River Ganges has a prominent place in the Hindu Mythology and in heart of the Indians. But, mythology and religion apart, even for non-religious-minded or tourists a visit to Ganges is an over-whelming experience. The river flowing through the heart of India unwinds a rich heritage of Indian culture as civilization grew on its banks and in its fertile lands.
Spending some tranquil time in a campsite on the banks of the river has been my plan for some time; finding a camping deal on a deals website just gave me a compelling reason to execute the plan. I bought discount vouchers for Wanderlust Beach Camp, booked my dates and set off on another wonderful time with my outdoorsy adventure loving family.
The Start (day 0) ~ We left Delhi at 5:30 AM and avoided morning traffic congestion on the NH58. We stopped for breakfast at Moolchand Resort before entering Meerut. It is clean with reasonably priced meals serving mainly Indian foods. The service staff was slow though.
The Camp (day 0) ~ We reached the camp, about 20 KM ahead of Rishikesh city by 11.30 AM. Unlike other camps in the area, the Wanderlust camp is located on a small beach at a very beautiful location. It is not crowded. Though, it takes about 1/2 KM trek from the road. Upon reaching the camp, our hearts rejoiced in the sheer beauty of the place and all weariness vanished. We put our stuff in the twin sharing tents, made an cursory inspection of the site and set out for lunch. The meals were all Indian and freshly prepared at the campsite.
Note: October is the begining of rafting season in Rishikesh, hence, bookings are easily available and there is no crowding.
The Rafting (day 0) ~ In the afternoon, we took our rafting run from Marine Drive to Shivpuri. Sitting on the bank is one thing and flowing with the waves on inflated rubber is exhilarating. On this stretch, one would encounter rapids of strength 1-3.
Lesson Learnt: You might want to experience free floating in the river where there is calm water. Its better to wear tight fitting full length lowers since sand in the water may cause skin bruises while you brace your knees against the raft to hop back in.
The night (day 0) ~ After dinner the bonfire was set. Since, we were the only group in the camp that night, it felt like we had the entire beach to ourself.
It is out-of-the-world calm to be there where there is nophone reception and no distraction, just the buzz of the most majestic river in the country flowing near by.
Morning by the River (day 1) ~ I woke to the first light in the sky, decided to sit by the river and imbibe this wonderful morning in my consciousness, to register its memories in my brain as my happy place to access it anytime I desired. The boys indulged playfully with the river, soaking in its chilling waters.
Responsible Tourism ~ It is noteworthy to mention that the camp takes utmost care to preserve the pristine purity of the river and the beach. Please contribute your bit by not littering and not using chemicals (soaps etc.) in the camp and on the banks of the river if you happen to be there.
Back to Home (day 1) ~ After lunch at the camp we started our journey back home. We left the camp at 2:00 PM and did not take stops enroute, reaching home in time for dinner.
Closing notes :
1) Rishikesh is ~225 KM from Delhi on NH58. It takes 4-5 hours in car to reach there. The roads are good, however, it is not advisable to take pit-stops at lonely places or venture around the smaller towns enroute if it is dark.
2) The beach camps don’t have electricity supplies, hence, charge your camera batteries in advance.
3) It is advisable to carry at least a single moderately warm sweatshirt/light jacket etc. because it tends to get cold at night near the river.
4) Carry extra pair of footwear for rafting.
Have a great time if you happen to be there this season.