Tanmay: “You remember Shashank Bansal sir?” (I liked the way he used ‘Full name’ followed by sir)
Me: “haan na” (Well, forgive me if that literally translates to Yes, no)
Tanmay: “Do you know him?”
Me: “Is he coming?”
Me: “Sun, count me in!”
And this is how I made a ‘well-planned‘ voyage to Rishikesh & beyond! (It is beyond & Rishikesh actually)
Well, ladies and ladies, my name is Kannav Mahajan and I have a hobby of ridiculously over-explaining things!
The above conversation took place on 17th of September between an honest, innocent organiser and a bargain seeking greedy customer!
Eventually the price (original one) was found to be agreeable and hence the stamp was put to a long-awaited trip to the land of rafting in Ganga – Rishikesh
Cutting down the crap, we began the voyage at 11:12 p.m. sharp (Come-on ‘12 minutes‘ late is not even officially late as per IST) from SAC circle, IIT Delhi, much to the delight of the grumpy faced people who supposedly are Germanic Indians!
38 people, belonging to categories of first yearites (The Holy Fucchas who are not allowed to legally mingle with seniors), 4th yearites (The love birds mostly), M. Techs and PhDs (Love birds & Guardians) and not to forget 2 distinguished alumni, who knew little about others beyond their core group, shared a luxurious bus en route to Rishikesh for rafting!
Muzzafarpur ka Dhabha and Haridwar ka Naashta
The bus first halted at the driver’s customary commission wala dhabha where most people were in sleep and hence not much action was witnessed! (Sadly)
The second and a longer one came at the much talked and visited Hari ki Pauri (Stairway to Hari) ghat of Haridwar!
Breakfast was done at Mohan poori wala (50 INR for 4 poori’s is cheap still) and photos were clicked at the Ghat itself!
Many of us tried to wash away our sins, but in vain, as we learnt in sometime!
What was originally a 45 minute break ended up being a 1.5 hour break, leading the on-time people to enjoy extremely audible roadside advertisements of Ujala eye-drops! Wait, there was a reason as well – “When others can come late in the night, so can we” (You can understand which gender of humans can have such amazing LOGIC!)
Anyways, enough of logic, our first trek was the trek from Bus drop point to base camp!
In actual terms it must have been around couple of km or less, but thanks to descend down a hill, it felt much more! But it was fun, especially for a first timer like me! (First times are first times after all)
The glories of this were the bridge on the way (Where I finally managed to use the MONOPOD) and the clear stream of pure, natural drinking water from where we all had some lovely sips!
And then, there we were – at our camp!
We had a small pool made by held up water of Ganga at our camp and soon life jackets were on, clothes were off (Hold your imaginations) and people were bathing and swimming in natural waters! It was a good 1.5 hour time in the pool and it was really fun!
Then came lunch and while some people went off to sleep, I along with most of the people went off to what I feel was the best part of the entire trip!
Trek #2 and the WATERFALL
Yeah, you can already guess what my highlight was!
The trek to the waterfall was a mythical 2 km long journey which seemed to never end! And it was not just about the distance. The path seemed like hair thin at times with a broad view of Ganga in waiting towards the other side. Most of the people had changed and had gone to the waterfall just to have fun. Instead the first site of the fall changed everything!
After some initial preparation and safety checks, we started rappelling down to the fall! The next couple of hours just passed away in a flash!
When we eventually decided it was time to leave, stars had started spreading their twinkle and light was nowhere to be seen!
Night Trek – The bonus
The return journey to the camp was dangerous, scary and a lesson in resource and people management!
Firstly we couldn’t rappel back up so we had to walk a steep path which had its own set of thorny and sharp obstacles.
Once back to starting point, all people were gathered, cell-phones and torches were lighted and then began the most adventurous path of the entire trip!
Thankfully for us, we all managed to reach the camp well intact, complete in numbers albeit with dead cell phones! (God bless power banks)
Night had its charm of no electricity, a river rustling besides, cold sand and a deliciously well cooked dinner!
It was followed by things that will remain a secret (What happens in Rishikesh, stays in Rishikesh) and songs that went on till the fire burned itself out!
You see I am slowly becoming little precise!
The rafting experience in my opinion if done with discipline is extremely safe and hence is pretty much enjoyable!
The experience with the rapids, oars, high waves of cold waters and the somersaults from the raft were a joy of its kind!
The mountains had their share as well! Heard in the echoes were the everlasting chants
“Sarvashreshtam Sarvasundram, Karakoram, Karakoram!“
You can only ever feel so alive.
So, in the end, if you have managed to reach this stage, I told you, I over-explain!
On a personal note, I have made many new friends and the IIT connection promises to stay alive!
Nonetheless, if you haven’t been to the Himalayas before and haven’t had a chance to taste the waters and breathe the air, get on the bus, get going!
“Sarvashreshtam Sarvasundram, Karakoram, Karakoram” is the chant of Karakoram hostel, which was my home during my 4 years at IIT Delhi.