River Rafting In Rishikesh – All You Need To Know!

River Rafting in Rishikesh

Gear up to experience that adrenaline rush with white water rafting. The pious Ganges takes an adventurous turn when you meet it in Rishikesh. While the holy dip experience makes it sought after in Haridwar, it is rafting with which it is synonymous in Rishikesh. River Ganges originates from a place called Gangotri in Uttarakhand. It is a place in the snow-capped Himalayas in the northern part of India. From Gangotri, the Ganges takes numerous twists and turns and moves through various mountains to reach Rishikesh. There its water has the volume and the velocity desired for an exciting and adventurous rafting experience. Gushing rapids and amazing views can make river rafting in Rishikesh memorable.

After the visit of Beatles to the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, spiritual seekers from across the globe come to Rishikesh to seek solace. The gateway to the Ganges is popular as the “yoga capital of the world”. There are several ashrams where yoga and meditation classes take place. Along with this spiritual side, Rishikesh is gaining popularity for adventurous sports like white water rafting.

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Before getting into a detailed guide to river rafting in Rishikesh, it is essential to have an insight about what is rafting?

Rafting – A Thrilling, Adventurous Water Sport

Rafting is an adventure that offers unmatched thrill in the gushing rapids. People from around the world go places to experience this adventure. In-fact, Rishikesh also is very popular around the world for the rafting experience it offers. As the Ganges renders colossal scope for rafting, it undoubtedly is one of the best rafting destinations in India. It is not only the rapids that make the Ganges in Rishikesh the best place to go rafting, but it is also the beautiful and breath-taking surroundings that hold your heartbeats for that moment.
Are you ready to raft? Then it is important to know that Rishikesh rafting involves different grades, stretches and rapids. Read on to have a complete understanding of these varied classifications, before you take the plunge.

Rafting Grades

Rafting Grades

The white-water rafting experience in Rishikesh is truly enthralling. The rapids here are classified into 5 different grades. These grades are internationally recognised and are used to rate various rafting points.

  • Grade 1: Are you a first-time rafter? Looking for an easy and fun experience? Then, Grade 1 rapids can be perfect for you. These are the easiest among the other types of rapids and far less challenging as they are mostly in the plains. These rapids are easy to navigate and have mild streams. It is believed that crossing these rapids doesn’t involve much risk. It is suitable for rafters who are beginners and also non-swimmers. It doesn’t require much manoeuvring skills or techniques.
  • Grade 2: Perfect for novice rafters, trying this grade is like taking the fun and thrill to the next level. When rafting through this grade, you will experience some jolts and jerks as the main river does pass through slightly rocky terrain. This one can be somewhat challenging, but some rafting experience and navigation skills will work as an advantage. It is one of the popular grades among rafting enthusiasts.
  • Grade 3: Ready to experience some strenuous rapids of the Ganges and its tributaries? Then opt for this grade of river rafting in Rishikesh. The speed and size of the rapids are such that each time they hit the rocky surface, there is a white foamy appearance, which is why the rafting here is termed as white-water one. There are several rugged and rocky patches and it is the region where the river flows downward with speed. It does offer far more excitement and fun, but is equally challenging and will require the rafter to exhibit their cruising skills. These are rapids that need good precision of judgment to manoeuvre and are reasonably adventurous.
  • Grade 4: Graded high, these rapid points are profusely rushing as they can flip-flop the raft. This makes it advisable that only proficient rafters should try it. The rapids can be fearsome if you have not experienced rafting several times before. The level of challenge in this grade is completely different as in this region, the river flows downstream at a very high speed, and there are several rocky patches. You should try this grade only if you are well-versed with river rafting in Rishikesh.
  • Grade 5: These rapids are extremely dangerous and are only recommended for true rafting experts. The river cascades through extremely rocky patches with several sudden drops, so it is advisable for only experts and swimmers to venture into this grade. Along with high rapids, there are large whirlpools in this grade, which is why it is advisable to try it only under supervision, and you must also be proficient.
    There are numerous rapid points in Rishikesh, each with a unique name.

Naming Convention

Naming Convention

As this one is a detailed guide to river rafting in Rishikesh, below are the names of the different rafting grades.

