Monday, December 27, 2010

River Rafting and Cliff Jumping @ Rishikesh Ganga Ji

Lots of speculations about water temperature and cold windy weather in Ganga River, five of us, excluding Prachi G, encountered 26KM Long River rafting. Water that day was extremely clear with green colour like a wide sheet of green grass. Since I had done river rafting earlier, I was not much worried about it other than cold freezing water.

I sat on right front, Sudhir on left front and Prachi K (Birthday Girl) in middle front holding rope tightly. We crossed first rapid and I sensed that low water level will make our rafting easier and less thrilling.

We encountered second rapid. Water took the raft up from left side and Sudhir could lock his feet and fell on me with force. It was unexpected and I fell off the raft in the middle of solid rapid in seconds. Sudhir was able to hold the rope on my side. The moment I fell into the water, freezing water made it very hard to breath. I saw another raft on small distance and moved towards them. I waited for our raft and jumped immediately into it. Water was around 5 degree C and there were only two rafts in entire Ganga River.

River was very calm and our raft moved slowly. All of us were quietly enjoying the calmness of river and beautiful valleys around Ganga except me who was shivering and my teeth were creating small noise for me like stain gun.

My dive into River
In some of the places clarity of water and sun rays helped us to see the surface of river.

We crossed few rapids and then our guides allowed us to jump off the raft. They clicked lots of beautiful pictures for us.

Cliff Jumping was an agenda on the way. So we stopped at the place. I opted for first to jump. I went up to the Cliff and looked down. The entire fear of Bungee Jumping got restored. Moreover this is free fall into the water. Paused for few seconds, looked straight and jumped. Water hit hard on my hands. Rest was thrill to do this. I could not think of doing this again because my hands were paining. Second went Sudhir, as usual jumped fearlessly. All others did not opt for this.

My Cliff Jump..deep into Freezing water of Ganga ma
Rapids like roller coaster, marine drive and golf course seemed less thrilling because of low water level. But sitting in front and watching each and every moment of water was an experience to count. The best thing was Golf course with small ups and downs. And view looked like a mesh of countless small hills spread over river.
The rafting ended unexpectedly at a strange place. But we thoroughly enjoyed this experience.

We reached back at Resort, ate Lunch and headed towards Delhi. All of us were quite in cab and driver asked curiously “Is River rafting so tiring?” But I think the quietness was because we were ending a great trip. All of us would never want such trips to come to an end.

After a small stop over at Rishikesh, we drove back to Delhi and reached Delhi midnight.

I wish such trips come again and again wherein I overcame the fear, encountered new things and above all I made new friends forever. A big Thanks to Anurag, Sudhir, Jason, Prachi K, Prachi G and Tanay, you all are superb company to make such trips lifetime memories.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox and Evening Aarti @ Rishikesh

Wow!! This was the most happening day. We started late but we did everything full of thrill this day.

We reached Bungee Jumping venue an hour late. With some formalities in their office, we moved to Bungee Jumping platform. Since it is normal to give lot of thought about such adventurous activity before conquering it, I had clearly decided to not to think about anything till the time I reach at jumping platform. I was very much successful in controlling my thoughts to that extent.

Birthday boy Jason opted for first jump and I opted for second turn. Platform has a passage of around 60 meters and Crew allow two people at a time to go up to jumping platform. Jason and I reached at platform. That was the time when I realized about what I am conquering today. Music lifted my heart beat a bit. First Jason was put on all Harness and locks and was asked to move ahead. He sat for a while when harness and all locks etc were put on to me as well.

I looked at Jason and he looked bit nervous to me. That added more spice into what I was undergoing. He was asked to move till the end of platform and Crew guy told something to him and he jumped smoothly. I heard some voice and I could sense that now he is enjoying it.

Hardly half a minute and Crew asked me to come forward and sit for a while. Two Crew guys cross checked all the locks three times each and then I was asked to stand up and move forward slowly towards the edge of platform.

Me & Anurag after Bungee Jumping
The experience after that showed completely different aspect of my personality. As I started moving forward towards end of platform I started shivering badly. By that time Prachi K was already there on platform for her turn. I kept saying to Crew that I am shivering, they ignored it and kept asking me to keep moving ahead slowly. Somehow I managed to reach the edge of platform and stood there for a while tried to clam down myself. I was unable to control shivering in my legs and most importantly my mind did not support me to jump.

