Favorite Trips

River Rafting

 

The adrenalin pumping but relatively safe sport of River Rafting has become a major adventure activity in north India in the past decade, mostly because of locational reasons & the conveneince factor. The proximitry of the Ganga to Delhi (200 km or 4 hours away) means a weekend tripper can easily drive to Rishikesh over the weekend and still be back in time for work on Monday.

 

The main magnet for the sport is Shivpuri, a sandy bend in the Ganga, 20 km above Rishikesh. Each season (October 1 to June 31) 25 river-rafting companies are awarded contracts for setting up tent camps and staging river rafting in a turbulent 17 km stretch of the Ganga extending from Marine Drive, a few kilometres above Shivpuri, to just above the Laxman Jhoola in Rishikesh.

 

The intense competition among rafting companies means prices are low, (as little as Rs 500 per person for a 3-4 hour trip between weekends) and the offerings diverse.

 

So its possible to do a full day trip (17 km) or half-day trips from Marine Drive rapid to  Shivpuri, or from Shivpuri to Laxman Jhoola and even a gut-wrenching rafting expedition down an infamous grade 7 rapid upstream of Marine drive known locally as the wall.

 

 

The sucess of river-rafting has spawned a host of other adventure sports around Rishikesh.

 

These include Kayaking, offered by several of rafting companies, trekking-usually a night safari since Rishikesh is usually too warm for day treks) Bungy Jumping, (offered at Jumping heights) and even ATV rides. Given its terrain and the hub effect, it's only a matter of time before other sports like rock climbing, rappeling and parasailing make their entry, putting Rishikesh firmly on the map as a complete adeventure destination. 

 

On the flip side, the beaches of Shivpuri can sometimes resemble an upmarket mini-Kumbh on holiday weekends, with rafts competing for space in the rapids. 

 

The other, not as popular but emerging white-water destination is the Kullu Valley. While Rishikesh draws its strength from Delhi, Kullu's lodestone is the summer horde that descends on Manali each summer.

 

White water rafting in Kullu valley is done on the Beas. Although there are white water stretches both upstream and down stream of Kullu, the most popular stretch starts at the Himachal Tourism cafe & rafting site at Pirdi, around 2 km below Kullu on the left bank of the Beas. The stretch extends up to Jhiri, a stretch of approximately 14 kms, although its possible to do a shorter stretch upto the Bhuntar bridge, where the Beas joins the Parvati.

 

Because of the reduced flow in winter and the tourist season, the rafting season is shorter here (April 15t to July end) and more expensive (around Rs 1000 per person). The journey takes nearly one & half hour consisting of rapids from grade II & III.

 

Rafting begins at around 10 o' clock in the morning at Pirdi. Pirdi is 45 kms from Manali and hence, recommended starting time from Manali is 8 o'clock. This activity will require one full day.

 

Other lesser known rafting destinations include the Tons river at Dankri near Har ki Dun. The tons is a tributary of the Yamuna and provides some exciting rapids sans the crowds. Another white-water stretch is the Sutlej at Tatapani, below Shimla.

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