  • Sweet Sixteen (Grade 1): If you are visiting with family or you are a first-time rafter, then Sweet Sixteen should be your grade. This rapid point is the most fascinating one in the list of its grade. This is a grade 1 rafting point. Here, the river passes through a shallow region and offers easy manoeuvring. Though, less challenging, it offers captivating views of the Ganges and can be perfect for anyone willing to try rafting.
  • Hilton & Terminator (Grade 2): This grade starts from Brahmapuri and ends at Ram Jhula. You will come across this rapid even during your visit to the Ram Jhula. Though there are some sharp turns and rocky terrains which you will pass while rafting through this grade, it is relatively safe. If you want an enthralling experience, then you should try Hilton & Terminator grade. Moreover, adding to the adventure is the body surfing and cliff jumping experience, which you can do during this grade. Enjoying water sports was never this easy!
  • Three Blind Mace (Grade 3): The thrill and fun are almost three-fold here. However, you should give it a try after having experienced grade 1 and 2. During this grade, the raft will pass through several sharp and rocky terrains. If you are a beginner wanting to try Three Blind Mace grade, then do it under supervision and guidance. Ideally, it is best to refrain from, if you are a first timer.
  • Cross Fire (Grade 3): Cruising through Cross Fire will be an experience for sure as you meet the Ganges in its full glory. In fact, there is a particular stretch which is daunting and strenuous to the core. This makes some prior rafting experience a must.
  • Roller Coaster (Grade 3 & 4): Offering the most amazing white water rafting experience, the Roller Coaster grade will be a lifetime memory. You will come across several frothy waves and rock formations, which will add to the fervour, the thrill. But this grade is also for rafters with prior experience.
  • Golf Course (Grade 3): With several uneven paths to trail, this one is challenging and fun. It will try your paddling skills as you cruise through uneven terrain and encounter high tides. If you have tried Grade 1 and 2 rafting, only then it is advisable to cruise through Golf Course.
  • The Wall (Grade 4): Even if you are an experienced rafter, you should go for the Wall rafting with some expert guide. With enthralling rapids awaiting you, it will be a test of your cruising skills for sure. It is challenging and involves several difficulties, so venture into the river through this grade with care.
  • Daniel’s Dip (Grade 5): Go for it if you have the experience and confidence of sailing through it. Moreover, the rest of your rafting team should also comprise of experts. You will need the skills and techniques to raft in Rishikesh during the Daniel Dip grade. It is alluring but opt for it after you consider the challenges that lie ahead.

Rafting Stretches

Rafting Stretches

The rafting grades mentioned above are divided into different stretches. Here is a list of stretches that you can choose from depending upon the level of rafting experience you have.

  • Brahampuri to Rishikesh
    This stretch offers great excitement and is suitable for all age groups. You can choose this stretch even if you have a complete family with kids. You will experience refreshing water splashes through the rafting stretch that will add to the thrilling adventure, which you will surely enjoy. This stretch has mostly grade 1 rapid, so if you are a novice or haven’t done rafting before, you can choose this stretch and enjoy the rafting experience. This stretch is about 9 kilometre-long, and it takes around 1.5 hours to cover it. The best time to go for it is from mid-September to the end of June.
  • Shivpuri to Rishikesh
    Offering a mix of excitement and thrill, there are some challenges which you will experience along with the fun. But if you are trying rafting for the first time and don’t know swimming, then it is best not to venture into the river from this stretch. The length of this stretch is almost 16 km and takes up to 3.5 hours to cover it. You can go rafting in this stretch from mid-September till the start of June.
  • Marine Drive to Rishikesh
    Go for this stretch if you wish to experience that elation and mesmerising views. Of course, you will miss a heartbeat or two here, but then the picturesque views will make it absolutely worth it. The sailing will be tough but worth every minute. Almost 24 km long, you will spend nearly 4.5 hours rafting in the Ganges when you opt for this stretch. You can go rafting in this stretch from the second week of September till the third week of May.
  • Kaudiyala to Rishikesh
    Embark on this stretch of river rafting in Rishikesh, if you are determined, have the experience and guts to face the river in its full glory. An experience of a lifetime, it can scare even the best of rafters. Moreover, it is almost 34 km long and will take you around 8 hours to cover it. This should give you an idea about the strength and expertise it will require. Moreover, it opens for rafting only from mid-October to mid-May.

The Rafting Season


You can go rafting in Rishikesh all year long except for the monsoon season. It is closed from 1st July to 15th September. But the peak rafting season is in the month of March. You can also enjoy rafting from mid-September till the start of December. Post that, during the peak winter months of December and January, rafting in the cold water does get difficult. Rest, you can follow the stretch wise advisory mentioned in the preceding section.

Safety Guidelines for Rafting

Are you all set to experience one of the best adventurous sports during your next visit to Rishikesh? Well, follow the guidelines and instructions that are shared by the raft camp. It is a team effort; hence it is required for every member to paddle throughout. Non-swimmers and minors should enjoy rafting but limit themselves to the first stretch and grade. Consider it one of the fun water sports, experience the adventure but ensure your safety. Wear the life-saving jacket properly, and avoid wearing loose clothing or sandals. It is important to dress appropriately before going for rafting. Further, avoid consuming alcohol or any other intoxicant before or during rafting.

Follow the above guidelines, know about the stretches and grades and have a wonderful rafting experience. It is one of the most exciting water sports. You can start it for fun but can go on to become a rafting enthusiast, wherein only the longest stretch will give you that adrenaline rush. Have a happy and safe rafting experience!

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Nishtha Gupta

A procrastinator by heart, who dreams of a utopian world. Allergic to coffee and scared of cows. Can zone-out whenever she wants to and a fan of unplanned trips. Trying to sail through life without making a fuss around her travel stories

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