My first white water Rafting & camping trip at Ganges.
Rishikesh Outfitter paradise
The yoga city Rishkesh is a paradise not only for a nature lover but also a adventure seeker. The bank of river Ganges and its surrounding range of Rajaji National park give a plenty of opportunities to come and enjoy the thrills of beach camping, Jungal camping, River rafting, Trekking, Hiking, Wildlife safari and also Bungee jumping. The Ganga have various grade of rapid these rapid make Ganga the Ideal river for white water rafting and alluring thousands of people.
Last year in the months of September I made a plan of adventure trip to Rishikesh with my 6 college friends to fulfill ours enthusiastic desire. For this I avail the services of Namaste India trip to facilitate my adventure trip and purchase one night two day’s combo packages of Camping and rafting. it’s a very good company who take care and gave me the best professionally operated camp at beach of river Ganga at byasi Rishikesh.
Around 11pm we departed to Rishikesh from Delhi and early morning 7.00am we reached at Rishikesh. From Rishieks we hired a cab up to Byasi approx 26 km. away from Rishikesh on national highways 58 lead to Badrinath.
Reaching and welcome at camp
We reached our camp in Byasi around 8:30 AM. There was a trek lead to camp so exciting having some quite steep at some places. As we going down to reach at camp, we could hear the roaring of river Ganges. We were astonished to see the camp at first at sight it was fix on white silver sand of Ganges.
Best time for Rafting in Rishikesh
The season of rafting all around the year but best time is October- November and March-MayAll we have are going participate in such adventure camp first time so we are very excited, as we reached at campsite overwhelming to see such nice camp on the silver sandy beach of river and among tranquility Shivalik hills of Himalayas. On entering the camp manager and other staff warm welcomed us and serve a syrup of Burans’s flower. (Burans is a high altitude tree botanical name Rhododendron arboreum having a bright red flowers. This flower syrup has low sugar and very nutritional in nature). Burans is also a state tree of Uttarakhand state.
After the completion of check–in entry formality our camp manager assigns us our tents to stay. He was quite helpful and enthusiastic man, brief us all about our adventure activities, meal schedule, environmental concern, various caution we have to follow during the camp and activities.
Our river facing tents were in good condition and match with the forest environment, once we keep our luggage in our tent get very relief and get rid of all tiredness of travelling.
After fresh up we go to dining area to breakfast. Dining area covered byRA dining tent made of large canvas situated on the sand of river. Experience such delicious and nutritional. Breakfast at such remote area was amazing. Having took my buffet breakfast that was very delicious and nutritional I sat a wooded chair at river side and enjoying cool calm and serene environ of surrounding while meal I also see various Deer and Ghural (forest goat), monkeys, Ape at the far side of Ganges it was amazing experience, my camp manager told me that some time you can also see leopard and tiger if lucky.
My village trek
After having light but nutritional breakfast we got ready for jungle trek, Mr Rajesh was our trek leader who was very aware of forest route and well versa with various flora and fauna found there. After little briefs about trek like its route cautions we have to follow.
We start our trek to Sirasu village, it is a small beautiful hill village also having a beautiful waterfall attracts many tourist during the all season. The trek was approx 3 km in distance along with serene bank of river with full of natural beauty here I observed various different fern, shrubs, rare species of plant, flowers, herbal medicinal plant and birds etc. On reaching the village I met with villagers they were very courtesy in nature, We also met with Mahesh Singh rana Gram pradhan of village, he welcomed us and to invite for a cup of tea. We accepted it with pleasure.
My all friend lives in metro city and daily bear the load of city it was a something difference experience for us. Here I found myself just away from the hectic life city and feel the true India. Here I look the life style of hill villager, their culture, living standard, and school of village, Struggle of villager for arrangement of water food and shelter and education. I also saw the farming pattern in hills and stairs field where villager cultivate seasonable vegetable, fruits, Pulses etc for their own consumption.
