Bliss in the Mountains: Our Wonderful Family Trip to Rishikesh


Here's a guest post on adventures in Rishikesh, contributed by Akansha Negi.

Snuggled in the lap of the Himalayas along the banks of River Ganga, Rishikesh is a relaxing retreat for family. The picturesque location, serene weather most of the year, spiritual ambiance, plethora of things to do and amazing experiences lure your entire family. Just a week back, my family and I headed towards the blissful town, to escape the cities and bask in the bliss.
Day 1: Traveling to Rishikesh
We started for our family holiday in Rishikesh from Delhi after nightfall. We drove our family car, a Toyota Innova that easily fitted us 8, plus the luggage. We did not want the hassle or buses or trains and do it our way. Moreover, we had experienced drivers in our family. It took less than 6 hours to arrive with tea and washroom breaks. I would suggest to book a cab or a luxury bus, its just 250 km of good roads and a night journey is best preferred.

Known as the hub of adventure sports in India, Rishikesh is extremely favored by adventure enthusiasts. If your folks are of the daring-types, then then amazing options of adventure sports is the real thrill that tempts for planning a trip to Rishikesh. From river rafting, camping, trekking, mountaineering, to extreme sports of bungee jumping there is much on offer. Though the salubrious weather of the town bring visit year-long, camping and river rafting in Rishikesh is not allowed in the monsoon from the end of June to mid-October. Listed among best places to go for adventure holidays, Rishikesh is an experience of a lifetime.

Day 2: Camping and River Rafting in Rishikesh
We reached Rishikesh when the first rays of the sun were coloring the sky. Our plan for the day was to have a go at river rafting and camping. I had previously pre booked our stay at Camp Roller Coaster which also included river-rafting, trekking and other adventure sports. I had chosen the camp for its location, right beside the River Ganga and the rapid named Roller Coaster. The camp was family-friendly and was also a friend’s suggestion. They customized our requirements and we had to shell out merely 2200 INR per person for our holiday. River rafting in Rishikesh had few regulations while camping is valuable for all ages. 8-55 years were allowed to participate. People with medical disabilities are strictly prohibited.
We parked our vehicle at the camp site parking area. Our actual campsite lay at a short trek of 10 minutes down the mountains. On arriving to the camps, we completed the check-in formalities and explored the environs which were truly natural bliss. The camps were set on higher grounds than the river banks of Ganga, on a rock-leveled platform for safety reasons. The play area and sitting area was just beside the river with proper safety measures. The camp-site had lifeguards round the clock and amiable staff. The tents were comfortable and had basic facilities that do not let you miss home. The lodgings were neat and clean, but we sorely missed mosquito nets. The pests had sung us lullabies all night and though we had mosquito repellants, we were allergic to it and to forgo using it. We had access to torch-light, charging points, safe drinking water, clean and furnished bathrooms, etc.
The charming setting on undisturbed natural beauty is the sole reason, Rishikesh is named among the best places to go for camping. Surrounded by hills carpeted in forests, the gurgling roar of the River Ganga in its swift flow and the pure blue sky, the campsite was a true natural retreat that was the right therapy for us city-dwellers.

After gorging on a mouthwatering breakfast, we geared up for river rafting in lifejackets and helmets, we embarked upon the 16km stretch on the river from Shivapuri. It took us almost 4 hours of navigating grade 2 & 3 rapids, with a stop for cliff jumping, which I must admit needed a lots of guts. The thrilling expedition scared, thrilled and made us feel a plethora of emotions. On the rapids we stuck to our rafts and at places when there was no turbulence we jumped into the river to feel the bliss of the cold water flowing from its glacial origin making its way to the plains and eventually the sea.
Evening was spent by the bonfire regaling our experience. The river flowing by, the dark mountains, and the glow of the fire created an ambiance which does not get easily forgotten. The soft moon-light, sky full of stars and the company of loved ones made this the favorite memory of our family holiday in Rishikesh.

Day 3: Charms of Rishikesh
We woke up to calls of nature and fresh air of the mountains, a luxury for the habitants of the cities. The camp had organized activities for trekking, bird-watching, body-surfing, game of badminton and many more. We choose to participate in a few of them. After a delicious breakfast, we checked out to explore the attractions of the town.

After our dose of adventure, it was time to get blessings of the divine. Rishikesh abounds in ancient temples and ashrams. Said to be the birthplace of yoga, the town offers a number of places to learn and practice this ancient science of health and wellbeing. The International Yoga Festival gathers people from all over the world, but the practitioners are seen visiting all-round the year.
We started on foot, exploring the charming sights of the town. As we had arrived on a weekend in the peak of summers, there were many such families and was moderately crowded. Most people travel by foot in this town. The steel-cabled Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula connects the two hills of the town and is the landmark of the town. The view of the River Ganges is absolutely breathtaking from here. But, here I would say to be aware of the monkeys. Do not carry food items or expensive things in your hands, as they can anytime snatch them. Keeping this in our mind we had kept our cameras and phones away.

The 13-storey Kailash Niketan Temple is an unmissable sight. Swarga Ashram is a place you must explore. Running short of time, we missed many temples. The markets also had amazing sights. Just stay away from people who tempt you with ancient trinkets, magical gems and other incredible things of the Himalayas. Shop only at certified shops where you will get certificate of authenticity for things. The day was well spent exploring. We took a break and headed to the famous food-joint of the town named as Chottiwala. The delicious local gastronomy served here is delightful. You mostly have vegetarian food options.

Before the sun signed out for the day, we arrived at Parmarth Niketan ashram to attend the ritual of Ganga aarti held every evening. To the tunes of conch shells, hymns and songs, brass lamps were lit to worship the River Goddess. People at the ashram floated their diyas in the river. After the serene ritual, we bid farewell to Rishikesh in its holy as well as thrilling avatar.

Though we were heading back, we were planning holidays in Uttarakhand as we were not satisfied with this one adventure-filled holiday. If time would have permitted we would have explored Haridwar, headed out to the holy cities of Char Dham or to Auli.

Tips for planning a family trip to Rishikesh
·         Head out on a weekday for fewer crowds

·         Drive you own car/ cab with every necessity
·         Pre book campsites, hotels and adventure trips
·         Carry snacks and food items
·         Get active before trying out river rafting, trekking and other activities
·         Respect the locals
·         Dress wisely for temples as well as for adventure activities

Author Bio 

Akansha Negi frequently writes at India Travel Blog by Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd. She shares her passion of travel and love for various Indian destinations. If you are planning your vacations in Uttarakhand, browse through her write-ups.

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