An avid finance professional and travel enthusiast. I have toured extensively in India & abroad capturing locales that have never been part of regular itineraries and are unique in the truest sense, as my passion is to explore new places and cultures across the world. From budget to luxury, mountains to sea, I have traveled it all and have helped many to experience the same. My passion for travel is seen in the customized plans that I make for my customers by being sensitive to every minute requirement and expectation that is spelt out.
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Trip Report: Haridwar and Rishikesh
Places of interest- Ganga River aarti, Ram and Laxman jhula and Adventure sports
Weather – 10-12c when we went in December.
Best time to visit – Oct to Feb is a good time to go there as it would be less crowded
Our train touched the holy land of Haridwar at 6.30am. From the station, we hired a car and drove straight to Rishikesh (drive time-120 minutes) as we had booked ourselves in a guest house on the banks of River Ganga. It was our first visit to these places and were absorbed in the serene and calm ambience which is filled in every aspect of the environment here.
We reached the guest house at 9.30am and were amazed at the location as we could hear nothing but the flow of the holy Ganges and it filled our minds with calmness. The guest house is owned by a trust which offers rooms along with simple and tasty three course meal at a very economical rate. There is a beautiful promenade made on the banks of river for people to walk/sit and also for bathing in the holy waters of Ganga. The view from the room was spectacular….serene …almost like staying amongst mountains and river. I was so eager for the sun to set and rise next day so that I could click tons of pictures.
After a quick chilling shower and lunch we commenced our journey towards the holy city of Haridwar for witnessing the breath taking aarti of Mother Ganga. We reached the chosen spot at around 6.00pm and the surroundings were impactful which filled our hearts with devotion. The aarti session lasts for 30 minutes and apart from the designated priests, few chosen couples are given the privilege to perform the aarti. Especially after our visit to Golden Temple, this aarti made sure that our trip was worth every effort that we took.
Late evening we drove back to the guest house in Rishikesh. Though we were quite tired but still post our dinner we went for a small walk at the promenade. Cold winds…flow of the holy Ganga…pin drop silence…every moment spent was worth it. And with that we called it a night. Long day ahead for us the next morning. The most exciting part would be river rafting in ice cold water and that would be my first ever experience.
River Rafting in Rishikesh – An Experience to Cherish
We woke up to a beautiful chilly morning. Bright clear sky and cold wind were just right for our very first rafting experience. I have been scared of water and for that reason I never learnt swimming. But as Andre Gide quoted, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Adventure is basically a part and parcel of the human life. Adventure in other words is fun at its peak. It is a major element that enables you to rejuvenate your mind. Vacations are basically meant for refreshments while adventures add a new spirit to it. River Rafting is one such adventurous sport where one need not be a swimmer.
River Rafting in Rishikesh can be an unforgettable experience for the adrenaline crazy and is a pure experience of full and contentment especially in that cold weather. Our guest house did the arrangement for the river rafting tip. Ideal season for rafting in Rishikesh is Sept – Nov and March – May. As we were there in December, there was not much crowd in Rishikesh and also for rafting.
We did the 16km rafting from Shivpuri to Laxman Jhula. It had 9 rapids and the rafting run was of grade 4. We had 2 expert guides / instructors who ensured our complete safety and enhanced our rafting experience to the maximum.
We reached Shivpuri and we wore out life jackets and the rafting instructors gave us a few handful tips and instructions about rafting and he also told us that it will be a 4 hours rafting . An adrenaline rush in me which gave me goose bumps every time I looked at the river flowing. But I had made up my mind to give my best shot no matter what. All I was afraid was of a fall off in any rapid.
There we started our rafting down to Laxman Jhula. We did raft exactly as the instructor did guide us. The raft had two couples and two instructors totaling to six in number. The first rapid was on sight within a minute since we started and the fear of drowning was filling our minds. The instructor shouted “Pedal Forward” and we did as instructed on the shore but the flow of the rapid was so powerful that our concentration was on protecting ourselves from the force rather than enjoying the thrill of the ride. The second rapid was more powerful than the first and our boat literally toppled down throwing some of us in the Ganges. We all were instantly purified and our fear completely vanished. The remaining rapids (simple and complex) was full of fun that cannot be described, just experienced. The journey was so beautiful that there were patches where there was nothing but the soft-sound of the ganges and humming of the birds echoing from the mountains.
After about six rapids we arrive at a point named as the “Maggi Point”. The highlight of the point is that there is a 20 minute break where everybody can relish hot maggi with tea. We were least expecting this dish but innovation always pays and we were thrilled with this simple but effective idea of the locals. Also, one more highlight of this point is that all daring people can experience the thrill of diving into the cold waters of the Ganges from a high altitude.
The final rapids were very light and we passed through the famous Ram & Lakshman jhoola of Rishikesh and all the beautiful temples built on either side of the ganges. Thus the final moment arrived and we reached the shore and thanked our instructors for giving us this memorable ride.
Thus our stay at Rishikesh came to an end and our next destination, sceneic Chamba was awaiting our arrival.