Nestled at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Rishikesh or the starting point of the 'chardham' is one of the adventure hubs in the country. Fringed with towering mountain peaks, captivating forests and gushing water-bodies; mainly the holy Ganges and its other tributaries, this enticing city in Uttarakhand plays a stunning host to several adrenaline pumping activities.
To name a few of Rishikesh's offerings are bungee jumping, hiking, base jumping, rappelling, trekking and white water rafting. Among all the enthralling and adrenaline pumping activities, Rishikesh holds a major place for its water rafting options. Offering rapids of Grade-I to V, this place has become a quintessential destination for the water rafting mongers.
Best time for Rafting in Rishikesh: October-December (mid) & February (mid)-May
Grade-I: Ideal for the beginners, this type of grade is easy to manoeuvre through. The levels of the currents are very low and the amateurs can easily navigate through them. These rapids mostly occur in the plains, where the water flows steadily with mild current.
Grade-II: After getting introduced to river rafting, one should try to navigate through the Grade-II rapids. One step tougher than the Grade-I rapids, these type of rapids involve a bit of training, navigating skills and usually offers moderate level of difficulty in manoeuvring. They exist in those parts, where the river passes through slight rocky or uneven regions.
Grade-III: The fun and adventure of river rafting usually begins with the Grade-III rapids! Within here, one can find the bigger waves that require good navigating techniques and proper guidance. At times, the waves get strenuous to a greater level that makes the water to appear white in colour and thus, it is often called 'white water rafting'.
Grade-IV: Rafting gets more enthralling and exciting while paddling through the Grade-IV rapids. Offering challenging waves, uneven flow of the water and sudden drops, these rapids, at times can topple the raft easily. Though manoeuvring through these rapids seems to be pretty difficult, with proper guidance and techniques, it becomes an extremely adventurous and enthralling affair.
Grade-V: These rapids require ardent training and can only be navigated successfully by the expert rafters. Offering gruesome waves that can topple the raft within a blink of the eye, manoeuvring through these rapids comprises passing through large rocks, heavy water currents, sudden and large drops. At times, they might be accompanied by whirlpools as the river currents from different directions meets at a single point. Grade-V rapids should not be tried without prior rafting experience and skills.
Image Source: Travayegeur - Flickr
With all the types of rapids, rafting in Rishikesh becomes an enthralling as well as adventurous affair. Here are the 8 most popular and sought after rapids in Rishikesh:
1. Sweet Sixteen (Grade-I): It is one such rapid that can be navigated by beginners, non-swimmers and even kids. Without any hard obstacles and no strenuous waves, it offers easy passage and serves as an ideal learning ground for the novices.
2. Hilton and Terminator (Grade-II): While cruising through Brahmapuri to Ram Jhula, one can witness and experience the exhilarating Grade-II rapid called Hilton and Terminator. Passing through sharp ridges, several turns and twists of the river, this rapid is among the most sought after rapids in Rishikesh.
3. Three Blind Mice (Grade-III): This rapid mainly attracts the rafters with basic experience of rafting. In this portion, the river makes its way through narrow and sharp passes, and thus it has gained the fame of being a Grade-III rapid.
4. Cross Fire (Grade-III): A rapid that takes you to a stunning beach in Rishikesh, Cross Fire is categorised as a Grade-III rapid due to the challenges it offers. The river Ganges, in full glory, passes through one of the roughest regions and gives rise to this rapid.
5. Roller Coaster (Grade-III/IV): Frothy and challenging waves, extreme level of currents, maelstroms and rocky surfaces are the characteristics of this rapid. While some call it a Grade-III, others refer it as a Grade-IV rapid due to the amount of the challenges and manoeuvring skills required to overcome it.
6. Golf Course (Grade-IV): If you are looking for some of the best and enthralling rafting experiences in Rishikesh, hit the Golf Course. A Grade-IV rapid, navigating this rapid requires prior rafting experience; at least with Grade-III rapids. Excellent paddling skills and an adrenaline kick are the keys to overcome this rapid.
7. The Wall (Grade-IV): A rapid that offers you some of the extreme level challenges and upon crossing which, you get rewarded with the best adrenaline kick, The Wall is a game for the expert rafters. Prior experience, mental stability and carving for adventure is extremely required to navigate this rapid.
8. Daniel's Dip (Grade-V): One really needs a lot of guts and navigating skills to cross this strenuous rapid in Rishikesh. Also termed as the second highest rapid of the Ganges, this Grace-V rapid is a true delight for the ardent rafters.
Image Source: Shawn Allen - Flickr
Image Source: abrinsky - Flickr