Skip to content Skip to footer

The Rishikesh Road Trip – Bouncing on Water and Getting Back

This is Part III of the Rishikesh Road Trip, and therefore it would be very astute of you to read Part I and Part II before you begin reading the last of the series.

Row Row Row a boat

Gently down the Ganges

When you’re bouncing inside a rapid

Don’t forget to scream


Five minutes later my 8-year-old daughter was being told off by our guide/instructor not to shout so loud during the rapids because the paddlers up front – myself included – couldn’t hear his directions.

I’m trying to think of a time when I used to be adventurous; I am not one to bungee-jump or even go on a roller-coaster. Ask me to go on an impromptu drive from Schwaebisch Gmuend in Germany to Paris, France in the middle of the night or hike up to the Neuschwanstein Castle through a doggy-path, and I’d be game, but ask me to go down a water slide and I’ll start shivering even before I hit the cold water. So when my 8-year-old daughter and almost 70-year-old father showed extreme keenness in river-rafting, I faced a dilemma. Should I chicken-out of the activity making some lame excuse – I’ll stay back to take photographs – or just build up my courage and take on the challenge head on? Obviously if I’m writing about it, I chose the latter.

Rishikesh is synonymous with adventure sports in the North. There is a bungee-jumping point, one can go zip-lining across the valley, or as most tourists do and I too did, pop their river-rafting cherry. At Rs. 750 + Taxes, including pick-up and drop-off at the hotel, for a good two hour plus rafting trip, it is a bargain not to be missed. There are three options – based on kilometers and increasing intensity of rapids – that one can take. Being our first time, and in fact everyone in our boat was a first-timer, we went with the initial 15 Km ride down to Shivpuri (The others go further all the way to Rishikesh and aren’t advisable for children below 12 years).

And so it was, our little group of beginners, with paddles in our hands, helmets on her heads, and life jackets strapped tight to our chests sat at the starting point listing to instructions of what needed to be done once we were floating down the river. In the end though, of all the manoeuvres, techniques and what nots, the only instructions we heard were to paddle forward or rest, and that is it.

As I think back to that day I realize how diverse our little group was; we had two active “young” gentlemen in their late 60s, my daughter who was all of 8, myself who was somewhere in between, sitting upfront with a balding head and a potbelly, and a young bearded TV/Film star and author with his wife, who were celebrating their first holiday together after marriage – and thus I shall refrain from naming them. I also didn’t know till towards the end of our little adventure who he was and maybe it was a good thing because I had at one time dissed his book based just on its title. Had he known that, who knows, maybe this would have been the perfect opportunity for him to get rid of me because all kinds of things can happen inside a rapid, right? In fairness, the said person was extremely courteous, polite, and even laughed at a couple of my jokes.

The thing about rapids is that they look pleasant from afar, but once you are in the river, approaching one, or in middle of it, your entire perception changes drastically. Yes, the refreshing feeling of cold water hitting the face is exciting, but being thrown all around by the river isn’t as easy as it may seem. On top of that the actual thrill of crossing a rapid doesn’t last long, so be prepared for a lot of gentle and strenuous – if you are out of shape as I was – paddling in-between the rapids.

Mickey Mouse, Black Money, Three Blind Mice, Crossfire, and Thank God; no I’m not referring to cartoons or nursery rhymes or even the news, but these happen to be the names given to the five rapids that we encountered. Three Blind Mice is infamous and most enthusiasts know of it, although I found Crossfire to be more challenging and fun. River-rafting is an excellent adventure sport that is executed with proper safety and security at Rishikesh and if you are able to withstand a few bumps and bounces and in a position to give your back and arms a good workout, then don’t miss it. I’m thankful to my daughter and father whose enthusiasm it was that made me do rafting – I am now a fan of the sport and can’t wait to someday try the “harder” rapids.


A late afternoon rafting session meant I was famished by dinner and slept like a baby afterwards. As I woke up the next day, or tried to, I found that my joints protested against all the fun I had had the previous day by hurting me. But it was the good kind of hurtin’, one that corresponded to a personal achievement I could somewhat be proud of. There was however no time to waste as we had a long drive back home.

Leaving at 9 AM a day before Holi we expected a longer commute. The views of the Shivalik range and the Ganga meandering through the valley was a truly mesmerizing farewell to this mountainous region. The hours clocked by mostly in silence, each one of the passengers quiet, in contemplation, listening to music, sleeping, or reading.

Lunch hour and we reached Cheetal Grand – the one on the opposite side, and this time it was a smaller more old-fashion version of the one we had visited just two days back. Eager to get home, yet still in vacation mode, we ordered Vegetable Cutlets – crispy and a little oily yet delicious, Cheese Pizza – with a very thick Indian-ized base, and gorgeously grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

As luck would have it, we made it back in about the same time as it had taken us to reach Rishikesh from Gurgaon – 7 hours. In hindsight, a day’s stay more would be advisable, although if bound by time a 3 day 2 night option also works well when planning a road-trip to Rishikesh.

