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.
Rishikesh rafting packages
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.
White water rafting on the Ganga
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.
Rishikesh rafting: What to expect
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.
Toughest rapid in Rishikesh: The Wall
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.
Rishikesh rafting routes and their grades:
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.
River rafting in Rishikesh: Find your trip
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.
Best time for river rafting in Rishikesh
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.
What to wear for rafting in Rishikesh
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.
Adventure activities to do in Rishikesh
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.
Rafting in Rishikesh Summary
- State: Uttarakhand
- Nearest city: Dehradun
- Total days: 1-2 days
- Grade: Easy
- Max altitude: 1220 feet
- Total rafting distance: 9 to 32 km
- Season: Summer and winter
- Avg temperature: 9 to 36 degrees Celsius