instructor called us and asked us to wear life saving jackets and other gears. They also gave us brief instruction as to how to follow his commands and what to do and what not to do while rafting.

River Rafting, Rafting in Rishikesh, Ganga river in Rishikesh
Gearing up for rafting 

The guide also told names of several rapids which goes from Grade-1 to Grade-4 in the course of our rafting such as Roller Coaster, Golf Course, The Wall, Sweet Sixteen etc. We all were cautiously hearing him. The guide also advised that in case one falls down in Rapid, the first thing is that not to panic as he will not be drowned because of the life jacket.

River Rafting in Rishikesh, Rafting, Ganga in Rishikesh
At Shivpuri in Rishikesh

Then the guide asked all of us including other fellow rafters to lift the raft and take to the river. We followed his instructions and then one by one we boarded the raft and after a few rehearsals we were ready for the white water rafting.

River Rafting; River rafting in Rishikesh; Best place for River Rafting
We all ready for white water rafting

Then the raft started moving downstream and we could hear the increasing sound of the upcoming rapids. We kept on following the instruction of the guide and sailed accordingly. The rapids were fierce and the white water smashed our faces several times. It made the adrenaline rush inside the body.

Ganga river; swimming in Ganga river; river rafting in Rishikesh
Enjoying swimming (Hariom)

Then we reached a place where the water was comparatively calm. The guide asked us to leave the raft and jump into water. Three of my friends immediately did so as they were well versed in swimming. But I remained there on the raft and took a few pics of my friends while they were in the water.

River rafting in Rishikesh; swimming in Ganga river; ganga river in Rishikesh
Deepak asking Rajul to leave the raft safety rope but he didn't

Rajul also didn't knew to swim but he landed in water, I didn't noticed at that time that actually he was holding tight the surrounding safety rope of the raft during all those period. And seeing him in water, I couldn't restrain myself from jumping into the river thinking that it would be a cake walk.

rafting in Rishikesh; river rafting in rishikesh; ganga river in rishikesh; swimming in ganga river
Playing in water

A Thrilling & Terrible Experience

The moment I jumped from the raft, immediately I went several feet deep inside the water. The water looked green everywhere and I even noticed a few debris flowing inside the water. I was immersed in icy water and was gasping. Soon I bounced back on the water surface, but at a certain distance from the raft and noticed that I was flowing with the river current away from the raft. I heard the raft instructor saying me not to panic and you won't be drowned! I controlled my nerves a bit but was simultaneously flowing with the river.

rafting in Rishikesh; ganga river; ganga river in Rishikesh
Just after I was lifted to raft (after a thrilling and terrible experience)

The guide immediately threw a safety rope to me and catching the same I came back to the raft. Since I had never experienced such a feel I was literally taken aback. The experience which I had then cannot be expressed in words.

In simple words, the experience was thrilling, but horrible too. 

river rafting in Rishikesh; jumping point in river Ganga during rafting; ganga river in rishikesh; things to do in Rishikesh
Jumping point

Then the instructor also took us to a jumping point from where few people also took a dive to river Ganga. We didn't try that but went to a place where a spring was opening into the river. That water was a bit warm and we felt quite relaxed there.

As I remember we also had delicious maggie at this point which was being cooked by local people there. After that we again came back to the raft and started to move downstream towards Rishikesh with our clothes totally drenched in Ganga water. I noticed that we were all filled with lots of energy and excitement. And why not! After all we were all witnessing very first and next level of experience in life.

river rafting in Rishikesh
Enjoying warm water spring

After that we again came back to the raft and started to move downstream towards Rishikesh with our clothes totally drenched in Ganga water. I noticed that we were all filled with lots of energy and excitement. And why not! After all we were all witnessing very first and next level of experience in life.

River rafting in Rishikesh; rafting in Rishikesh; best place for river rafting in Rishikesh; things to do in rishikesh
Our raft proceeding towards its final destination

Within next 20-25 minutes of river rafting we got a distant view of the famous Lakshman Jhula of Rishikesh. Then we realised that this exiting and thrilling journey was about to end..

River rafting in Rishikesh; rafting in rishikesh; best place for river rafting; things to do in Rishikesh
Our raft finally reached Rishikesh near Lakshman Jhula

Then finally we landed on the banks of river Ganga. There was fine sand on that part and my friends and I relaxed there for a while. We were all in complete silence at that time and were diving into the moments we experienced just a few minutes back.

Finally the trip was over and we had to return back to Delhi. I and Rajul changed our clothes, but the three other fellows were not having any extra clothes as they didn't found it necessary to carry. What to say, they finally covered the entire journey to Delhi wearing towels and shivering in the cold. Thankfully the car had a heater blower which came to their rescue.

Really it was one of the most adventurous and memorable journeys.

[Hope you all enjoyed my journey. Do read My Journey to Badrinath and Mana. You will get mesmerizing views of Himalayas, the treacherous roads and valleys and how river Ganga changes its form and colour as we venture deeper into the Himalayas. The journey starts from Rishikesh only. You will also be able to see the auspicious and beautiful Badrinath temple. All those I have covered in that trip including many more things to see. So happy reading friends]. 


  • Rishikesh is one of the most beautiful places in Uttarakhand.

  • Nearest railway station is at Rishikesh and nearest airport at Dehradun and then at New Delhi.

  • Avoid visiting in the rainy season as River rafting is not organised at that time.

  • If you want to visit in winter then avoid night driving as foggy conditions may obstruct visibility.

  • While doing white water rafting, follow all the safety norms. Respect the power of nature and do not venture into places without the instruction of the instructor.

  • There are lots of tourist destinations nearby Rishikesh.

Happy journey 😊👌👍

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[Disclaimer: The aforesaid views and experience are personal to the author and viewers and travelers are advised to check from concerned authority prior to travelling to the site. Further the author shall not be liable for any errors or omissions in the information. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual. We always respect the dignity and feelings of any religion, ethnic, individual, groups, company etc. Photos in the post are subject to copyright.].


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