Myself Madhuri, an adventurous soul with ample travel stories to share. I decided to put in writing, about our 3 days trip to Rishikesh as it was one of my best trips.
Rishikesh, the adventure capital of India was always in top of my travel bucket list. When my best friend Anvitha who runs this blog Loading Miles, asked me to plan a trip to Rishikesh, I didn’t think twice to say YES. I was such a happy camper at that moment as my virtual plan was for real.
It is a city in Uttarakhand, and is located in the foothills of Himalayas, beside the river Ganges (Ganga). What drove me to this place? It is a combination of adventures and holiness. Also called the yoga capital of the world, attracting visitors all over the world for its shrines and yoga ashrams. Our travel motive was to experience the multitude adventure sports that it offers.
After a bit of planning we booked our flight tickets to Delhi from Bangalore. We flew in to Delhi and took a night bus to Rishikesh which takes about 5 hours to reach. We arrived around 4 am and took auto rikshaw (tuktuk) to Tapovan, where we had booked our hostel. During the day the charges of the shared autoricksaws are Rs10 per person. As we had arrived pretty early, we had to hire an individual rickshaw who charged Rs150 for both of us. I highly recommend staying in Tapovan as it’s a backpacker’s hub and an ideal base for travellers. Most of the hostels are also located here. We stayed in Moustache Hostel.
As it was our first day, we didn’t choose to get into action with adventure activities. We just wandered around the streets and relaxed in cafes. The river Ganga flows through the town and there are few good cafes with amazing river view. On this stroll, you get to see lot of foreigners who come to attend yoga workshops from different parts of the world.
Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula are the religious parts of Rishikesh overfilled with pilgrims. To cross the bridge you can either walk or take a boat which charges Rs10 per person. We chose to walk for getting some good pictures on the footbridge. On the other side you don’t find any auto rickshaws. It’s a 2 to 3 kilometre walk from Lakshman Jhula to Ram Jhula. This stretch is bustling with shops, hawkers, pilgrims and sadhus. There are few shared taxis available.
Another notable sight to witness in Rishikesh is Ganga Aarti which happens every evening. As dusk descends, a spiritual offering is made to holy Ganga on the banks of the river. The hindu priests perform the ritual facing the river with lamps lit, chanting and prayers to the goddess. It’s a spectacular sight and a divine feeling! A huge crowd gathers to experience and seek blessings. We attended Ganga Aarti at Paramarth Nikethan Ashram. Apart from here, it happens in Lakshman Jhula and Triveni Ghat as well. Ask around for aarti timings.
- As Rishikesh is a religious place, alcohol and non veg is strictly prohibited in Rishikesh.
- Veg, organic and vegan food is available.
- We had most of our meals in cafes. As the ambience is soothing and prices are reasonable.
- Shambola cafe and Frog life were our favourites.
- Shopping is more prominent near Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula. You literally get everything there. All you have to do is brush up your bargaining skills.
- Don’t forget to carry a hat & sunscreen while packing for this trip.
Our itinerary was little vague, we had just noted on must-do things in Rishikesh. Beatles Ashram was one such place we didn’t want to miss visiting. After a long walk in the company of scorching sun we reached the ashram.
It has an entry fee of Rs150 for Indians and Rs600 for foreigners. The famous band ‘The Beatles’ had set their foot upon this holy place, inspired by the preaching of Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, proficient in yoga and meditation. It is said that Rishikesh is in the limelight since their visit. This now abandoned place is taken over by the Government and reopened inside the Rajaji National Park. The place is a serene beauty with meditation caves, eye-catching graffiti’s and paintings, a photo gallery and is surely a visual treat.
Good To Know: Rishikesh is the most popular destination for yoga in India. People from all around the world come here to learn yoga. There are many ashrams, styles of yoga and meditation to choose from.
We had dedicated our 2nd half of the day to the famous White Water Rafting. Rishikesh adventure sports offers rafting with respect to distance that is 10km – 16km – 32km with varying starting points. You can find many sports centres that organise these adventure activities at Tapovan and walk-in to book your requirement. We booked our rafting through Hideaway Adventures as it was close to our hostel. During our visit only two rafting stretches (10km and 16km) were open as we went at the end of September. We chose the longer distance for more fun which is from Shivpuri to Rishikesh.