Family road trips are always special. Enjoy them – as we did – or not, but they have a way of being etched in the memory for long. The trick is always to make the most of them the best you can and that’s exactly how it went for us in Rishikesh; we did what we wanted to do but also soaked in a little of what Rishikesh had to offer.


  • The Untourists
    Posted 8 April, 16 at 2:44 AM

    Looks more like a river trip 🙂

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    Posted 8 April, 16 at 6:53 AM

    The names of the rapids are funny and must be a great attraction to the kids 😀 The ride looks like a fun, but as you’ve said, it could be strenuous. The pictures are just beautiful… 🙂

    • raghavmodi
      Posted 1 May, 16 at 8:33 PM

      Strenuous for the kids. My daughter sat in the middle and enjoyed. For someone like me who is out of shape, this was the limit. The full course would have been too much. Then again we didn’t have a full house on the raft, and folks of different ages. That too makes a difference.

  • natalietanner
    Posted 20 February, 17 at 1:32 AM

    LOL! As a former educator I can tell you….you need to be very specific when you give the kids permission to be loud!! LOL! Looks like this was learned here. LOL! These look tough but fun…training before the trip would be in order for us!

  • TravelingMel
    Posted 20 February, 17 at 2:07 AM

    Sounds like so much fun, but I really love river rafting. I never would have thought of the Ganges as a place to do it. I love the names of the rapids. And nothing like a big meal after an exhilarating adventure.

  • Practical Wanderlust (@practicalwander)
    Posted 20 February, 17 at 3:35 AM

    Ahhh I love white water rafting! But ONLY on the baby rapids, like 1-3. Anything more than that and I start to get freaked out! My husband loves the intense ones, though. I’m so tickled that you had a celebrity with you too – how fun to have an adventure with a celeb!!

  • onlybyland
    Posted 20 February, 17 at 1:17 PM

    My daughter would have been shouting too and wouldn’t have stopped if people were complaining! The good thinkg about writing your blog is that you can’t back out, you couldn’t really write about backing out when we wanna read about you doing it. You must have been hungry after that experience and the food you photographed looked delicious.

  • marie
    Posted 20 February, 17 at 11:06 PM

    Those cheese sandwiches look delicious! I’ve never tried rafting, even if I had the occasion a few times. You’re an encouragement to me now haha. It looks like so much fun from the photos.

  • ramie1970
    Posted 21 February, 17 at 1:27 AM

    Well done on facing your fears. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and like extreme activities like Bungee jumping and river rafting. Rishikesh looks like an outdoor pursuits paradise, Good wee heartfelt story too, as usual, Great post!

  • Sydney Fashion Hunter
    Posted 21 February, 17 at 2:54 AM

    Love it! Shamed by an 8yo and 70yo into getting in to that boat lol. I’ve never thought of India as an adventure destination. Who knew! Love the creative names for the rapids. Is would definitely give this a go.

  • Jean
    Posted 21 February, 17 at 3:43 AM

    Oh you’re braver than me! I’m like you, up for a crazy drive or hike but avoid these water sports. Though there’s no way I could convince my mum to go in a road trip and do some water rafting! Love that your family convinced you to do this

  • Swati Sam
    Posted 22 February, 17 at 7:54 PM

    All my friends who have been to Rishikesh for water rafting keep raving about how amazing it is and no comparison when I tell them about my water rafting experience in Coorg. I think I need to add this one to my itinerary. I have been to Rishikesh thrice all I did was posing in front of Lakshman Jhoola

  • The Untourists
    Posted 27 June, 17 at 8:15 AM

    That breakfast from Cheetal Grand looks delicious! Rishikesh (or is it Hrishikesh) is the diversity kind of a destination. We noticed too.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 27 June, 17 at 12:51 PM

      Yeah, it has a lot going on from a religious point of view as well a food and adventure.

  • Trackback: Travel Bites: The Rishikesh Road Trip Part I – Getting There – Ticker Eats the World
  • Trackback: A Stay at The Glasshouse on The Ganges: The Rishikesh Road Trip Part II – Ticker Eats the World
  • Saanvi
    Posted 8 July, 19 at 1:19 PM

    I too have been to Rishikesh, and thoroughly enjoyed my experience while river rafting. Since I was a child, all I had to do was sit in the middle and hold a rope, while everyone else does the work!

  • Trackback: Travel Bites: The Rishikesh Road Trip Part I - Getting There
  • Trackback: A Stay at The Glasshouse on The Ganges

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to Ticker Eats the World

Keep up-to-date with the latest in travel, hotel recommendations, food, and restaurant reviews, by subscribing to Ticker Eats the World.