Ride to Rishikesh and Thrill of a lifetime!

So, long time no long ride? It was time for one. Although the weather right now is hot enough to plan for a long ride but I guess weather is one of the excuses we just don’t want to execute our plans which we always keep making. Anyways, I knew where I had to go next and what I had to do next. The plan was to go to Shivpuri, 15km ahead of Rishikesh which will be almost 293km from Gurgaon. I had only two days of weekend so I had to leave very early on Saturday morning (16th May) and be back by Sunday evening by sunset. It’s an almost 6 hours ride from Gurgaon. All I knew this time was that I had to do river rafting there and stay in one of those camps places. So made a booking before leaving and I negotiated it to Rs. 1400 which included a night’s stay in tents , river rafting and food.
So as planned, I did not wake up on time of 4 am and managed to start my ride at 5:20am. Route was basically NH58 via Ghaziabad, Meerut, Roorkee, Haridwar and Rishikesh. While on Meerut bypass, the roads are not so great for some time and I faced lot of truck traffic. Covering 111km by 7:15am I decided to stop for breakfast at one of the dhabas alongside the highway.

I didn’t want to stop frequently just to take pics although the road offered some good green views. Still during the pee/hydration breaks I clicked some pics.

At about 10:10am I was almost 30km from Rishikesh. I faced lot of traffic towards Rishikesh.

This is called as ‘Vikram’, the share auto in UP/UK and other North Indian states.

But the road from Rishikesh to Shivpuri is full of curves and its butter smooth so it was a treat to ride.

After asking my way around for sometime in Shivpuri I reached my camp at 11:20am. I talked to the guy there and he told me that I can join for rafting after lunch. So I clicked some pics around of the beautiful view and the beautiful bike :P

As you can see the camp is right next to the river. The water flow was strong as it had rained in last few days. I came to know through locals that few people died just last week of my visit, not during rafting but because of not following the safety instructions of not to go in deep waters. Sad that people don’t respect safety instructions and their holidays turn into last place they will ever visit.
So on our turn of rafting, we geared up for it and were given safety and other instructions during rafting. I was really excited for this. There were two guides also in our raft. I managed to make an amateur video of this.

But honestly this video doesn’t capture the complete essence of the experience of rafting. While moving through the rapids which were of Grade 3, water was so rough you could almost fall out of the raft. But you keep going and when you look back at the strong waves just to feel good and strong. After sometime during rafting I saw lot of crowd at one paricular place near river and I found the guides are taking our raft to the sides. On being asked why are we stopping here I was told that you can enjoy cliff jumping here (which you saw towards the end in the video above). But one thing here really amused me. You are trying to have your bit of adventure and fun here and here we are all of a sudden having tea maggi biscuits! I thought who thinks of having maggi while  you are in middle of river rafting! I told myself give these people a stall of butter chicken right now and it will sell. I jumped from the mini cliff and waited for others to come while they finished their tea and maggi.

So after few more minutes of rafting we reached the end point which is just before the Ram Jhoola. From here their vehicle will take you back to the camp. We did 16km of rafting for over an hour.

So we reached back at camp by around 5:45 pm. Now I decided to have a tea and Maggi :p

But I also wanted to see the arti at Triveni ghat in Rishikesh. If you know me personally you must be wondering why I would want to see the arti as I am not a religious person. But I wanted to experience the scale and drama behind it and so I decided to check it out. I had to leave by 6:30 as the arti was supposed to start by 7pm. The ride from camp to Rishikesh was so beautiful and I ended up riding towards the sunset J

Triveni Ghat is not very huge like one of those in Haridwar or Varanasi and the arti here also is not performed on that grand scale. I reached just in time for the arti and saw the temple folks performing the rituals and chanting the prayers for majestic Ganges.

I found some people talking and explaining about religion to other people. That looked interesting and so I stopped to hear what they have to say.

I think he was talking in very layman’s words to make the other old man understand what is god and soul and stuff. Nevertheless, it was interesting but became boring after a while.

So I rode back slowly to the camp as it had become dark. Had dinner and relaxed by the riverside for sometime. What peaceful moment and experience. After so long I got the chance to see so many stars in the sky. Cool breeze, sky full of stars, and sound of river, was good enough to refresh your mind. Honestly I go to places just for this small moment of peace of mind which nature in purity can offer you.
Seeing me sitting alone, some guys came to me and started talking. They were obviously drunk. And asked me why I am alone. I said just like that and I enjoy this peace and looking at the stars. To this he had to say that I must be heartbroken by a breakup or something and that’s why I am sitting alone :P. When he came to know that I have ridden all the way from Gurgaon to this place he was shocked. Asked me why? I said because I like riding. He was still shocked.
As I had tweeted, Indians are funny that they come to such peaceful places to escape from the city chaos and I found people playing loud Honey Singh music til 1 am at night. Spoils the whole purpose right? But friends together have fun anywhere and everywhere so I don’t complaint. Was tired enough to fall asleep even with the loud music.
I see a flash of light from the mobile phone and I found some guys entering my tent and they were drunk. At 2:30am in the night, that guy said “BHAI TU BIKE CHALA K AAYA HAI!!? GURGAON SE? BHAI YE LE MOUNTAIN DEW DARR K AAGE JEET”. Mountain Dew, at 2:30 am in the night, after waking me up from deep sleep. I said no please let me sleep. Thankfully they all left quietly. Next morning I came to know that the guy who offered me Mountain Dew was the one I had to share the tent with :P

