December 22nd, 2017 marked the beginning of a fabulous trip from Jaipur to Rishikesh, Chopta and Tungnath. Convincing my parents to let me go was a big task… it took so much of efforts and some extra phone calls from the faculty. When I got it I had these little butterflies fluttering with excitement in my stomach.
This is about the time I was learning photography @TGC animation, they organised this camping, rafting and trekking trip. The trip was all about photography, adventure, fun and learning. It was a group of about 50 people including faculties. I would like to start with the very beginning i.e. from the preparations for the trip.
It was hell cold in Rishikesh and even colder in Chopta with the temperature as low as -5 degrees. We were not to take too much of luggage as we may have to trek with the luggage. Still girls being girl, we filled up our rucksacks (trekking bags). Truly reaching there we didn’t need that many cloths except if you get wet near the river banks 😂😂😂
So what are the essentials….
- Rucksack bag (waterproof)
- Power Bank
- Windcheater and required woollens
- Waterproof jacket with waterproof pyjama
- Thermal wear and comfortable clothing
- Woollen socks, cap and gloves
- Trekking shoes and flip flops
- First Aid Kit and medicines
- Undergarments and small towel
- Toilet Roll or tissues, paper soap
- Mouthwash (recommended in chopta)
- Some energy giving snacks like granola bars, seed crunch, dry nuts, instant foods and a hot water bottle
- Instead of sunscreen take Vaseline petroleum jelly… (too cold..sunscreen not effective)
- Torch with extra battery
- Matchbox or lighter for camp fire
- Extra plastic bags
With our bags packed, we head to our campus where our Bus ride was waiting for us. We were supposed to leave by 3 but as per Indian standard timing, we started at 4:30. lol!! I took my best friend Apurva and her friend Shivani also with us. We all were so excited, dropped off by our dear friends till TGC. So taking God’s name we started.
On the way to Rishikesh, Shivani was sleeping the whole journey….how can someone sleep so much. Apurva busy with her music and we played Dum sharas. Its a game where you give a movie name, the person have to act and tell the name, other team members need to identify the name of the movie. It was so much fun. Afterwards we three started singing songs. It was such a joyous journey full of fervor.
We stopped to have our Dinner at The Old Rao Hotel, Gurgaun… It was a pretty big space with budget dinner and tasty too. Having done that… we again proceed towards Rishikesh with tea halts in between. We reached Rishikesh early morning around 5’o clock and our bus stopped near Ganga ghat… we went there till our local ride for camps arrived.
As we came out of bus… it was so chilly.. cold breeze… amazing weather.. we also saw lots of local vendors selling warm clothes and some eatables like popcorn, makka… It was really amazing. Bought some popcorns, went towards ghat and enjoyed the serene waters, took some pictures. It was so amazing view but could not stay as our ride arrived and we head toward our camp. We were really impatient and wanted to reach the camp soon.
Reaching the camp in approx 2 hrs, we just had time to refresh, change clothes and have brunch. We had to leave for rafting. I know Winters, chilly winds and super cold ganga water… we all were insane.. but let me tell you, it was totally worth it. You know what we thought, we will take a bath but the chilling weather and ice cold water, changed our mind. So we got refreshed, changed clothes and went to river side.
Yes our camps were near riverside, yuhuuu…. It was beautiful place… with ripling sounds of the water, flowing river, surrounded with mountains… it was amazing. Took some nice pictures and people started calling we need to leave and we left for the rafting location. Meanwhile on the riverbanks, shivani slipped and her clothes were wet (Time for making the use of extra packing I did). Apurva & Shivani were too scared to do rafting and it took lots of efforts to convince them.
We reached rafting location, put on our gears (lifejacket, helmets and rafting paddles). Our guide give us some first hand tips on what not to do during rafting and say out load “Ganga maiya ki jai”….
We get on our rafts and lessons on basic back and forth motion, paddling together, getting inside the raft, what to do if rafts turn upside down started. Scaring apurva about raft getting flipped, getting down in water… everyone was making fun. :p We start with the rapids and she gets more scared.
After few rapids, our guide said, we can get into water, half of us (including me of course) jumped into the water… It was ice cold… oh gosh… my body felt like it froze. Nevertheless a must do thing for sure. Ganges is considered holy and also is said to have medicinal and soul purifying properties. After like 10- 15 minutes, we again came on the raft and 2 people had to pull me up. hehehheh… side effects of heavy weight.
Now I wanted to be in the front while rowing in the rapids, so places exchanged. And so I had the last laugh, and did it quite nicely. They actually named each rapid and it was fun but literally water pressure is so strong rowing becomes too difficult. It was amazing, if you don’t row well, your raft may get flipped. So follow the guide and do exactly as he says.
We got through all the rapids safely and then came the time where we can jump from the cliff in the water. As always I am ready for such sports. Apurva and shivani refused…hehe… I went on the cliff and for few seconds i was scared. Jumping into the water from height and you dont know how to swim…thats scary.
The guide gave me a push and off I go in the river………whooooooshhh…. It was amazing…truly. One of my friends took me to the cliff again, and we jumped again. yuhuuu…
This cliff jumping point is also called the Maggi point, you can have hot tea or maggi here and again get into your raft towards destination. We reached safe and sound… enjoyed a lot, had fun, made fun, scared people. We got to know few rafts got flipped, But no one was harmed. Had a sigh of relief. Took off towards the camps again, i wanted to do bungee jumping but could not do as we were late.
I made some granola bars for the journey which I shared with people on our return from rafting and everybody thanked me so much and loved the taste. It was a perfect energy giving granola bar (click here to see the recipe) which just saved us from the tremendous hunger we were having.
Reaching the camps, everybody was tired and wet, we changed our clothes and had some rest. Then our dinner was prepared, had dinner and then a superfun dj night and camp fire. Everybody started dancing and enjoying. It was superb. We had pakoras and such warm snacks during party which we enjoyed a lot.
As the party continued, me and apurva took the liberty to spend a bestie time and went away from the dj to the river side at midnight. Had that serene and tranquil experience sitting there… enjoying each others company, feeling one of our dreams getting true and enjoying the breeze, rambling of river…lots of stars in the sky… it was simply the wow experience…
Slowly our friends came looking for us, and then we enjoyed together. Had little talks. Then we went inside camp.. talked and made fun of each other till late.. it was approx 3 in the morning that everybody got in thier own camps. Funniest thing happened that night. Apurva got scared from some sound outside the camp and jumped so hard our bed broke…. oh damn.. Hahahhahah.. ROFL
There was although no one… we both slept together on that broken bed (she wont sleep alone and we were damn too tired to shift our luggage), shivani on the other and our luggage on the third one. For lighting, we just had a single lantern. It was really dark, only light outside was from the stars above.
I could not sleep the whole night, just tried to rest and that brings an end to the day 1 in Rishikesh. It was a fabulous day. There are so many memories, cant even put everything in words but it was just the kind of day you want to begin your journey with.
Next day will start with the journey to chopta and the unforgettable experience withholds.