What is it about danger that tempts even the perfectly sane mind? Is it the seemingly aberration liberating one from the mundane world? Is it the heart pounding high and the wobbly knees that you get afterwards? This post continues on from the adventurous safari at Jim Corbett.
After an exciting safari at the Jim Corbett and a long 5 hour drive (without any food thanks to the obnoxious cab driver), we reached Rishikesh. A city scenically located at the spot where the Ganges gushes out of the foothills of the Himalayas and begins her long journey across the plains of India to meet the Bay of Bengal.
En Route to the camp at Shivpuri (roughly 16 kms from Rishikesh), the landscape stretched across like a canvas. The Ganges running next to the winding road and cutting across the thick forests, was a sight to behold. We had chosen to camp with the “Explore Himalayan Adventure” operator.
We got off the jeep and made our way down a small slope to a raft which took us to our camps on the other bank of the river. The tranquility of the Himalayas and the proximity of the Ganga, shadowy environment of the prolific and hilly greens, silvery sand and clear blue skies – it was love at first sight.
After settling down in the camp, we were instructed on the safety guidelines by the operator and we just jumped into the water like kids. The ice-cold water first sent shivers but we soon got used to it and did not simply feel like getting out at all. Attempts to learn swimming, splashing each other with water, it was a fun afternoon.
As the evening fell, we reluctantly came out of the water to set forth for a small hike. The winding path soon had us out of breath but the view on the top was just worth all the effort.
If there is a way to disconnect from the world around, one just has to spend the night on the silver shores of the Ganges. No cell phones, no electricity and no modern world creations. It is just you lying on the soft sands staring at the clearest of clear skies where the stars literally shine like diamonds. A gentle breeze from the river just across you – words cannot describe the feeling of serenity you experience. It was as close to inner peace as I have ever experienced. A camp fire, rounds of laughter and singing and dancing, it was a night to remember forever.
The next morning, it was a quick breakfast and a game of beach volleyball before it was time for the rafting. White water river rafting is one of the best ways to experience the raw power of the swirling river. Wrestling with the unruly rapids with just an inflatable raft and a paddle is as dangerous a sport as it could ever be.
Rafting in Ganga therefore stands out as a lifetime opportunity. We all suited up and moved on to the raft where our guide went over the rowing commands. It turns out paddling through rapids was not scary at all and surprisingly fun – there’s something to be said for the childish adrenaline rush you get out of it.
At several points, it felt as if the river was content ignoring all our futile attempts to row furiously but just casually moving us around. Where the current was relatively calmer, we jumped into the river from the raft and just “hung out” with the Ganges. As the raft slowly approached Rishikesh, one could identify it easily with the colour of the river – a murky brown in contrast to the sparkling clear waters up-stream.
We collected our bags at one of the camps in Rishikesh and made our way back to Delhi for the next leg of our journey. Ganga Mata ki jai!