A Crew guy played most important role. He told me that say that “I have come here to Jump” “I am going to Jump”, “I am not going back”. I kept doing what he asked me to do.

After few seconds, I asked him to start countdown and I jumped.

A Free fall and your mouth is just open and you see yourself falling down extremely fast. Then in few seconds you get a smooth shock of rope and gets a rebound towards upper side and then second and third. It is all about thirty seconds and you are done. By the time I stabilised in Air, I was shouting and I was really happy that I did not give up.

After me, Prachi K and Prachi G jumped. One jumped with some motivation and other irritated the crew so much that she jumped with the help of small push from crew.

Then came the stud, Sudhir. It was first time for him as well. But he is a true champ. Crew asked him “Is it first time?” He said “Yes, that’s why I want the best”. What a spirit!! So unlike me he took few seconds and jumped with the help of Arms on the edge of platform and Legs lifted up in Air with the help of crew. What a jump it was.

Last one in our team was Anurag. He was the only one who had done this earlier. This time he jumped backward. Wearing a T Shirt of Superman he did all the possible comedy stunts in Air. It was really great to watch him.

After doing Bungee Jumping we went for Flying Fox. Flying Fox is like a cable car without any cabin. We did not find it more thrilling than Bungee Jumping.

Evening Aarti at Rishikesh Ghaat took all of us to trans. After an adventurous day, worship of Ganga Ji took us to the different world.

Most happening day ended with good things and most importantly thoughts.

All you guys in team made it amazing adventure. Thank you Anurag, Prachi K, Prachi G, Sudhir, Jason and Tanay.

Jim Corbett to Rishikesh - A drive through Elephant prone Jungles

The day started with Tanay’s leaving back to Delhi in the middle of the trip due to some urgency at work.

Few pool table games and we moved towards Rishikesh. The plan was to attend evening Aarti at Haridwar and then leave to Rishikesh. But our as usual habit to start late made us unable to attend Aarti. So we drove towards Rishikesh.

Lakhan waiting for us outside a Dhaba
during Lunch
We reached Rishikesh at 7:00 PM. We had to cross Rajaji National Park which has lot of elephants. At the entry, we were warned by guards about elephants and were advised not to cross that area in dark as there are more chances of encountering elephants, but we had no choice than to drive through. Everyone was looking at road continuously out of fear and hilly terrains made it more thrilling as nobody knew what is there ahead of us. Our driver (Lakhan) drove Innova carefully and he was very much afraid, infact more than anyone else.

Three buffalos were sitting on the side of the road. The moment they came under Innova’s headlight, everyone for a while was stun. Everyone thought of Elephants sitting on road but thank god it was not.

We reached at Resort by 8:00 PM. Weather was extremely cold. The Resort Phool Chatti, around 15 KM away from Rishikesh town, is situated on the bank of a small tributary river and is a very calm place.

All of us stuck to bonfire because of extremely cold weather. Anurag and Prachi K left to Rishikesh to receive Jason, another friend and Birthday Boy from Mumbai joining us for rest of the trip.

The day ended with lot of gossips and funny things while sitting around bonfire.

We all slept in a wait of the most thrilling day which was just few hours away from us.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jim Corbett National Park - A jeep Safari

The idea started with exploring Jim Corbett National Park and then some adventure activities at Rishikesh with bikes, couple of months back. Extremely chilled weather of northern India gave us clear indications that biking will spoil the thrill of entire trip. So the final plan came out with a travel via cab.
The team of six people, Anurag, Tanay, Sudhir, Prachi K, Prachi G and me were ready for thrilling and adventurous trip. Prachi K and Prach G joined us from Mumbai, Sudhir from Indore and rest three from Delhi.

Day 1 – Jim Corbett National Park

We started the day early so as to reach at Jim Corbett by Lunch time and then go for Jeep Safari inside the park. Since some of us were new to each others, travelling was full of interactions and fun. Crossing rough highways, congested towns and overtaking slow moving Sugarcane tractors we arrived almost on time at Resort.

