Over the last few decades, Rishikesh has become one of the most popular adventure hubs in Uttarakhand. Two of the major rivers of India – the Ganga and the Yamuna – start from Uttarakhand, fed by glaciers and melting snow from peaks, and provide some of the best rafting stretches in the country.
Rishikesh, for decades an important spiritual destination for Hindus, is now also known as the gateway to the Himalayas, thanks to its convenient location. Rafting in Rishikesh is one of the most popular sports here, apart from bungee jumping, kayaking, and mountain-biking.
Every day, hordes of adventure seekers arrive in Rishikesh. The city has campsites set along the tributaries of the Ganga river. Camping in Rishikesh depends on your budget. You can stay in tents, cottages, or rooms. These packages usually involves all meals, a campfire in the evening, some on-site adventure activities, and a session of white water rafting. Find other adventures in our blog post, Top Adventures in Uttarakhand.
From Rishikesh, the Ganges leaves the Himalayas behind and begins its journey into the plains. The river is wide, green, and cold here, and has multiple different grades of rapids on offer. While rafting the Ganga, depending on the section of the river you choose, you can experience everything from the milder Grade I and II rapids, to the epic boiling stretch of the Grade IV rapids.
All the rafting stretches in Rishikesh offer you a fun session. You’ll be given a short briefing by the instructor, and then will strap on your gear and clamber aboard your raft. You’ll paddle out into the river, where you’ll quickly pick up the skills required to battle the rapids of the river. At the end of your session, you’ll be taken to the peaceful stretches, where you can paddle, take a dip, or try some cliff jumping.
The Wall is the most difficult and challenging rapid not only in Rishikesh but in India. This Grade IV+ rapid has very turbulent waves and drops, and is banned for beginner rafters. It requires tremendous precision, control, strength and team effort, and is usually only attempted by highly experienced rafters. The Wall is a part of the most challenging (and the longest) route for rafting in Rishikesh, the Kaudiyala to Rishikesh route.
Rafting in Rishikesh offers perfect rafting opportunities for everyone. There are few route options available for rafting on Ganga, each consisting of different grades of rapids.
The easiest stretch for river rafting in Rishikesh is from Brahmapuri to Rishikesh. It is a 9 km stretch, suitable for beginners and families with kids. The rapids in this stretch are mild, consisting of Grade II rapids.The next stretch is 16 km long, from Shivpuri to Rishikesh. This stretch is comparatively challenging and consists of Grade II and III rapids. This stretch is suitable for beginners looking for a challenge or for those who have already done some rafting.
The next stretch is a longer one, at 27 km, from Marine Drive to Rishikesh. This stretch offers rapids of Grade I, II, and III. It consists of 14 rapids and is perfect for rafters with some experience under their belt.
The fourth and longest stretch is Kaudiyala to Rishikesh. It is a 36 km long stretch consisting of Grade I, II, III and IV rapids. It also goes through one of the most difficult rapids in Rishikesh – The Wall (a Grade IV+ rapid). This is a long stretch requiring higher levels of endurance and skill, making it suitable only for experienced rafters.
Rishikesh rafting packages can be customized to suit your requirements. For families with young children, there are packages that are shorter, easier, and will cover fewer rapids. You can choose from the 9 km stretch (for families with kids), 16 kms stretch (good for beginners), or longer rafting packages like 24 or 32 kms. From the 16 kms stretch onwards, you’ll be meeting all the most famous rapids, like Double Trouble, Golf Course, Return to Sender, The Wall, and more.
Your Rishikesh rafting price depends on which route you choose and the type of stay you opt for. If you're looking just looking for a rafting session without an overnight stay, then the price ranges from INR 700 to 2500 per person.
Rishikesh rafting price for rafting plus stay packages range from INR 1000 to INR 5000, depending on the rafting route and the type of stay you choose. Remember to read the inclusions while booking your Rishikesh rafting packages as some budget operators do not provide blankets and sleeping bags.
The best season for rafting in Rishikesh is during the summer months of March, April and May, when the day is warm and the cold water is very refreshing. During the monsoon months, rafting might be closed on certain days. In the winter, many people come out to enjoy the chilly nights and go rafting in the cold water.
Rishikesh is a popular tourist destination in India, especially for various adventure activities. You can get there either by air, road or rail. The closest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun (about an hour’s drive away) with daily flights from Delhi and regular flights from other parts of the country.
The closest railway station is Haridwar (about 2 hrs drive away) which is connected to most major cities of India via a number of regular express trains. From the airport and the railway station, you can catch a bus or a taxi to reach Rishikesh.
There are also various state and privately run buses connecting Rishikesh to most major cities of North India.
For river rafting in Rishikesh, you need to wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothes like shorts, track pants, t-shirt, etc. Avoid wearing restrictive clothing and/or saree, skirts, heavily embellished apparel, etc. Do avoid slip-on shoes and slippers that can fall off while rafting.
Rishikesh is a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts all over the country as it offers various adventure activities apart from rafting. If you're visiting Rishikesh, you might want to consider treks like the famous Valley of Flowers trek, Chandrashila trek, Kedarkantha trek, Har Ki dun trek, Roop Kund trek, Rupin Pass trek, etc.
Another thing you can do in Rishikesh is bungee jumping. The bungee jump here is India's highest at 273 feet. You can also do a giant swing or flying fox while you're going for the bungy jump.
