My first day of Camping at Rishikesh was full of ups and downs, both literally and figuratively. Next morning, the camp owner made sure that we faced no troubles and enjoyed our stay there. This day was reserved for rock climbing, rappelling and river rafting.
Rishikesh’s proximity to the upper Himalayas along with the passing of the Ganges through this city makes it an ideal spot for river rafting. For adventure junkies, this is one should be on your list of things to do in Rishikesh.
We first started with rock climbing. Geared up with harness, rope, sport shoes and sporty spirit, I start to ascend the enormous rock. Like Incy Wincy spider, I kept on climbing 2 steps and falling back three steps for first few minutes. However after initial struggle I gained momentum and started understanding the climb. Besides, after I broadcasted my brilliantly bad performance, everyone around made it their mission to help me reach the top. That is how sports bring people together, cheering and rooting for the win. They began to give me directions and advised me to keep the rope in between my hands, to use the power from my feet and not only from the fingers. Eventually I made it to the top.
By the way, this was not that big rock, for normally active person it would take mere 7 mins. I might have taken double the time and effort. But it feels so good, accomplishing even a minor obstacle.
After rock climbing, I rappelled down the hill, which was relatively easy and fun too.
Later in the afternoon, we took a jeep to the rafting location. Mounting the raft boat on our jeep, we set out for the ultimate mission. Our raft route was from Shivpuri to Lakshaman Jhula. Shivpuri was an hour away from our site. And this place was surprisingly exotic. The emerald jade water, the green hills and the shimmering white sand, never knew Ganga can be as cool as Goa.
On the banks our guide was pumping air into the raft. Before starting, he shared with us important tricks and life saving tips packaged with large doses of dark humor. Donning our life jackets and helmets, we jumped onto the rafts. Four of us were accompanied by 6 other guys, including two expert professionals, for rafting. With the chant of ‘Jai Ganga Maya Ki’ we embarked on our raft and left the banks of river. The water was icy cold. At first it was like kayaking, and all of us were singing and chatting and admiring the beauty around us. But the humble boating soon transformed into a monstrous ride when the boat started wobbling & we had to battle against the strong rapids of Ganga. I was excited for the new adventure. We could see to giant wave coming nearer with full force and together we start paddling harder.
The giant leap of water smacked us with full force and all of us were completely drenched. It was scary yet exciting and I couldn’t stop screaming or laughing, both at the same time. Eventually we got better with every rapid, and literally outperformed ourselves.
That’s the beauty of adventure. It makes you stronger in ways that you would never anticipate. Such a surreal experience.We took a halt at a cliff called Maggi Point. (They sell hot Maggi at that point, hence the name). Cliff jumping was part and parcel of what I had signed up for. Now, more than heights, I was scared of this icy cold water. So, I was reluctant to try it out. But my daredevil friend just went for it, devoid of any second thoughts or hesitation. That sheer boldness, her exuberance and the fact that even 15 year old were jumping; all of these helped me muster the courage to take a leap. I just closed my eyes and went for it. And that free fall of nano seconds seems like forever.
The anticipation of water that’s going to hit you very soon, and then it does. I drowned into water due to sheer force and no sooner than I knew, I rise above. Above the water and above my fear. The feeling was magical.
The thrill as your heart beats to hyper-drive when you take a leap of faith from the height of a mountain range into the river. It is hard to explain this in words.And then we continued on our raft, no more rapids though. It was calm and relaxing after the cliff. This was my last day here. After rafting, we left the town, but its memories never left us.
I think for me, Rishikesh lived up to its name. A true adventure capital as there was not a day without a crazy adventure. And spiritual city because the moment we stepped in, we were shaken, surprised, awed by the spiritual awakening in ways we didn’t expect nor sought for.