Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Rishikesh was originally put on the map when the Beatles visited the Ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is now a commercialised town exploiting spiritual classes, yoga and many gimmick stores. Many people are drawn here either on spiritual journeys or for white water rafting. The town is so big with so many opportunities, courses, classes you name it. Because we were coming to the end of our visa we didnt leave enough time to explore it fully, although it is definatley on next trip's to do list.

Whilst we were there we managed to fit in one yoga lesson- which was amazing. It only cost 150rupees ($3AUD) for one and a half hours. We also got to try white water rafting. We didn't go there with high expectations, especially as when we asked what types of clothes we should wear the travel agent told us that we wouldn't be getting wet and the rafting was suitable for people who didn't even know how to swim. We were pleasantly surprised.

After paying around nine dollars each we set off in our transport and drove 18kms to the launch point. Upon arriving there we could see the beach camps that you can do rafting expeditions from, they did look like a lot of fun, just a little pricey. 

our guide was very experienced, there was eight in the boat, Han, dan, our aussie friend, an indian couple and the two guides.

After learning the commands in the flat water, off we set. Within the first few minutes we were paddling through some small rapids which were a lot of good fun. Reaching out of the boat whilst going up the face of a wave to pull the boat further forward was a great feeling. 

The trip down the river was a great balance, after each rapid there was a nice period of relaxing and giving us time to take in the sites of the beautiful ganga. The rapids along the way got better and better and were a lot of fun. 

After about an hour we stopped for the so called "cliff jump". This was really cute, lots of indian tourists that were very scared to jump from 4 meters into the calm part of the river. Some of them ended being pushed over by the guides but after a shrill scream they emerged from the water with giant grins replacing the looks of horror that they had as they fell.

The definite highlight of the rafting was when we reached the body surfing point. The guide just looked at us while we were in the middle of rapids and said "now you can jump in, without thinking we fell backwards in to the frothing water. Immediately my chest tightened in the freezing cold mountain water, but after the initial cold it was extremely enjoyable. Han and our aussie friend joined us soon after and we floated down the river for around ten minutes.

Although it is definitely touristy i would recommend doing this to anyone, it was thoroughly enjoyable, a great way to see the sites and have a few laughs.

For anyone travelling to Rishikesh and who wants to stay up in High Bank area I would thoroughly recommend "Mama's guest house." She does the best special Thalis for 50 rupees all you can eat and the best fruit porridge! But get in early as she makes enough for around ten people and the seats are filled quickly.

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