Next morning I woke up fresh. Some more pics :

Took a relaxing bath in this makeshift pond:

The only thing which spoils the beauty of such places are naked men running around in wet underwears. Before I move to the next day I would like to give some details about the place. You should be prepared to sleep in a tent like this:

Toilets are not so great but not very dirty either. And this becomes your mini washroom:

There were no mosquitoes during the night to disturb your sleep.

So now the plan was to go for bungee jumping. I thought I can get done with it by 12noon and then start my ride back. The jumping point was about 16km away where the company called Jumping Heights runs the bungee jumping in Rishikesh. As you go towards JH the roads are mixed. First good roads, then bad, and then suddenly you will find the place so green and nice roads it almost reminded me of my ride to Munnar .

Riding through the traffic in the bad and narrow roads I reached the JH office at about 9:30am in morning only to know that I will have to wait for almost 3 hours for my turn to jump.
This was not a good news but I thought I have come this far not to go empty handed. So for entry you have to pay Rs. 100, to wait in their cafeteria. They have installed TV screens where you can watch other people jumping (and getting scared). I also talked to staff to bring my turn for jump a little earlier. After waiting for 45 mins , which was earlier than I expected I was called to fill the form. You already know which one. To be honest I was more excited than being scared and couldn’t wait to do the jump. You can deposit all the wallet and stuff at the reception and they make you walk 200m down the road to the jump station where you have to wait further for your turn to come. You are categorized based on your weight and if you are above 110kg then you are not allowed to jump.

From the waiting area you can see and hear other people jumping people around me were all scared and laughing with fear. So after waiting for 30 mins or so my turn finally come. The jump masters were from New Zealand they did the harness on me and told me the right way to jump. Also there are two ways to do the jump, either you can look down and get scared and delay the jump, or stay calm and focused and just do it. Before the jump me and jump master had a small chat about bikes. Too bad they don’t allow any camera or stuff with you while jumping otherwise I could have recorded the jump footage on my action cam. Anyways, here is the video of the most extreme, most fun, most adventurous thing I have ever done in my life

I think it was amazing to do this. You overcome fear. You feel like a winner. Bungee jump is very safe contrary to many people think. The ropes are changed after their life cycles. There are many checks for the harnesses and other safety measures. Still if you think there are 0.1% chances of any mishap, then I guess you should not step out of your house itself.
After the jump two guys waiting for you to come down they make you lie on a bed. They undo the harness while the blood flow in your body settles down. They gave me a water bottle and this badge!

I think now was the most difficult part of this whole thing. You have to trek back to the office which will take about 20 mins with breaks. Breaks because the climb is damn high and damn hard trek to do. Plus the heat made it more difficult. Nevertheless, I was feeling fine by the time I reached back at the cafeteria. Bungee jump costs Rs. 3000 and you have to pay Rs. 750 more if you want the video.

It was exactly 12noon when I was ready to ride after I came out. So I was still on track as per my plan. So started riding back only to find the traffic jams at every 25km or so because it seemed like whole of Delhi was on the road returning back to their homes from Rishikesh. My speed was drastically reduced and I covered just 58km in 2 hours. At 2:30pm I spotted a CCD and stopped for refreshments. Even after that I continued getting traffic jams every now and then which kept me speed slow. Once I hit the toll road I kept moving at 110-120kmph to make up for the lost time.  After few breaks for hydration (must try the shikanji) and as I entered Delhi, I got lost for a while as I am still new to roads here. But was able to reach home by 7:30pm.

You might ask. Why ride? It’s so hot outside just book an a/c car or something and go in comfort. I will say you are right. A/c car is more comfortable for sure. But riding gives me a feeling of doing the thing yourself. For me, there is no sense of achievement when a closed cabin with four wheels carries you to a particular place. However riding a motorcycle makes gives you a sense of achievement and a feeling of winning because you overcome all the tough conditions, which you come across on the way and you beat them to reach your destination. Then it’s just you and your motorcycle celebrating the journey. As they always say, it’s more about the journey than the destination.

So keep riding and ride safe.
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  1. pls don't eat maggis. Maggis has lead. lead is used to makes pencils.

  2. Nice article! Brought up my memories when I visited these places... I am just curious how did you manage to make a video while rafting? They surely don't allow it, as far as I can recollect. ;)

    1. Thanks! I used my action cam (similar to Gopro) which was strapped to my hand. Check out this blog soon for more stories.

  3. Amazing article. video brought chills down the spine...