I never see the lemon, orange, pea, Pumpkin, Cucumber, Rice, Rajma on plant but here I saw it, I never see to plough the field with ox but see here. After crossing the village we reached near at huge waterfall named as Vashudhara. It is very beautiful fall and only source of drinking, and irrigating water for villagers. After visiting village we return back in camp.
Swimming Body surfing and Fun kayaking activities
In afternoon we return back to Camp after fresh up we take our Lunch in dining area. The lunch was very delicious and hygienic. Having finished our lunch we went to our tent for some rest. after rest of half an hour approx 3pm we return back to briefing area. Here Camp manager Mr. Cahuahan re welcome us and asked for our village trip and also introduce us with activities incharge and senior river guide Mr. Narender, in getup of river guide he was looking very cool. He welcome us give some safety instruction while on kayaking and swimming and surfing, besides this he arrange life jacket, kayak and some swimming costume too for us. Mr. Narender brought us at near swimming point it is a space available at the far end of camp site where still water of river available which look like a pond that is very easy to swim and kayaking activities.
Mr. Narender instruct to how to wear life jacket where and how swim, how to move kayak all. He also told that As a guest you have to cautious about safety, showmanship should be completely avoided. Various fatal accidents happened due to careless and negligence of guests who disregard the basic safety instruction. The river should not be treated as a swimming pool. Even the best of the swimmers would have a hard time tackling the complex currents of river waters.
We all are new for all these activities but Narender instructed us professionally ultimately under the guiding we enjoy the swimming kayaking and body surfing too much it was nice experience of swimming with life jacket I do not how to swim but with the help of life jacket I enjoy swimming, Body surfing and kayaking too much.
Our leisure time
We all friend enjoy swimming activities at swimming points after this we return back at camp and take some rest. It was our leisure time up to six pm. This time I enjoyed various game activities like available at camp like Volleyball, soft ball cricket, Frisbee, badminton but my other friend like to play carom and play cards instead of outdoor games.
I would like to say to my all friend do not miss the chance to take the thrill of Volleyball and badminton also cricket on sand at the river side’s. After the game we got very exhausted and tired.
Lighting in camp
Once the Sun going to set down, the whole atmosphere turned beautiful. It was 6 o clock sun was going to set so there was need some lighting. Because it was forest and beach camp so there were no electricity and generator facilities to avoid un necessary disturbance to wild life, because bright light and noise causes disturbance to normal life of wild animals. Camp management provides a deem light kerosene and solar lantern with some safety instruction for lighting purpose and kept a lantern in front of every tents. For lighting insides the tents we used a solar lantern and torch which are most convenient and safe while using the canvas tents. The row of lantern in front of tents was giving the enchanting view to camp site like the twinkling stars of sky came down on earth. Besides lighting the camp these lamp also help to keep away animal from camp.
Barbeque and Campfire
It was the most important and memorable evening of my camping, without it camping is alone. After the full day activities we got very tired and it was our refreshment time Housekeeping and service staff of camp arrange a common and huge bonfire to every group under the open sky and keep various chairs around the log and got fire to log it was amazing. A live barbeque was running there, various snakes items of vegetable like potato, capsicum, and dairy product like Cheese were roasted there.
Service boy firstly serve cold drinks, Chhole, Rosted papad, peanuts and later served roasted barbeque items like Paneer tikka (roasted cheese), Aloo Tikka (roasted potato) and many more all these items was very tasty and delicious it was very heavy snacks for us. During the snacks we all friend sing a song, perform dance and joke, Dinesh told us his Jokes, Rajeev play guitar , Harpreet sung his folk song , Manoj also sung Gahwali folk song, Anli perform a dance, And me also sung a romantic song thus we celebrate this evening with joy and happiness. We also remember the college time, one other Bengali guest who has come for rafting trip in camp perform an folk dance with song for us it was very enjoyable. Mr.Chauhan and Narendra (River guide) also sat with us told various stories and experience related with rafting and adventure activities, their speech generate curiosity and enhance our knowledge about rafting and camping and vice versa. Ultimately we enjoy this evening and campfire too much especially the dance performed by my friend.
