A Detailed Guide to River Rafting in Rishikesh

A Detailed Guide to River Rafting in Rishikesh
Last Updated: September 13, 2019

Is white water River rafting the most in demand adventurous water sports in India? Truly speaking, YES! White water river rafting in Rishikesh has won several hearts from all around the world. Admirers of this adventure activity include not only domestic travellers but also international travellers from Japan, Korea and European countries. It is true that today it has even captured the itinerary of leisure travellers, which can be categorized into students, families, and corporate travellers. Rafting in Rishikesh has further boosted Uttarakhand Tourism with several other activities along with it. With the increasing number of adventurers participating in whitewater river expeditions in Rishikesh, the adventure tourism in Uttarakhand has set up a number of beach camps and forest camps for the convenience of tourists camping in Rishikesh. That sounds a perfect holiday in the foothill town of the Garhwal Himalaya, Rishikesh, which is also popular for its pilgrimages and yoga centers.

The main stretch of White Water River Adventure in Rishikesh – Kaudiyala to Rishikesh


The main course of white water rafting in Rishikesh commences from Kaudiyala, which is approximately 40 kilometers up by road from Rishikesh. If you are travelling on a boat from Kaudiyala to Laxman Jhula in Rishikesh, the distance is 36 kilometers. The winding and splashing course with several whirlpools pass through popular sandy beaches like Byasi, Marine Drive, Shivpuri, and Brahmpuri. Irregular waves, rocks and many other obstacles await you when you are participating in white water rafting in the Ganges. The course includes 13 major and challenging rapids that ranges from grade II and III to IV+ with the prominent ones being Denial Dip, The Wall, Black Money, Cross Fire, Three Blind Mice, Return to Sender, Roller Coaster, Golf Course, Club House, Double Trouble, Hilton and Terminator.

The grades of major Rapids on the stretch from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh

From the popular 13 major rapids in Rishikesh, the Denial Dip and The Wall ranges from grade III to IV+; Sweet Sixteen, Black Money, Cross Fire and Three Blind Mice ranges from grade II to III+; Return to Sender, Roller Coaster, Golf Course and Club House ranges from grade II to III+ whereas Double Trouble, Hilton and Terminator ranges from grade I to II+ and are easy to tackle.

How much time it takes to cover the whole stretch from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh?

Rafting in Rishikesh from Kaudiyala to Laxman Jhula is not an easy task, especially the stretch from Kaudiyala to Marine Drive. To cover the whole stretch in one day you need to be an expert. It takes approximately 8-9 hours combating all the 13 major rapids and other obstacles.

The main course that commences from Kaudiyala to Laxman Jhula is divided into four short stretches:

Kaudiyala to Marine Drive


The first stretch, which is approximately 9-10 kilometers and takes about 3 hours of deadly row, is from Kaudiyala to Marine Drive and combats some of the major rapids ranging from grade III to IV+. Some of the popular rapids on this stretch are Sweet Sixteen, Denial Dip and The Great Wall.

Marine Drive to Shivpuri


The second stretch of 11 kilometers takes approximately 2-3 hours and is from Marine Drive to Shivpuri. Some of the popular rapids that you will be tackling in this stretch include Black Money, Cross Fire and Three Blind Mice that ranges from grade II to III+.

Shivpuri to Brahmpuri


The third stretch from Shivpuri to Brahmpuri that covers a distance of another 10-11 kilometers and takes approximately 2-3 hours combats rapids similar to rapids of the Marine Drive to Shivpuri stretch. The major rapids on this stretch are Return to Sender, Roller Coaster, Golf Course and Club House.

Brahmpuri to Rishikesh


The final stretch from Brahmpuri to Rishikesh, which is also the easiest, throws rapids like Double Trouble, Hilton and Terminator, which ranges from grade I to II+, at you.

When is the best time to go for Rafting Adventure in Rishikesh?

Except monsoon, which stretches from mid June to September, water rafting in Rishikesh is in huge demand. The months of February, March, April, May, October and November witness the highest number of rafters onverging here from all over the world. It is during these months when several rafting expeditions take place.

What are the other activities that you can enjoy in Rishikesh?

Being a participant in an adventure holiday in Rishikesh, one is obviously going to go for activities like camping, bungee jumping, fox flying, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, rappelling, rock climbing AND yoga and meditation. Further, while camping in Rishikesh one can also indulge in sports like volleyball, badminton and cricket and team games like raft building (with bamboo sticks), musical chair, passing the ball and go as you like. Such activities inside the camp allow you to get familiar with other groups.

What are the other attractions in and around Rishikesh?

There are many ashrams in Rishikesh where you can learn the basic course of meditation and yoga. Further, the major tourist attractions in Rishikesh are the Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula and temples like Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Kunjapuri Temple, Parmarth Niketan Temple, Bharat Mandir, Tera Manzil Temple and Rishikund Tank and Raghunath Temple.

Haridwar, which is one of the most sacred towns in India and known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalaya’, is approximately 24 kilometers away from Rishikesh, whereas hill stations like Nainital is approximately 220 kilometers, Ranikhet is 276 kilometers, Kausani is 279 kilometers, Almora is 334 and Mussoorie is 75 kilometers from the city. The capital city, Dehradun, is approximately 45 kilometers away from Rishikesh. The Jim Corbett National Park, which is home to several endangered wildlife, is approximately 210 kilometers away from Rishikesh.

How to pick a River Rafting Package in Rishikesh?

The first and foremost thing to consider is whether the package actually includes all the activities that you are looking to participate in. If you are an adventurous person then there are several white water river rafting adventure packages that includes activities like bungee jumping, body surfing, cliff diving, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing and rappelling. Further, if you are looking for a weekend break then there are many 1 night 2 days packages in Rishikesh that includes activities like rafting, camping, cliff diving, body surfing, meditation and temple tour. Packages in Rishikesh are also divided according to the taste of a rafter who seeks for a particular stretch. There are overnight packages like rafting from Marine Drive to Shivpuri, from Shivpuri to Brahmpuri and from Brahmpuri to Laxman Jhula. Someone with family may go for family river rafting packages, while corporate travellers may go for corporate rafting packages. Then there are rafting packages for students as well.

How to reach Rishikesh?

Rishikesh is approximately 24 kilometers away from Haridwar, which is the nearest railway station. This station connects Rishikesh to all the major cities in India. Trains like Doon Express from Howrah connects Rishikesh to Kolkata via Haridwar, Shatabdi Express from New Delhi to Dehradun via Haridwar connects Rishikesh with New Delhi, Dehradun Express from Bandra, Mumbai, connects Rishikesh with Mumbai. Further, Rishikesh can also be reached by road from nearby cities like New Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kanpur.

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Published: 19 Feb, 2014
Arun Joshi


Having an experience of more than 16 yrs in the Himalayas, Arun is the main driving force & mentor at the Peak Adventure Tours, a leading adventure travel agency in India offers trekking tours in Indian Himalayas including Nepal, Bhutan & Tibet. A long history with exceptional experiences he is the “Marathon Man” in the field of adventure. Today Arun looks after the Peak Adventure and shapes & designs the venture of the organization. He is contributing to this blog as a regular guest author.

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