Rishikesh, popularly known as “Gateway to the Himalayas”, is the base location of adventure in the Garhwal region of Himalayas. The presence of Ganges makes Rishikesh the water adventure hub of the country. The presence of bungee jumping and canyon swing and the well known white-water rafting lured me to go there and experience some adrenaline rush.
So there we were 9 adventurers from “Great Hyderabad Adventure Club” ready to test our inner strength at the holy Ganges.
The journey started with four people Rasheed, Krishna Sundeep, Akhilesh and myself from Nampally station with an extreme adventurous sleeper(rather general) class twenty six hour travel to Delhi. All thanks to the Indian Railways for this easy reservation. We reached Delhi on Friday, fighting the extreme heat of the day and cool winds at night, still in single piece and all body parts intact. There Ujjaval joined the gang.
Your life is useless if you have visited Delhi and not “Connaught place”. So the lunch was at “Kake da dhaba” followed by the awesome paans.
Next stop was “Akshardhaam temple” (the best way to kill time being in delhi). Straight from Akshardhaam, next spot was Delhi-6, “Chandni Chowk” (paranthe-wali gali, lassi wala, aloo-tikki) and Redfort. Being in Delhi, you will just keep eating all the junk food and chaats in every part of the city. After that we were back to CP and spent the rest of the time in Delhi there shopping and sight-seeing. Then Rajaram sir and Koti Krishna joined the gang and we left CP (after having those awesome shakes at keventers, worth a mention I thought).
We took a private tempo traveler to go directly to Rishikesh, the driver bluntly told “gaddi to 12 baje baad hi bahara jaani hai dilli se”. It gave us some more time to kill in Delhi, India gate being the most happening place at night was our next destination.
Even after leaving Delhi at about 12 at night, our driver paaji parked the vehicle at “Lakshman jhula parking” at 6.15 am. We had a bath at the ghat there and got ready for the big day.
The very next challenge after the bath was food, for which I made the group walk for 3 kilometers in search of a famous place known as “Chotiwala”. The place is running over there for more than a hundred years, with an actual chotiwale babaji sitting right in front.
Then we were joined in by the last two members Manish and Lekha and thus completing the gang. Now was the time for “BUNGEE”. We boarded the regular bus of jumpin heights, our partners for bungee jumping. We reached the operations office of jumpin heights within half an hour drive along the Ganges.
On reaching the spot, we realized that the forest fires had started and due to low visibility, jump wasn’t possible for the time being. Everybody was shocked to hear that and was hoping for the clearance of smoke as forest fire sometimes continue for days. As we had traveled from so far-off place, the luck was on our side and the smoke cleared easily and we were up for all the three activities.
The first activity was Flying fox.
In this, we were first harnessed to the wire and on release by gravity, rolled down the wire upto 7 metres above the river level and then brought up, finally returning and settling down at the lowest point. It can accelerate up to speeds of 160 kmph. It feels like the air gushing past. We were then pulled back to the launch platform by a retrieval mechanism.
The feeling of flying fox is like you are hanged horizontally and thrown along a rope , experiencing a strong force of air gushing through your body.
The second activity was Bungee Jumping
Then was Bungee jumping, the real test of guts inside. We were taken to the edge of a 83 metres high platform and told to jump off head first. Why on earth a normal fellow do that? Yeah, there’s the point “we are not normal people”. We are the people who travel 2000 kilometres in two complete days just to jump off the cliff that is about 100 metres high, and also pay for it (maybe for saving our lives) just to experience the thrill of those 5-6 seconds in which we are in the air. But believe me, every single second and penny is worth the experience. You can live your rest of your life confidently saying “I’ve got guts”, also you being provided with a badge saying so.
The third activity was Canyon Swing
Last was the Canyon swing. In childhood, everybody of us must have watched Tarzan swinging on long tree branches and wondered if we could do the same (I wondered so :P). Here is your chance to live your childhood dream on a bigger scale. Moreover you get a 3 second free fall as a bonus. Literally it is like the ground below you slipped off and you are in the air speedily going down. Then you come to realize that you are hanging in a beautiful valley with all the voices inside of you come out in their very own form. Then you take few more swings before being lowered down on the ground.
The jump site is over a tributary of Ganges that has low levels of water. After I came down from canyon swing, me and doctor Rajaram had to wait for all others to complete their both activities. Crazy fellows we are.