Dinner and go to sleep
After the color full campfire around 10’ o clock service staff blow a Syrian loudly it was the signal to take dinner. We all proceed to dining area for dinner hot buffet dinner was too delicious and awesome. During the dinner our camp manager gave some brief information about schedule of next day. And say Good night to all. After having the dinner we said good night to all and go to our tents.
Rock-climbing and repelling activities
Next early morning about 6’o clock after morning tea our activities instructor organized our these activities. In sports shoes and shorts we all were ready for these activities at rock-climbing phase available at camp site. Rock climbing phase was approx 30 feet in height and also a big challenge for me because me I am beginner.
Mr. Sekhar thapa was our rock-climbing instructor who is qualified from Nehru institute of mountaineering. Firstly he told us to all about the various equipment, command and technique used in it. According to him Rock-climbing (just climb on rock with help of rope) and repelling (Just get down from rock with help of rope). There are generally two ropes are used in rock-climbing and repelling activities. Safety rope (for safety) and belle rope (used in climbing and repelling).
Seat harness- it is seat belt used in waist of climber and pulled with safety rope with help of karabiner (ankle).Vary in size according to weight and waist size of person. Gloves – made of leather used while repelling to skip scratch from rope. Helmet – it is very important during these activities to protect the head from rocks and stone. Karabiner and Disc ender- Both are important equipment used to make ankle, and knots during the rock-climbing and repelling. Knee cap – to protect the knee.
These are some equipment Mr.Thapa told us which are used in it. Later he also gave a demo of climbing and repelling that was very helpful for us during the activities. The assistant of Mr. thapa made ready to us with all equipments.
First number was mine to climb I was getting some nervous but my friend and instructor boost me. I was climbing and climbing suddenly my feet got sleep but with help of safety rope I hanged on. Then I controlled myself and try to climb with courage and technique finally reached at top I was very happy I have won it.
Later follow the repelling technique I got down easily from rock. After this my all friend enjoy the thrill of rock climbing and repelling it was awesome.
Rafting the most thrilling part of my adventure trip
Rafting or white water rafting was the most challenging recreational outdoor activity of our trip. Our plan was to make check –out from the NIM beach at Rishikesh where our rafting will terminate. So after having breakfast we packed and to brought our luggage upto road and keep in the cab. Later by 10 o’clock gathered at the river side’s in suitable rafting dress for safety brief which we have to follow during rafting session.
Dress up for Rafting
- Mr. Narendra told us how we have to dress up our selves for rafting
- Wear T- shirt and shorts which are quick drying close fit fabric.
- Do not wear any kind of jewelry like necklace, Bracelet etc. best to avoid it.
- Avoid wearing glasses. If you are using it you should use a strap to retain or tied the glasses. Lenses can be scratches if the water has silts.
- Use waterproof footwear like sleeper or floater.
- Days would be sunny, so use sun screen moisturizer etc.
Our river guide Narendra possessed a river guide license given by Tourism department of Uttarakhand, also having a more than seven year of experience as a river guide in various river of India like Ganges (Uttarakhand) Jhasker (Ladhakh), Brahmputra (Assam) Kali (Nepal),Yamuna, Tons(Uttarakhand), Beas (Manali), Manduvi etc and faces various rapid of every grade. So we are very assured about safety. Rafting is dangerous game full of thrill so its is very important that your guide should be licensee and experienced.
Here one more things I would like told you that, There is no short cut for correct safety measures, as we know Rafting a most risky game, So You have assure Your river guide should be technically qualified, experienced and confident. The Rafting equipments are being used, should be possess world standard like Life jacket, Helmet, Raft etc.
