It was a scorching sunny day (like any other day in Delhi Summer), when I decided to get into the fresh waters of Rishikesh and immediately set about making arrangements for a weekend getaway for a sporty time in the gushing Ganga of the holy city.
On Friday night I boarded a bus to Rishikesh, thinking about the last time I had been there. That time Rishikesh was just a stopover for my journey ahead to Harsil (town between Gangotri and Rishikesh).
While at Harsil, I camped with the strenuous Ganga flowing below us reminding us of her might and when I arrived in Rishikesh, I saw a similar setting. The camps were set on the sandy riverside with the holy river flowing in its full supremacy.
Soon after a light and quick breakfast we were prepped for the main act and the reason why I was in Rishikesh – river rafting.
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River rafting experience was not new to me. I had enjoyed the sport earlier in the Teesta River in Sikkim. However, I could not enjoy my most in Teesta, which is said to be a better rafting experience than Rishikesh for its unfathomable rapids and the velocity of the river itself. However, due to certain restrictions, I could only grapple till level 2 rapids in Teesta.
While my next trip to the gorgeous North East is till due, I wished for a full-fledged rafting experience and therefore I took the plunge in Ganga.
The rafting stretch was divided in six levels (Sweet 16, Cross Fire, The Blind Mice, The Wall, Roller Coaster and the Golf Course) and covered four grades of rafting. With each rise in level the rapids grew in strength. Ganga’s potency was better understood as it came with full force, dwindling the balance as it smacked you across the face. The cool refreshing water was a delight.
For almost an hour and half covering a 16-km stretch we rowed with strength tearing the powerful rapids. It was almost surreal as we battled against the rivers’ enormous torrents.
For a fitting end to the rafting experience, was another sport of cliff jumping. Feeing nervous, I climbed the cliff and looked down at the flowing Ganga, only to get jittery. And in one swift act of bravado I took a free fall from the cliff without any support and landed searing in the cold river water. As I grappled with the surroundings trying to keep afloat I could not help but feel meek and diminished before the nature’s awesomeness.
If I thought that there can be no better end to this day, then I was wrong. As we returned to our camps and dried ourselves, the sun had been gulped in by the valley of Rishikesh. It was then in the dimly lit campsite with the gushing sound of Ganga still going about its business, against the silhouette of a valley, that I really bowed down to the overwhelming power of the place.
The next morning, however much the rustic beauty of Rishikesh pulled me back, with a heavy heart and slightly painful muscles, I packed my bags and made way to the city’s scorching heat.