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Old 14th May 2011, 11:14   #1
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Default My experience : Rafting at Rishikesh!

One fine day, I was sitting in office when I received an e-mail saying that only members with the level of BHPian and above can send PMs. I had been struggling hard to shrug my Newbie tag, but had able to write anything major even though I spent a lot of time loitering around on the forum.
A trip to Rishikesh was coming around on the “Good Friday” weekend. That was it, my next travelogue.
I have a very lazy style of writing, Please bear with me.

Around 18 of my office colleagues gathered together to plan a trip to Rishikesh for the weekend. While the guys started scouting various camps, travel agents, etc., the girls got busy buying whatever they needed (the world) for a short trip.

We booked an AC bus (21 seat) for the trip. I was in favor of driving down but the whole gang agreed that the entire group traveling together would make more sense (and be fun too).

On the designated day, i.e. the 22nd of April, we started the journey at 4:00 am sharp from Gurgaon. However, since we had to pick various people on the way and there was a huge rush at the tax counter at Pacific mall, we were only able to leave Delhi by 6:30 am.
The initial journey was fun; we had our quota of snacks, beverages and were playing games like Taboo, antakshari etc.

The first halt was at the Cheetal grand. The motel/ restaurant is at Khatauli, around 32 kms. from Meerut. The newly constructed highway bypasses the location, so around 25 kms. from Meerut, we left the highway to enter a much smaller and potholed road. There is a big poster showing the direction so nobody should be missing it. The place is right adjacent to the “Mriga Vihar” of the UP Forests department. We did not have the time to go there but from prior experience, one can spot some good deer in the park.

The motel in itself is beautiful. There are plenty of landscaped gardens and an overdose of flowers. Despite being on an almost kutcha road off the highway, there was an overwhelming crowd at the place. Inside, there is a 1900-something model of Triumph that supposedly cost GBP 2400 at that time (probably more expensive than today’s Maybachs). The food was good with a wide variety available and prompt service. The total bill for brunch: Around 3400 INR. Outside, the facility also maintains a mini zoo with different kinds of birds. The place reminded me that if someone continues to offer best services, people will drive out of their way to the place.
We moved on and the heavy lunch ensured that all of us fell asleep. We woke up in batches of three and by 4 o’ clock we had reached our camp at Rishikesh.

The camp site was at the last rapid. We had to walk down quite a bit in the jungles to reach the camp from the road. For a nature freak like me, it was an absolute delight whereas for the others, it was no less than torture. The camp in itself was quite scenic. What I did not like about the camp was that it was on a rocky bank than on a beach. Also, since it was right on the rapid, the flow of water was quite fast and so the river was literally, out of bounds. On the good side, the rocks were good to sit on and enjoy a beautiful view. Luckily for us, there was a sand volleyball court in the camp, that fulfilled our desires of beach volleyball. Additionally, the camp was away from the hustle bustle that you will find in Shivpuri with buses honking right behind your back and scores of tents (meaning scores of people) on either sides.

We had lunch, though at 5 o’ clock in the evening, it was more of an early dinner. Some of us promptly left to do rock climbing and rappelling, whereas the others preferred to sit on the banks and enjoy. The rock climbing activity was in Shivpuri and we took our bus there. On the way, the BRO was engaged in some construction work, stalling the traffic on both sides for about 15-20 minutes. We reached the activity site and were done with both the activities in an hour. We headed back to the camp where dinner was served followed by bonfire on the beach. Another session of games, talks and fun started and one by one all of us crashed in bed.
Or so I thought. I, being an early riser, got up at 5:30 to find the others still chatting their way to glory. They bade me good morning and went off to sleep. While the others from my group slept, I started playing volleyball with members of another group staying in the same camp. Around 11 o’ clock, after repeated requests by the rafting guides, we set off for rafting.

We had opted for the 26 kms. package that covers most of the rapids. I, personally wanted to do the Wall, but I found that it was on the 36 kms stretch and was anyways not advisable since the current that day was pretty strong. After basic instruction on safety and procedures, we took off in two rafts. One raft comfortably seats around 8 people and the guide. Rafting was the most enjoyable part of the trip (of course) with rapids coming in one after the other, people getting knocked off the raft in the middle of the rapid, cheering from the camps on the sides and rivalry between rafts. The guide was nice and at every opportunity, was asking us to jump in the water and swim along. We even jumped off a cliff (around 25 feet) into the water.

