The best rafting camp in Rishikesh

When you set_01

When you set out to do nothing, is actually when you end up getting the most. Call it the power of empty spaces, fluidity or no expectations, you know you are coming back with more than you planned or bargained for. I just came back from one of those breaks. When you say “we’ll see once we get there”. From Shivpuri.  And you arm yourself with music, pets, books and other things that can consume the time and space. But in the end do not even feel the need to touch much of them. Because these kind of getaways work like meditation. These are technically called the rafting camps, but these perfectly work as recuperation camps as well. Sitting and staring at the gorgeous view, listening to the deafening sound of the rushing Ganges, feeling the nurturing bright sun on the onset of winter, feeding yourself fresh food off the vegetation, you begin to slow down. In your head, your body language and your speech. It’s almost like a lyrical haze.

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Getting there :
5 friends and a dog packed themselves in an Innova and left early morning [ 4 am] the day after Diwali, to escape the din and the speed of the city. Yes, we thought some rafting would be good. But what all of us wanted was to just get away. So we did. And by easy lunch time, we were at the camp in Shivpuri. We could have taken the night train to Haridwar and the camp would have sent a cab. But then if you want to travel with a dog, the highway is the best way. We stayed in one of the few camps that is on the other side of the river. So you have to get there in a raft itself, once you get off the car. But it is totally worth it. Because on the other side lies pristine uncrowded beaches. Against the backdrop of the thick foliage of the Rajaji National park that extends from Haridwar.

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What do you do:
I was happy with nothing, for once. Though there is always plenty to do in places like these. There is the now popular white water rafting. And while you are at it, jump off the raft and body surf[ it is perfectly safe, with life jackets, and an expert following you closely] in the gorgeous fresh waters of the Ganges. This time of the year, the water still isn’t freezing. It is just about right to wake you up, and send tingling feelings down your spine. Once you are done with the many rounds of rafting over a couple of days, and you know the rapid names by heart [ which are very creative and appropriate], you can settle in for a good game of beach volleyball, or badminton. Or try the flying fox and the bungee jump in that area. There is also plenty of scope to go for tiny treks. Into the villages. Up the hill. To a waterfall. So, the place is packed with activities, for the adrenalin oriented.

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What did I do:
I sank into the sand. I played with my dog. I did one set of rapids one morning, and body surfed in the water. Played some badminton. And pranced around the trampoline trying some photography tricks. But mostly, I ate copious amounts of fresh food, stared endlessly at the beauty right under the nose, sunned myself in a hammock, read a little, walked and chatted up with friends and strangers around a bonfire. And woke up fresh each morning, feeling the dead layer of the city peel off me. And allowed myself to be taken in by the very little somethings that we completely miss, while running around in the concrete. Little birds and their incessant chatter. The riot of colors that these birds can be, beyond the shades you know. The brightness of the stars on a dark night. A faint automobile sound in the night, passing above on the highway. The light pattern it’s headlight makes on the dark foliage. Simple things, actually. But with the nudge to open up sight sound and other sensory perceptions that a TV or a smart phone won’t do.

We came back a happy relaxed bunch. Not quite happy to be back in the rat race. But also knowing that we can always race back to the place, since this is THE season to max it. Hope some of you make it.

I have stayed in many camps on the shores, but I keep going back to this one. Try MHE Beach camp [ Mercury Himalayan Exploration]. It is not only reasonable, but very hygienic, systematic, with a fantastic staff running the place, and a great cook. The pleasure of a hot water bath in a cobbled stones tent is as invigorating if not luxurious as a bubble bath in a fancy tub. Their tents are spacious, with firm comfortable beds. And they also add the soft touch of a hot water bag on really cold nights, tucked into the warm quilt. There is a beautiful sprawling beach to bum around in. And it is situated right next to one of the rapids called ‘Return to the Sender’, so the noise of the water is loud enough to drown out the cacophony in your head. They also have very good guides for rafting, treks and other physical activities.–ganga-rafting-combos.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Looking_for_a_safe_and_quiet_family_Diwali?

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