Later Vishal welcome to all and told how to wear life jacket and helmet also help us to wear it properly and gave a paddle to every one for roaring or navigate the raft. Wearing life jacket helmet and hold a paddle then we were looking like soldier going to fight.
Later our guide Narender started his briefing rafting and told about Raft and its accessories used in rafting and told us all about the safety technique to minimize the risk and commands what we have follow during the rafting for a safe and enjoyable rafting. The rafting instructors was friendly and they make an effort to make us feel comfortable while we push our fear away.
The person who can participate in rafting
The people suffering from any disease or ailment like asthmas heart disease, epilepsy, sand allergic, hydrophobic, having major surgery, pregnant ladies should avoid such types of trip.
Here I would like to describe some technical information related to Rafting whatever I learnt there and also you would like know.
Whitewater- During the rapid Whitewater is formed. when a river's water drops enough to form a bubbly, or aerated and unstable current; the frothy water appears white.
Rapids –Rapid are the forced current of river water formed where any obstacle come in the way of water. Grade of rapid- According to degree of the risk an International grading system graded the entire river into in six categories, from I to VI.
- Grade I- easy wave ideal for the beginners or kids. (eg. Sweet Sixteen, Good morning)
- Grade II- something harder with rough strokes of water (eg. Double trouble, black money)
- Grade-III- having white water with big waves and may be dangerous. (eg.- Three Blind Mice, Cross Fire)
- Grade-IV- having high wave and white water, most dangerous & challenging for enthusiastic experienced rafters. (eg. Roller coaster, Golf Course)
- Grade- V - the most challenging can be experienced by the most enthusiastic rafters, needs tremendous guidance and supervision, It comes with high tides. (eg. The Wall)
- Grade-VI – It is the most dangerous and fatal not occurs in River Ganges, need most experience, high supervision, need rescuer team.
Rafting: With the help of an inflatable raft to navigate a river, sea and other form of water. This is usually done in fast flowing having different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers.
Raft- It is an inflatable boat made of very durable, multi-layered hypalon or poly vinyl fabrics (PVC) material having several chamber. It is vary in shape and size.
Is a specially crafted boat like equipment which floats on the water.
Rafter- As rafters you are supposed to sit on the periphery of the raft with a paddle each in your hand.
Kayak -This is a single seater boat made of plastic which are use for recreation or to give rescue cover. Since these boats are faster, and more maneuverable than a raft, they are ideal for safety and rescue.
Necessary equipment used with raft
Oars - These are two long paddle tied with the oar frame located at the rear of the raft. Used to control and propelled the raft used by Gide.
Paddles – These are used by rafters to propel their craft in the water. With help of this the raft can be turn move faster or slower than the river current.
Life Jacket – A water proof jacket wear by all rafter including river guide. It helps the person on floating into water. It is made of strong durable fabric and has HDP foam filling which provides the buoyancy. It is most important equipment of rafting gives safety to passenger while in water current and help the passenger to float in water thus save to drown in water. It should be goo in qualities
Life line – A water proof rope that runs all around the raft. It is helpful to hold on to it when there is danger of someone falling out. It is also a useful hold for a person in the water to bring him/her back into the boat.
Through bag - A bag having coiled rope more than 20 mtr in length also used in recues.
Dry bag - A waterproof bag which is usually provided by adventure company and keep in every raft, to protect your mobile, camera, wallet /purse and other things during the rafting trip.
Helmet – Helmet ensure the safety of head during the rafting. Head injury is possible due to a hit from a fellow participant’s paddle, or banging against each other in the event of a raft capsize, or rocks in case one is running a shallow river. It is made of plastic and available in various quality.
Flip line – This technique mostly used where flips are common like Brahmputra and jhaskar river . The guide will take a loop of webbing that has a biner on it and attach it to the perimeter line on the raft, Standing on top of the upside down raft they will hold the line and lean to the opposite side from where the flip line is attached, re-righting the raft.