Today, you'll meet the operator at the pick-up point on the given time from where you'll be taken to the start point of the rafting session. You'll then be briefed about rafting and safety. After gearing up, you'll begin your rafting session on the gushing Ganges river. You'll end the rafting session after a couple of hours and then have lunch at Shivpuri. You'll then be dropped off to the drop-off point. The trip ends here.
Transportation from the pick-up point in Rishikesh to the start point for the rafting session and back | All necessary rafting gear like life jackets, helmet, paddle and wetsuits | Professional guide (in a safety kayak or raft) | Lunch | All applicable taxes.
Any meals other than those specified | Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature | Emergency evacuation charges | Any services or costs not mentioned in the inclusions.
Day 1: Check-in at the campsite
Day 2: Go rafting in Rishikesh
Today, you'll check-in at the campsite in the afternoon and spend the day relaxing at the campsite. You can either explore Rishikesh, hike to the nearby woods or just relax in your room. You can even participate in some campsite games. And at night, you'll sit around a bonfire (subject to weather conditions).
Today, you'll wake up, have breakfast and then check-out of the campsite. You'll then head to the start point of the Rishikesh rafting at Shivpuri. From there, you'll begin your rafting session. Your session will end after a couple of hours, after which you'll be dropped off at the drop-off point at NIM beach. The trip ends here.
Accommodation in twin/triple sharing deluxe Swiss tents | Attached washrooms (hot water on request in buckets) | Beds with soft mattresses, blanket and pillow | Ceiling fan and charging points in tents | All buffet meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 2 (all veg, with one non-veg option for dinner on day 1) | Evening snacks with bonfire | Morning and evening tea with cookies | Welcome drink | Bonfire | Adventure activities (choose any TWO per person): waterfall trek, rock-climbing, rappelling, tree jumarring, rope climbing, rope ladder, trust fall, body boarding On camp activities: Volleyball, football, badminton, cricket | All applicable taxes
Cost for rafting session, equipment, and guide | Transport support | Additional lunch (can be arranged for INR 400 per person) | 1 veg + 1 non veg snacks (can be arranged for INR 200 per person) | Unlimited soda and ice cubes during bonfire (can be arranged for INR 100 per person) | Insurance | Emergency rescue, medical charges due to any ailment and/or accidents | Personal expenses such as tips, packaged water, soft drinks, cigarettes, telephone expenses, etc. | Any other costs not mentioned in the inclusions.
The best time for river rafting in Rishikesh is during summer, from March to May. During these months, the days are warm and the water is refreshingly cool. The winter season is a great time for those who want to enjoy the chilly waters of the Ganges River. During the monsoons, rafting is closed.
The closest airport to Rishikesh is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun (about 1 hr drive away), and it is connected to Delhi via daily flights and to other major cities of India by frequent flights.
The nearest railway station is Haridwar (about 2 hrs drive away), connected to the major cities of India via a number of regular express trains.
During your Rishikesh rafting session, you should wear comfortable clothes which do not restrict your movement. Avoid wearing heavy clothing like denim jeans, or trailing clothes like sarees, dresses, skirts, etc. Avoid slip-on shoes or any footwear that might fall off.
All the Rishikesh rafting packages include all the equipment required for rafting like rafts, paddles, helmets and life jackets, so you don't need to carry any technical equipment for rafting in Rishikesh. However, you do need to carry comfortable clothes, footwear that won't fall off while rafting. Make sure your sunglasses/spectacles have a strap to hold them around your neck, and avoid wearing valuable jewellery.
You only require a basic level of fitness for rafting in Rishikesh, so even beginners and kids can go rafting on the Ganges River. However, if you have asthma, heart conditions, may be pregnant, or have knee, neck or back problems, you should avoid rafting. A short orientation is given by the instructor before the session and you'll be given life jackets and helmets while rafting.
No, even beginners are welcome to book a rafting package. You do not require any experience or special equipment for this. Your instructor will give you a short training session, and the operator will provide all the equipment you need.
There are grades ranging from Grade I to Grade IV on the Ganges river while rafting in Rishikesh. Grade I are easy level rapids that perfect for beginners and families with kids. As the grade increases so does the difficulty. Hence, Grade II is suitable for beginners and second timers; Grade III is perfect for experienced rafters looking for a challenge. The toughest, Grade IV is only suitable for highly experienced rafters as they require precise manoeuvres and endurance.
There are four routes you can choose from depending on your experience levels, these groups consist of different grades of rapids.The route from Brahmapuri to Rishikesh, is the shortest (9 km) and easiest route consisting of Grade I and II rapids. The next route from Shivpuri to Rishikesh is 16 km long, and is relatively challenging consisting of Grade II and III rapids. The third route is 27 km long, from Marine Drive to Rishikesh; this stretch is perfect for rafters with some experience under their belt as it consists of Grade I, II and III rapids. The toughest and longest route is 36 km long, from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh, and should only be done by rafters with high experience as it consists of Grade III and IV rapids, along with the Wall, a Grade IV+ rapid. Note that Rishikesh rafting price for your package will greatly depend on the route you opt for.
No, you don’t need to know swimming. Your operator will provide you with a life jacket which will keep you afloat. However, if you have a fear of water, it is not recommended that you go rafting.
You don’t need any special equipment for rafting. Your operator will provide you with everything you need. However, do make sure you’re dressed in light, quick-dry clothing. Avoid skirts, saris, dupattas, and denim or heavy trousers. You should avoid slip-on shoes, heels, or any footwear that might fall off. If you have spectacles or sunglasses, do make sure you have a strap to hold them around your neck.