After the rafting session, we returned to the camp for a sumptuous lunch. We had plans to go to the waterfall trek but at the last moment, everyone backed out in favor of beach volleyball. We had a great session of volleyball and then after dinner, had another session of Bonfire.

The next day, we checked out of the camp by 1, and reached Cheetal by 6. Then the turmoil started. Traffic jams ensured that the last leg of the journey was completed in around 5 hours (a distance of about 150 kms.
Anyways, overall the trip was very relaxing and nice.

The overall cost per person came to around 6000 INR. This included the following
• Camp stay 2n/3d + Rafting: 2800
• Transport: 1500
• Meals on the way: 500
• Snacks + Beverages: 1000
• Misc: 200


Few pointers for those who are planning this trip:
• Leave early: The earlier you leave Delhi/ Rishikesh, the lesser your chances of getting stuck
• Brunch: Cheetal is a beautiful place: Though it is off the highway and will take an additional 30 minutes’ drive, believe me its’ totally worth it.
• Carry spare batteries: Most of the camps do not have electricity. Hence, ensure your supply of batteries. Cellphones will probably not work at half the places.
• Do not carry valuables: Most of the camps have minimum security and the tents cannot be locked (obviously). So carry only those things that are absolutely necessary- camera, cellphone etc.
• Book the camp early: This gives you a good chance to get what you want. Over a weekend, the entire Delhi crowd occupies the camps, thereby shooting up last minute prices.
• Also, be sure of the location of the camp: Do you want a beachside camp with slow current so that you can swim around the entire day, or a rocky bank so that you can sit and read a book in peace? Please ensure that the camp is on the river and not on the numerous rivulets where 5l water flows in an hour. Beware of camps that say the river is “just 2 minutes from the camp” or people who would dissuade you from taking a riverside camp citing things like sudden high tides. My suggestion would be to avoid camps in main Shivpuri area: too crowded for a relaxed holiday.
• Most of the camps have dry-pit toilets, people who are accustomed to treks and remote travels will find them okay, but for people who are highly hygiene- conscious, please be sure that there is another option nearby.
• Go for the 26 or the 36 km (only if you have done rafting before and/or are an expert swimmer). 10 km. is no fun.
• Carry sunglasses, sunscreen (unless you are like me- happy when tanned), dry fit tshits and shorts are a must while rafting. A good pair of sandals (not slippers) is also necessary.
• When in Rishikesh: Do go and have lunch at Chotiwala, there are two of them at the Laxman Jhula. They serve excellent thalis, and the chotiwala at the entrance makes for a good photograph pose (Just like McD’s) The temples at the ghats are also good. You can just roam around and visit all of them. Beware of monkeys. They might just run away with your polypack if left unattended anywhere in Rishikesh.

Pics follow in the nest post (I'm also increasing my post count )
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Old 14th May 2011, 15:02   #2
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Tapish, Post your pics soon... A travelogue can not be complete without the pics.
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Old 15th May 2011, 08:53   #3
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Hi people, here are the pics. Apologies for the delay (I was finding a way to downsize these)
All the pics have been taken from my tried and tested Canon A380. HAve ordered a Panasonic FZ 35 from the US. My friend shall be getting the same in a couple of days.


Early morning shot. The ISO 800 spoilt the show though.
My experience : Rafting at Rishikesh!-img_1518.jpg

The Laxman Jhula. Early morning is the only time you can find it empty.
My experience : Rafting at Rishikesh!-img_1519.jpg

Off for another hectic day
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Shani Baba. He agreed for a photograph only when I put 5 rupees in his Jholi
My experience : Rafting at Rishikesh!-img_1550.jpg

God stands tall.. Always!
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Raju- He takes 5 rupees for a bunch of flowers and makes around 120-150 in a day. Best part, he goes to school in the afternoon.
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Wait
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Beach Voleyball
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The BRO dozer at work
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This is what it threw down into the river. Notice the raft approaching.
My experience : Rafting at Rishikesh!-img_2058.jpg
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Old 15th May 2011, 09:19   #4
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Hi AbiS,
The pics are on their way.
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Old 15th May 2011, 09:48   #5
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

@Tapish.Thanks for sharing the pics... You can use the Microsoft Office Picture Manager to downsize the pictures by using the compress picture features, Even you can downsize multiple pictures at one go with a good clarity.