Next, we decided to have some fun in the stream meanwhile and removed all unnecessary clothes off and went straight into water. It was the most relaxing time, lying down in a stream on a sunny day in a beautiful valley, cold water running through the body, watching crazy people doing crazy things, jumping with elastic ropes, swinging and screaming their hearts out.
At the end, you get a DVD with your videos recorded for the activities done so that you can remember the time of your life you had there.You will also be given certificates for the jumps you had.
Next we were off to the river side camp at Shivpuri, for our stay overnight. The camp was situated at a beautiful place just on the banks of Ganges with beautiful scenery all around.
We had a blast at night sharing our experiences over the bonfire and went to sleep to get geared up for rafting on the next day.
Sunday morning was a beautiful one to wake up by the side of the mighty river. Volleyball session in the morning was like an icing on the cake.
It would be a waste of the morning and you if you take a bath in the bathroom instead of the biggest fresh water source of the country in front of you. So there, we the GHACians had fun in the waters (of course within the safe zone).
After breakfast, it was the time to get going for 27 kilometers rafting. We went to the starting point of the rafting from our camp. On reaching the starting point we were given P.F.D.s, helmets and paddles and were briefed about what we were going to do over the next few hours. Rescue session was also provided to deal with case of any emergency.
Then we were all set to roll into our rafts and every raft had an instructor to guide everybody. Our trainer was Mr. Raju, an expert of this field. Initially we were made familiar with the rowing techniques and other terms related to navigation and posture. Then we started the main rowing along the course of the river and got a hold of it quite early only. In the second rapid only Ujjaval was thrown out of the rapid, and the trainer challenged us to stand on the next rapid. We were all like “we did bungee, we can do anything and everything possible” , stepped on the raft and were all standing upright. When the rapid came most of us were down on the raft, still again getting on the feet and trying one more time. After that in a slow flowing area, Raju told us to jump off the raft and we can swim in the water but near the raft. Actually I was awaiting the instruction and jumped off right away. It’s always fun to be in the water. Going ahead, we faced some very extreme rapids, we jumped off in some of them and faced the rapids in water only. At that time there were eddy currents in water also, so a person could be dragged into them if not holding the raft.
Then we faced some eddy currents while rowing that changed the course of the boat and it just hit the big rock and Rajaram sir fell off the raft and were not able to rescue himself. Here the initial rescue technique of using the row came into play and Ujjaval rescued him. After coming back to the raft, doctor saab happily said “Chalo ab near drowning experience bhi ho gaya, this is REAL ADVENTURE”. Seriously this man is amazing, can do anything and everything in this world with his energy levels, a perfect example of never give up, never lose hope. By that time we got a perfect coordination in rowing and did it great.
Next task to accomplish was the “Cliff Jumping”. There were huge rocks along the route of raft, so another adrenaline rush activity is jumping from top of that big rock into the river (the river there is deep enough to dive). It may seem a lot easier reading or listening of jumping over a 30 ft cliff into the water with a life jacket and helmet. When you are at that edge, you forget everything else and freak out. This is the moment you let go all the fears and tensions and jump.
After the jump there is nothing much. Just a few more rapids and row to the end point.This is the thing you have to try once before you die. Do not miss standing on the raft, jumping into the water, jumping in the water in a rapid, cliff jumping, getting thrown from a raft during a rapid (that depends on your luck), inversion of the raft (again luck dependent), water fighting. All these things combined will make this experience of rafting in Ganges the most memorable one, much better than any rafting in the country.
Actually it being an adventure sport there are always chances of mishap but the people there are quite good at handling mishaps and a number of rafts are there to rescue you in case of any mishap, so you needn’t fear and can enjoy every bit of the moment.
It was the end of our adventure and was the time to head back home. We again had lunch at the chotiwala and attended the evening “Bhavya Aarti” at Haridwar on the way to Delhi.
We reached Delhi by 4 in the morning and the boarded our train at 6 in the morning back to Hyderabad.
After doing all these things and returning back safe and sound, in a single piece,
one can proudly say “I’ve got Guts.”
Heroes of the event : Rajaram Bidkikar, Manish, Lekha, Koti Krishna, Ujjaval Verma, Akhilesh, B Krishna Sundeep, Rasheed, Mohit Kharb.