If you ask any well-travelled river rafting enthusiasts what their favourite place for river rafting in India is, they’ll surely name Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a hotbed for river rafting in India. The Ganges is famous for its rapids that range from grades I-V (easy to very difficult levels). Although the whole river rafting experience in Rishikesh is literally ‘hands on’, you still would want to prepare yourself well before you go.
To help you, we have put together a guide to river rafting in Rishikesh. Take a look and arm yourself for an adventure.
- Location: Ganges, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
- Rapids: Grade I to V
- Rafting Time: Approximately 9 hours
- Difficulty level: Moderate to difficult
- Timing: Sunrise to sunset
Best Time to Go River Rafting In Rishikesh
River rafting in Rishikesh is great to experience during most parts of the year, except during the monsoon. In the rainy season, the water levels rise high and the gush of the water is turbulent, making it dangerous to the raft.
For the best experience, we suggest that you visit Rishikesh for river rafting during the months of October to May. This is the peak tourist season and there are many river rafting expeditions held during this time. The climate is also at its best, especially in the months of October to December.
How To Get There
- Road: Rishikesh is easily accessible by road from cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Kanpur. Delhi to Rishikesh is a 6-hour drive. Buses ply regularly. You can choose to hire a self-drive car.
- Rail: Book Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi from Delhi to Haridwar, which is the nearest railway station (24 kilometres away from Rishikesh). A bus or a cab will get you to Rishikesh in an hour.
- Flight: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is 25 kilometres away from Rishikesh. Delhi is the nearest metro airport. Cabs & buses are available from the airport.
River Rafting in Rishikesh
The best part about river rafting in Rishikesh is that you can choose from an array of terrains and rapids along the Ganges. There are rapids that grade I & II (suitable for beginners) and there are those that are grade V (expert level).
Three of the best places for rafting in Rishikesh are:-
- Brahmpuri to Rishikesh
This is the easiest of all the rapids in Rishikesh. Graded between I and II, the stretch is simple and pretty easy to complete. It is one of the few stretches in North India that is perfect for amateur river rafters.
- Shivpuri to Brahmpuri
A little tougher than the Brahmpuri stretch, the Shivpuri to Brahmpuri rapids fall between grade II to III, they are moderately difficult to complete. It will take you around 3 hours to finish the ride and you will bypass stunning scenery along the way.
- Kaudiyala to Marine Drive
This stretch is popular with expert river rafters, so you might want to consider only if you can handle fierce waters. Graded between III and IV, the Kaudiyala to Marine Drive route stretches for 10 kilometres and it takes around 3 hours to complete. Eddie Whirlpool and Daniel’s Dip are two exciting rapids to raft through on this stretch.
- River Rafting: The cost of rafting in Rishikesh depends on how long the route is. Basic river rafting will cost you around Rs.400 for a one hour ride. A thrilling, four-hour rafting ride will cost you around Rs. 3,000.
- Travel: Bus fares from Delhi to Rishikesh start from Rs. 600. From Haridwar to Rishikesh, the fare would be between Rs. 100 to Rs. 200. A return trip (24 hours) in a self-drive car with a driver will cost around Rs. 5000. Flight ticket prices depend on how well in advance you book and for rail fare, check IRCTC fare schedules.
- Food: For three meals in a day, expect to pay around Rs.600.
Places To Stay
There are outstanding resorts, cottages and homestays near the Ganges that offer comfortable accommodation. Room fares at these accommodations depend on the type of room you take. Prices for standard rooms begin from Rs. 700 a night. Lakshman Jhula and Swarg Ashram are popular with backpackers.
When it comes to food, in Rishikesh you have plenty of options. The town has bohemian cafes, Indian, Italian as well as Chinese restaurants all over the place. Keep in mind that most restaurants in Rishikesh serve only vegetarian food. Some famous cafes here are The Little Buddha Cafe, The 60s Cafe and Cafe Karma.
Tourist sites In & Around Rishikesh
Kunjapuri Devi Temple
The Kunjapuri Devi Temple is a famous temple near Rishikesh. Visit this place to practise meditation and yoga. The temple is a great spot to watch the sunset from the Himalayas. There are a few ashrams near the temple that are great to visit.
One activity that you must not miss out on, apart from river rafting of course, is walking on the Ram Jhula. From the bridge, catch stunning views of the town. You can spot many ghats on one side and beautifully lined colourful shops on the other. A walk on the bridge is a great experience for anyone that loves art and photography.
The Beatles Ashram (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram)
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram also called the Beatles Ashram is a great place to visit in Rishikesh. The Ashram became popular after the English rock band The Beatles visited it many years ago.
There are lovely houses to see and stunning graffiti to admire at the ashram. Yoga sessions are held regularly at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram.
Tera Manzil Temple
The Tera Manzil Temple is recognised by its bright orange colour. The highlight of this temple is that on each floor, there are small prayer rooms dedicated to different gods. As you climb up to the top, you can see the gorgeous sunset. In addition to prayer rooms, the complex has shops where you can buy religious artefacts, rings and prayer books.
- Ensure that you follow all the instructions clearly.
- Wear safety equipment properly and don’t take them off.
- Keep your belongings safe. You are not allowed to carry mobile phones on the kayak.
- Carry your personal medication (if any) on your trip.
- If you have a medical condition like a heart ailment, blood pressure, epilepsy, or any other, do not go rafting in high-grade rapids.
- As far as possible, book your river rafting spot in advance, the same applies to hotels and transport.
- Make sure you wear sunscreen.
Keep these details in mind and have a splendid time during your river rafting escapade in Rishikesh.
If you need any more information, we will be glad to help you. Ask us all your questions in the comments below and we will get back to you.