Corbett Wood Resort is situated in Dhela village, which is very close to Jim Corbett National Park. The resort is in the middle of green paddy fields and view of Swiss tents in valley of Himalayas looks very soothing to eyes. Everyone was charged up with the classic place to stay despite long and tiring travel from Delhi to Jim Corbett. As we were running out of time, we ate lunch in hurry and headed towards Jeep Safari.

An open Gypsy takes tourists inside the Jim Corbett Park as they are the only licensed operators for Jeep Safari. A government authorised guide accompanied us for the ride. As we entered the park, guide started telling us some data about animals inside the park. I was not so keen to hear but one thing I remember that Jim Corbett has 164 Tigers. We did not see anything other than dust, some deer, monkeys, a pig and birds. I was not disappointed much because this is what I was expecting. But we all enjoyed Gypsy ride a lot and lots of photographs with funny faces.

The day did not end here. Pool table was the next attraction for all of us. Two teams played couple of matches with Anurag and Sudhir on one side and Prachi K and me on the other. We won first game because of a mistake by Sudhir wherein he pushed Black ball into the pot, and we (Prachi K and I) labelled our team as “Winning Combination”. Next five matches we lost badly. But Prachi K was not at all willing to end the series on loosing note. And finally we won last match because of Prachi’s determination to win. And “Winning Combination” tag stayed for the entire trip.

We ended the day with bonfire and peace all around. There were not much of the talks and everyone was just enjoying that time wherein one feel its presence in big way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 Gurgaon Half Marathon - Awesome experience in Chilled weather

5th Dec 2010, Gurgaon Half Marathon, couple of days after Delhi Half Marathon, I was waiting for this eagerly as chilling weather was exciting me to conquer this marathon with personal best.

Finally the day arrived, as the race was to start at 7:00 AM I reached ground zero one hour earlier to get warmed up for the run. Unlike Delhi marathon this event was small with around 200 people running for half marathon and approximately 50 people for full marathon.

Well deserved warm up session and race started on time. As the weather was too cold with temperature of around 15 Degree Celsius,I immediately accelerated my speed and started running at second position. I knew that I lost on speed in Delhi Half Marathon wherein I had to slow down the pace after 7KM, so I ensured that I keep the pace under control which I need to sustain till I finish 21 KM.

All the runners were much behind me till 4 KM and runner running at first position was too ahead, so I was almost running alone for sometime.

Uphill stretch after 4 KM

By the time I finished first 4KM I was well ahead of my target time but I knew that the pace is not sustainable till last mile. Marginal uphill stretch after 4 KM forced me to slowdown my speed little bit and then I could hear some noise behind me. There was a couple (foreigner) behind me and chatting continuously. I was wondering about their stamina, they were really amazing and slowly they overtook me well before 5KM. I tried my level best to match my speed with them, overtook them once but it was not sustainable for me, so they ran much ahead of me.

Cool weather and fantastic route

December month in Northern India becomes quite chilled and the same was experienced on this day in Gurgaon as well. So this was the time to do best in marathon and enjoy the run. The route was on the outskirts of Gurgaon city (which I had never seen before), the road in the middle of fields and villages with marginal steeps and downhill run. The route was completely uncrowded and participants were also scattered everywhere on route.

First half of the run

The route was 5.5 KM and we had to cover this stretch twice to make it 21 KM. By the time I finished first 10KM I was able to sustain a pace and I knew I am going to run at this pace till end. Now more than 5 runners had overtaken me. But  I really enjoyed this marathon as all participants were cheering up each others and motivating people to stretch more.

Marathon Man -Dr Roy running his 107th Marathon at age of 78 years

I met an old man who was running his 107th marathon at the age of 78 years. He was running for full marathon which is 42 KM. His spirit motivated me a lot and I just stopped and said him "Dr Roy You are source of motivation for me". I found him really a jolly and lively man who has immense mental and physical  strength. I really admire him for what he has done at the age of 78 years.

Finished Half Marathon

By the time I was about to complete my half marathon I started feeling pain in feet but I did not let that pain dominate my speed and I finished 21 KM run well within my target and actual time I took was 1 hours 58 minutes. My Delhi Marathon timing was 2 hours 6 minutes and this time I had decided to bring it below 2 hours.

What Next

Running for me has become an integral part of my life. It not only gives immense pleasure but makes one physically and mentally strong. My next marathon target would be to finish the run in 1 hours 40 minutes. Lets wait and watch what comes next.


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