I had been to Rishikesh and Haridwar but missed the River rafting part because of time. One common thing in our Rishikesh tour was the picture of the baba... Even I had captured his picture(You can see it in my North India travelouge) .
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Old 15th May 2011, 10:01   #6
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Thanks Abis,
I finally used Picture manager to downsize these. I totally missed the baba in your pic. Guess he is a permanent fixture there.
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Old 15th May 2011, 16:36   #7
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Hey Tapish, Which Camp were you staying at?

Rishikesh definitely is one of the best Destinations around NCR.
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Old 15th May 2011, 21:29   #8
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Hi Amit,

We stayed at Glacier tours. Its around 10 kms short of Shivpuri.
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Old 15th May 2011, 22:12   #9
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Nice pics Tapish. It seems we were doing the same thing at the same time Was rafting and camping near Shivpuri only(23rd and 24th), but cant recall with which tourist operator.
I was one of those who fell off the raft in the rapids But for me the best part was that jump off the cliff. Had never attempted such a thing before. Planning to take it to the next level and do bungee jumping the next time I'm at Rishikesh.
Are you aware of any other activities that can be done in and around Rishikesh?

Last edited by avisidhu : 15th May 2011 at 22:13. Reason: restricted smileys
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:30   #10
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Brings back fond memories of the tour almost 8 years ago. I can't recall all the names of the rapids, but some were interesting e.g. golf course, tea party, tornado. The toughest that we did as team was 4 (without turning turtle).

Once you do it, its addictive. I too suggest that a longer run is always better than the smaller one.

+1 to Cheetal as the owners (3 brothers) are courteous and serve with a smile. They themselves man the kitchen so that the quality does not drop.

What I hear from my friend in Dehradun that all roads right now are chock a block jammed as Mussorie is flooded with tourists.
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Old 16th May 2011, 11:18   #11
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Tapish, Lovely pics. Whaty camp did you stay? Even we (a group of friends) were there in Rishikesh on the very same dates that you mentioned. We had rented tents in Shivpuri too. Oh, we stayed at a place called Great Himalayan Expeditions.

EDIT: Tapish, just read your post stating you stayed at Glacier Tours.

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Old 16th May 2011, 13:28   #12
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Thank you kind sir.
I am heading out this weekend itself, and was desperately looking for some current news.
This was like real-time!!
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Old 16th May 2011, 14:30   #13
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Default Re: Rafting at Rishikesh

Nice pictures Tapish. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

I am also planning to go to Rishikesh this weekend or next from Gurgaon. We would be driving down by ourselves or taking a taxi.

Can you suggest a good place to stay there? And also how and from where can we take the 36 KMS rafting route?
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Old 16th May 2011, 15:15   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick145 View Post
Nice pictures Tapish. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

I am also planning to go to Rishikesh this weekend or next from Gurgaon. We would be driving down by ourselves or taking a taxi.

Can you suggest a good place to stay there? And also how and from where can we take the 36 KMS rafting route?
Hey Maverick,

Do you want to stay in a camp or a resort/hotel?

If you stay at a camp then the camp Operators would be able to arrange for the 36 Km. stretch (Kaudiyala - Muni Ki Reti). This would ensure you cover all the major rapids like The Wall, Daniels Dip, Three Blind Mice, Roller Coaster & Golf Course.
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Old 16th May 2011, 16:55   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_2025 View Post
Hey Maverick,

Do you want to stay in a camp or a resort/hotel?

If you stay at a camp then the camp Operators would be able to arrange for the 36 Km. stretch (Kaudiyala - Muni Ki Reti). This would ensure you cover all the major rapids like The Wall, Daniels Dip, Three Blind Mice, Roller Coaster & Golf Course.
I was planning to stay in a hotel/resort and have my rafting arranged by some operator. However, if there any good and comfortable camps available I would stay in the camp itself.
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