I didn’t expect to go river rafting in Rishikesh or even enter the Ganges river after hearing about how polluted it is. Then I found myself out of the raft, holding on to the lifeline as we crashed through the white water rapids. Surprisingly I felt quite safe considering the lack of safety standards in India, after all I was wearing a life vest a was told to jump overboard. Luckily all went well and we hopped back into the boat just before crashing into some much larger rapids. River rafting in Rishikesh was simply amazing and the perfect balance to our quiet relaxing yoga sessions that we came for.
Before joining this expedition where I certainly questioned my safety, I asked my friend which tour we were going with. He responded, “Oh, a guy on the street offered a great deal, It’s like $6 for a day rafting trip!” Since I’ve done similar trips in the USA for 10x or 20x the price, how could I not be excited? After all, we were going on the Ganges River.
This section of the Ganges is actually quite clean up north and is the perfect place for river rafting in Rishikesh and the surrounding area. The 26km stretch of river has many rapids from class 1 to class 4. Tour operators have all sorts of offerings from half day tours to overnight paddling and camping expeditions. We opted for the 12km day tour and had a blast!
The trip began with a half hour drive north of Rishikesh which was quite spectacular in itself. The truck eventually pulled off the road in a seemingly random spot and we unloaded, put on some gear and walked down to the river. After a quick briefing, we hopped in the raft and began to paddle down river towards the first set of rapids.
After crashing through a couple rapids, the guide explained that we could go body surfing on the next rapid. I figured white water meant rocks, which means you should not be entering the water. But, apparently body surfing as they call it, is perfectly safe in this area. You just jump overboard and hold on to the lifeline, simple enough. I am glad I had insurance.
The end of the tour led us through the city of Rishikesh. It was great to see the city from this angle and just one more reason why you have to go river rafting in Rishikesh when you are there!
Going river rafting in Rishikesh? Here are some tips!
Make sure that you have travel insurance before going on any adventure, especially river rafting in Rishikesh! I have World Nomads and highly recommend their service!
Don’t go for the lowest price option, always find a reputable company and a safe guide but always negotiate! The tour cost us about 400 Rupee per person.
Although I have not personally used them, River Rafting in Rishikesh is a well known and popular company that offers tours of all sorts in the Rishikesh area.
Take sunscreen and sunglasses!
Here are the names of the major rapids near Rishikesh:
Black Money (Grade 1)
Sweet Sixteen (Grade 1)
Good Morning (Grade 1)
Body Surfing (Grade 1)
Club House (Grade 2)
Initiation (Grade 2)
Double Trouble (Grade 2)
Hilton (Grade 2)
Terminator (Grade 2)
Shivpuri Rapid (Grade 2+)
Three Blind Mice (Grade 3)
Cross Fire (Grade 3)
Roller coaster (Grade 3)
Golf Course (Grade 3)
Return to Sender (Grade 3)
Daniel’s Dip (Grade 3+)
The Great Wall (Grade 4)