With some basic training we headed to our rafts all excited. Undoubtedly this stretch renders an electrifying experience with rapids of different grade, body surfing, magnificent view of the Shiwalik hills and Ganga in the purest form. It was so alluring that we wanted to do more and more. After 3 hours of this thrills and spills we reached our Cliff jump point, an add-on adventure, which involves jumping from a 30 to 40ft high cliff. You can energise yourself with some refreshments at this point like Maggi, Chai. The delightful navigation through the holy river thus ended. If we had more time in Rishikesh, we would definitely do this again.
- Rafting is seasonal. It is open from September to June.
- We paid Rs500 each for 16 kilometre rafting. It was totally worth the money.
- Rafting prices are inclusive of commute to/from adventure centres.
- Guides carry GoPro (action camera), in case you need pictures/videos of your rafting you can buy them.
- Guides carry a waterproof bag in the raft to place your belongings in it.
- You can actually jump into the rapids like we did with guide’s supervision.
- Other adventure activities apart from rafting are camping, bungee jump, flying fox, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, body surfing and rappelling.
- There are many adventure centres offering packages with different activities. Choose wisely.
It was our final day and we were up for the most adventurous activity. Jumpin Heights has set up the extreme adventure zone comprising of Bungee Jump, Flying Fox and Giant Swing at Mohan chatti. Bungee Jumping is one of the most exhilarating experiences and is the real reason that brought us to Rishikesh.
Though our hearts trembled to do this, we had made up our minds. The crew is extremely friendly and motivating. The setup consists of a cantilever iron platform 83 metres above the ground level with cords tied to your ankles. The safety measures are exceptional with 3 level checks of the harness. Finally I took the plunge and had an absolute 30 seconds of adrenaline rush like never before. Then the cords are lowered down on to the bed, the drop zone with 2ft water level. You have to take a short 20 minutes’ walk uphill which leads to the cafeteria where you can watch your Jump videos. Don’t miss this once in a life-time experience when you are in Rishikesh.
- How to get there?
Commute is through AC coaches that run in schedules of 9am,11am and 1pm from Jumpin heights office, Tapovan to Mohan Chatti with additional charges which includes entry fee to adventure zone. You can even drive down in your private vehicle. Rickshaws can also be hired to reach the place. Since we were two girls it was convenient to take the coach.
- I highly recommend to book the activity in advance. So that you are not disappointed with the slots full. You can book online or visit their office in Tapovan. If you try booking on the day of the jump there are high chances for the slots to be filled.
- Jumpin heights is closed on Tuesdays.
- Charges for Bungee Jump is Rs3550 per person. Combo offers available for doing more than one activity to make it cost-effective. Video charges are extra, Rs750 per video.
- Eligibility criteria- Age: 12 to 45years, Weight: 40 to 110kgs. I dont recommend persons with health issues. You get a 2nd chance in case you are not able to do it in your 1st turn. If you are not able to do at all, then money is non-refundable.
- Don’t presume that crew member pushes or pulls the Jumper. You are all on your own.
- You also get a ‘Dare to Jump’ certificate after the Jump.
Also Read: Rent A Caravan For A Roadtrip Of A Lifetime
With pride and a sense of achievement we checked out of our hostel and headed our journey to Haridwar to attend evening Ganga Aarti. Rishikesh to Haridwar is about 20 kilometres. Unlike Rishikesh, Haridwar is more of a religious place with flooding pilgrims who visit to take a holy dip in river Ganga. They believe it’s a way of seeking blessings from the Goddess and wash off their sins. The place is populous creating a vibrant atmosphere through chanting’s during Ganga Aarti.
These kids here are trying to collect coins that are thrown to the river by pilgrims during evening aarthi. They use magnets to find coins and if you look closely, you will be surprised to know that to keep the collected coins safe, they stuff it into their mouth, as they continue to find more.
Though it was a productive trip we regret for not visiting these places which are worth the visit in Rishikesh.
- Neer Garh waterfalls
- Phool Chatti
- Garud Chatti
- Swarg Ashram
We took a pre-booked night bus to Delhi after an adventurous and spiritual trip carrying a lot of memories with us. Looking forward to many more trips together with Loading Miles. All our expenses were split easily through Splitwise app.
I hope this Rishikesh blog will help you plan your trip better. Feel free to comment below for any queries. If you haven’t, please follow Loading Miles on Facebook |Instagram | Youtube | Twitter for more travel posts, stunning pictures and some travelling hacks. You can get email alerts on our new posts by Subscribing. Just drop in your email address.