Family trip to Rishikesh: an eye-opening experience
By Akansha Negi
Rishikesh is synonymous with serenity, fun, adventure, Ganga and Yoga, all at the same time. A family holiday in Rishikesh is one of the best ways to experience the unique destination differently. Having heard so much about the place, I made my mind to a plan a trip and bask in the sheer tranquility prevailing here.
My family and I were excited to know that how a destination, being so serene one, can offer thrill and peace simultaneously. Thus, out of the many reasons, this one compelled us to book a Chevrolet Tavera Car and hit the road to Rishikesh. As I have a family of 7 members, including me, the idea of booking this particular car helped us to enjoy a comfortable journey.
Trip to Rishikesh
The very idea of a family holiday in Rishikesh excited my near and dear ones. Female members got busy with packing whereas the elderly male members seemed eager to visit the ashrams in the tranquil town. The joy of children to partake in River Rafting in Rishikesh was beyond description. So, I was assured that the sojourn is going to bestow us with some of the memorable moments of our lives.
Our Rishikesh tour began at midnight. The driver was known to us and was glad to take us to the ‘Yoga Capital of India’. He was on time, parked the car just outside our house and helped each and everybody to accommodate themselves comfortably. It took us six hours to complete the journey from Delhi to Rishikesh, including short breaks meanwhile.
We had the quality time while playing ‘Antakshari’ en route to Rishikesh. As soon as we entered the spiritual city, we were welcomed with a unique spectacle. The Sun shaded in crimson red, appeared to sneak-peek at us right from behind the hills. There, I got the feeling that an eye-opening experience has just begun. With this, the entire town revered with the chants, hymns and sound of bells. This gave us the vibes that the destination we chose for family holidays in India is simply perfect.
Day 1: Camping and River Rafting in Rishikesh
Since the thought of a relaxing holiday with family after trying something adventurous and arduous appeared valid to us, we headed for River Rafting and Camping in Rishikesh. With each passing moment, the enthusiasm accelerated. The winding road led us to Shivpuri in Uttarakhand, where I had already booked our stay at Camp Roller Coaster. This included river-rafting, trekking and other adventure sports. It is always advised to do all the booking well in advance to avoid last minute rush.
It was a sight to behold to marvel at the campsite nestled right beside River Ganga. We stepped within our camps and delighted in their comforts. Camping in Rishikesh is a fun-filled experience. The camps are hygienic, fully-equipped with basic amenities and perched on a height for a safety purpose. A small trek to the camps gives a brief about what you are going to revel in very soon.
A home away from home, the camps although excite everybody but welcome only those between the age group of 8-55 years. Considering safety as a priority, people with medical disabilities are prohibited. After savoring delicious breakfast, the time arrived when we were about to pacify our adrenaline rush.
Before embarking for River Rafting in Rishikesh, we were updated with brief instructions and given life jackets and helmets. And, there it started. Soon, River Ganges started testing our rafting skills and we were confidently battling with the challenging rapids of the gushing river. 4 hours’ long adventure sport made us navigate grade 2 & 3 rapids. I was really amused to witness this very form of the river which is otherwise considered as the holy and serene one.
We were relaxed to cherish a short break after four hours of adventure. But wait, this is Rishikesh and is known for enthralling surprises. Thus, the very thought of unwinding while on an exciting holiday with family should be kept at bay. We were informed that we had this halt here to enjoy cliff jumping. The moment we heard the word cliff jumping, our heartbeats skyrocketed.
Requiring lots of guts, the thrilling expedition offers a potpourri of emotions and was successfully completed by us. To take the fun factor to next level, we stuck our rafts at a place where there was no turbulence and without any second thought jumped into the river. The cold water gave us goosebumps but became a bliss soon after.
Post the exhilarating activity, it was unimaginable that even the evening had some special plans for us. A bonfire was arranged which made the trip to Rishikesh unforgettable. Rhythmic sounds of river Ganga, star-laden sky, moonlit and company of the near and dear ones, what else is required for enjoying a wonderful life.
Day 2: Exploring Rishikesh
Mornings are blissful if you wake up to the eyes-soothing views of the surroundings and chirping of birds act as an alarm for you. Post satiating our hunger with scrumptious breakfast, we proceeded to complete our dose of adventure by partaking in trekking, body-surfing, bird watching etc. All these and many more activities were organized by our camp. Thereafter, we checked-out from our camps and became eager to soak-in the divinity of the town.
After reaching the town again, we decided to take the holy dip in the sacred river. There is nothing that you can compare this feeling with. Accompanied by lofty mountains, the river seems magical and is adorned with a pebbled path. Taking a dip revives you.
Subsequently, we went sightseeing the charms of Rishikesh. We started with the Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula. The steel-cabled suspension bridge over the gushing river Ganga gives a feel of a swing and thus is named so. Before you start walking, be aware of the monkeys that can come from any direction at any time and snatch away your camera, phone or other stuff you might be carrying with you.
Since we were really hungry, we straightaway went to a famous eatery known as ‘Chotiwala’. Before coming here, I came to know about it via one of my friends who hails from Rishikesh. Post relishing finger-licking food, we went on to visit various ashrams in Rishikesh. We frequented Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Omkarananda Ganga Sadan, Beatles Ashram and many more. There, we were also glad to learn about a few titbits about Yoga and Meditation.
We were also happy to know about the International Yoga Festival which is held in Rishikesh every year and then only we decided to plan another trip during the fiesta. Since we were running short of time, we took a short trip of the temples and hurried towards the Triveni Ghat to be a part of the astounding Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh. It was a sight to behold as tiny flickering lamps started to float in the river and priest began to worship the river Goddess while carrying huge lamps.
After partaking in the Ganga Aarti and cherishing all the fun and excitement, we got the answer to the question we started with. Traveling to Rishikesh with family offers complete rejuvenation and helps to find a new you. Meanwhile returning, we planned to visit Haridwar and Auli, as these are the best places to go on holiday in January.
Things to keep in mind before visiting Rishikesh
- Carry essential things like a sunscreen, portable mobile charger, sunglasses, lip balm and flashlight.
- Take care of small children.
- Wear a helmet and life jacket while enjoying river rafting.
- Keep the age group limit in mind while partaking in any of the adventure activity.
- Make an advance booking to avoid last minute rush
- Do not litter.
- Respect the locals.
- Wear proper clothing while visiting the temples.
Best time to visit Rishikesh
September to the first week of May is the best time to visit Rishikesh.
A soul bred in the mountains, Akansha Negi doles out travel inspiration from solo wandering, exploring heritage and culture, tasting local cuisine, adventures and experiences of her travels.