It was very hot day on 26th of June 2010 when we were in Rishikesh and there was nothing better than River Rafting to get rid of rising temprature. Moreover the key Agenda which we had for this lovely place was take bath in Ganga River and River Rafting.
We got to starting point of 26 KM stretch of River Rafting by 10:30 AM, with us there were five Punjabi Boys and a Guide from Ladakh. On the way, lot of boys kept speculating about the rafting as most of us were first timer. The Guide was quite a jolly guy with long hairs (Like Girls).
Rafting started by 11:00 AM with all required equipments around. Unfortunately we did not keep our Camera along. The moment raft left the bank of river the entire view around us changed and the very next moment we were in the middle of Ganga River. Hardly I could hold my breadth as the first Rapid was ahead of us for Welcome.
All major rapids in this stretch are given different names. And the first rapid is called Good Morning, as the name says it is a starter. But for beginner this is everlasting experience. The noise of water increases the heart beats and the moment Raft hits the rapids,its simply superb, of-course if you are able to stick to raft in rough water then only. Since I was in middle of Raft I could see the raft moving to 30-40 Degree angle and turning back with the force of water.
Once we crossed Good Morning Rapid, Our Guide allowed us to jump out of the raft in the middle of river and obviously with the help of Rope tightened around the raft.The experience of jumping out of the raft and flowing in river was an amazing experience for all of us. For 10 to 15 minutes we were in the river when Guide pulled us up one by one as there was Three Blind Mice waiting ahead for us. Ya-ah, Three Blind Mice is the name of one of most dangerous Rapids and we were heading towards it now.
I do not remember what happened while crossing Three Blind Mice, because we were not able to hear instructions from our Guide and everything happened so fast that we could not realize what we have done. I remember only one thing that there was a time when we just stopped acting and quietly balance our-selfs.
After Three Blind Mice we crossed some small rapids with good confidence.
Now the river was calm and we were quite in the raft for a while when our Guide broke the silence by saying that all of us can jump out of the raft without holding rope, Yes, totally free in the middle of river. Except one guy, all of us jumped one by one. This was like enjoyment till its extremes. In fraction of seconds we all headed towards different directions with the flow of water. There came a small rapid wherein we got into it, I mean its just foolish to put energy to avoid it. But we came out and all of us were bit shocked. For me it was an eye opener, I thought of trying some swimming skills here and it worked. But when I looked back couple of minutes later, I was alone in the deep middle of river and by now I was tired, neither I could see my friends nor the raft. Since very few people go for 26 KM rafting, there was no other raft passing by. I could see River Bank in Narrow valley where I thought I can stop, I started swimming towards the bank and believe me I got scared when I realized that I am not able swim at all because of the flow of the water but I kept trying. I blood stopped circulating as I heard Heavy Water Noise , I could make out that there is a big rapid ahead of me. I really don't know how I reached at River's bank But I could reach there well before the rapid. And couple of minutes later I saw another raft nearby and they could sense that I am trapped. They came forward and slowed down the Raft in the middle of river and then again I had to swim to reach them, but I could do so easily after a break of 5 minutes at the bank. But these 15 minutes were full of uncertainty, fear and danger to me.
After that we could catch our raft, when we headed towards another rapid called Golf Course, another big rapid. This was another amazing experience and by now all of us were use to such ups and downs and shocks, so enjoyed it thoroughly as it went up in 45 Degree smoothly and fell down with the double force. But this was the first rapid all of us enjoyed thoroughly. After this, jumping out of Raft continued, I am not sure whether so much of freedom all Guides provides. Flowing with Ganga water was an amazing experience.
Lot of other rapids such as Wall, Daniel's Dip, Sweet Sixteen, Club House, Black Money and Marine Drive etc also were amazing and and once we cross any rapid we all of us wanted to go back to enjoy it again but that was not possible.
Among all the rapid in this stretch, as per me, One Rapid deserve the mention is "Roller Coaster". Guys till now we had experienced 45 Degree Angle of raft, now we were heading towards completely new. It is the most difficult because you need to balance the raft as well as yourself. As it is Water Noise was too much. Suddenly we hit the rapid with lot of force and we went to 90 Degree angle in fraction of seconds and next moment it was other way round to come down. Story did not end here, Our raft turned back with the force of water and again moved to right direction with force of water flowing down, we were in this rapid for around 2 minutes and I don't remember how many times our raft lifted up to 90 Degree Angle. We all felt sense of achievement once we came out of it. We were lucky to witness another raft crossing Roller Coaster, I could not believe that I have crossed this rapid. The raft was in air for a while also.
We took a break for 15 minutes on the way where we got Maggi.
When we were 1 KM behind our destination (Ram Jhoola), our Guide again allowed us to jump out of the Raft. Since I knew that this is the last chance to enjoy the free float, I enjoyed it thoroughly and when we reached our destination I realised that it is too early as if we just started half an back whereas it was Four and Half long journey.
The overall experience of River Rafting brought me memorable experience and now I am looking forward for another one.