Splash jackets - This jacket keep away the water to touch the body. They are worn to repel the water splash, and insulate a person’s wet body against winds. Typically these are used in winter.
Wet suits – Such types of suits made of Neoprene. They allow water to soak in it. Once water has soaked in, the fine pores of the fabric stop more water from coming in. The water which has already entered the fabric becomes warm by body heat, and maintains the body temperature stable.
High siding – If a raft is caught in a hydraulic it will often quickly go sideways. In order to stop the raft flipping on its inside edge, the rafters climb to the side of the raft furthest downstream, which will also be the side of the raft highest in the air leading to its name. In this position the rafters may be able to use the draw stroke to pull the raft out of the hydraulic.
Our victory over Rapid
After the briefing we sat on our raft, We started our Rafting trip from marine drive It is 24 Km, from the Rishikesh. Marine drive is a place near to village malakhunti, It is very beautiful place having scenic beauty. There is a suspension bride connect the Badrinath highway to Malakhunti village. My guide told me that there is a famous temple of lord shiva named Aparrup Mahadev. There is a naturally made Shiva lingam in self-made cave, and a very thin stream of water always drop at shivalingam throughout the year. Local people have very faith on this temple. Every Shivrartri a fair held here many of people come here and pay their homage to lord shiva.
My friend sat in one raft I and Rajeev sat ahead the raft my guide All we loid Jai Ganga maiya then start your trip Guide give us command forward we all do paddle in one rhythm with power our raft come in main current of water. Our guide told us that if we do paddling in motion and rhythm than we can win the entire Major rapid otherwise our raft may be flip in rapid or capsize so as good pupil we follow all the instruction promptly and carefully. Now I am telling u How we won the all major rapid.
Our rafting instructor Narender told us it is a 4 hrs trip inthis trip we will cover approx 24km. also gave us some commands to make some practice like paddle forward and backward also not to paddle according to where we are in the river,
Good morning rapid (Grade-1)
Our guide gave command us forward and we started roaring our paddle raft move ahead,I sat just in front of raft with my friend Rajeev, since we are strong paddler. In the way our instructor told us that first time Sir Admond Helary wanted to reach Gangotri by jet boat to upward direction of water, unfortunately he could not go over the Rudraprayag, and retun back at Rishikesh. During his trip he gave the name to all rapid as he found him. We were very excited after one km run we find Good morning rapid it is very small and have the grade1. We salute it and run ahead, Our Guide told us some enjoyable and excitable slogans which we had to speak, these slogans made our trip more enjoyable also gave more courage to us . like chir -mir chir-mir doom dhadaka …hu ha hu ha..
Black Money (grade-1)
After one km drive we got Black Money or body balancing rapid our guide instructed us stand up on the periphery of raft and try to make balance of your body with the help of paddle. We all were tiring to this but wave made misbalanced us, every one felled down in raft except me. We enjoy this rapid more.
Three blind mice (grade-3)
When we reached near Gular village our guide told us about naturaly made vashisth cave near the village we also overlook that. As we crossed Gular village Narender (river guide) told us that now we going to face first major rapid Three blind mice having grade 3. But some time it may be dangerous so everyone check their life jacket and helmet lock properly they should not be loose, listen carefully and follow command properly. Than we check all things properly. Suddenly we saw high tide and roaring of rapid, made some worry to us but guide boosted our confidence and gave command to do hard paddling with rhythm. As we enter into first part of rapid white water punched us our adrenaline level got high, suddenly our instructor said to do highside to me in respect to control the raft. Thus we crossed first second and third parts of rapid one by one successfully. We were very happy to concur this rapid three blind mice. As we crossed the rapid Our guide pulled our intension toward a rock just left our sides, This rock having a portrait /or clay picture look like Vikarm and baital (character of mythological story - in which Vikaram carrying Baital on his back) this portrait made automatically through erosion rock by water current during the rain.
Cross Fire (Grade-3)
Just 3km ahead It is a technical rapid having a huge whirlpool and a rock in the way, It comes along with serious obstacles including multiple high, irregular waves and rocks. Though passages are clear, they are narrow creating difficulty for the rafter.With guidance of guide and hard paddling we crossed it.
Body Surfing Rapid (Grade -2)
This rapid having medium wave very suitable for body surfing. My instructor asked me jump into the water while holding the rope by the side of the raft and just float in water. I feared to do that as I do not know swimming, but once I was in water it felt so simple to float with the raft.
Shivpuri Rapid (Grade -1)
Near the Shivpuri village we got this rapid. (Shivpuri also known as whitewater capital of India thousands of people come here to experience the thrills of rafting on the Ganges)
Roller Coaster (Grade-4)
As we cross the shivpuri the giant rapid Roller Coaster was welcome us. This rapid have longer with high and irregular waves. There are serious obstacles like dangerous rocks and boiling eddies. Maneuvering along these requires power and rhythm in paddling accuracy. The river guide must have expertise while the raft and rafting gear should be of superior quality.
It was most dangerous its high tide and irregular wave vibrant our raft strongly, suddenly our instructor lost his control over the raft, and did not save raft to got Philip. We all got lost in the frothy water of rapid I would like to give thanks to my life jacket save to drown. I follow the rescue technique White water swimming position told by instructor and skip the rapid.
(White water swimming position- In this position your mouth should be upward to sky and hold your collar of life jacket with paddle and swim along with the water if any obstacle comes in front of you like rock you can push it through paddle and skip easily. In river paddle is your best friend so do not lose your paddle.
Meanwhile our river guide made re-right or turn on the raft and through a rescue bag toward me thank god I hold it than my instructor pulls me on raft. later River guide pulled my three friend on raft, Dinesh was some far from raft so I passed my paddle to Dinesh as in T-rescue position and pulled him on raft. Then we give a lot of thanks to god to save our life. But we also enjoyed the thrill of this rapid to much.
Golf Course (Grade-4)
This rapids also like the roller coaster rapid, raised the adrenaline level in the blood. To conquer this rapid requires both power and precision of the sport. Before start to run this rapid, make sure you have adequate expertise and are equipment
As we made stable ourselves after the roller coaster fight one major rapid grade 4 golfcourse were in front of us but we were ready to this we were doing hard paddling in rhythm. Suddenly river guide gave command me for highside and we successfully run over this rapid. It was most excitable and thrill full we enjoy it too much.
It was the minor rapid but more enjoyable having the easy passage.
Club House (Grade-2)
Near to Bramhpuri it is a small rapid having medium wave. It was also enjoyable.
Double Trouble (grade-2)
It was also a minor rapid but enjoyable. we enjoy swimming and body surfing activities in it.
After crossing the Brahmpuri we reached at cliff-jumping point, here we get down from raft and enjoy a cup of tea since there many stall of fast food and tea you can get refresh yourself here. My friend eats Maggie and takes a cup of hot tea. There is a cliff of rock approx 15 feet in heights near the river side very suitable for jump. Our instructor guided us how to get jump safely. we followed instructions and to reduce our scares and got jump in to the river experience of jumping was amazing and thrill full 4 -5 seconds in the air increased your adrenaline level.
Termination of our rafting session
To overcome the cliff jump we reached at NIM beach (It is the beach of Nehru Institute of mountaineering used in training and camping) our guide made thanks to all for our cooperation. And asked to do last activitie to carry raft from water to river side’s. All rafters hold the raft and keep on their shoulder and bought up to riverside.
Here our trip terminated with most amazing and thrill full experience of Rafting. We never forget it. This trip really awesome. At last we gave a lot of thanks to Narender and all staff for their best service and cooperation. We would like avail the service of such camp in near future.