Two months in Rishikesh – Feb and March 2015
- It’s season time for the river people! Time to head to Rishikesh, the hub for adventure sports in Uttarakhand. This place is a must visit for adventure junkies. Trust me you’ll never regret it. Here’s my story.
So my main motto of going to Rishikesh was to participate in the Ganga Kayak Festival that was going to be held on Feb 17th and 18th. So I called my friend Chotak, who also owns Wet N Wild Explorations and cracked my kind of deal as usual. I was going to stay and work with his staff, build his website, improve his business and in return he’ll take me kayaking and pay me some money. And who wouldn’t say no to this win-win deal? He said Yes!
I reached Rishikesh on Feb 1st to meet Vibha and her friends Ayesha and Ishaan Khattar (Yes, Shahid Kapoor’s brother). Vibha was there to practice for the festival and the other two were going to learn Kayaking with the ‘Wet N Wild Team’.
We took them on the famous Expedition down Dev Prayag in the Ganga River. What I liked most about all the people I hung out with in this group was each and everyone’s urge to learn new things. All of us were there with one purpose – To Learn and Explore like little children. And it was a variety of things that we all absorbed from each other. Ayesha and Ishaan are both movie actors who wanted to get a taste of adventure! And what better way than to learn Kayaking! Almost everyone in the team wanted to learn to play the guitar. I’m glad I had some good influence on people.
The expedition was absolutely epic. For Ayesha and Ishaan the river side life was a whole new experience. Ishaan a monkey at heart who likes to jump around, climb trees and run randomly had found his partner in crime. Me!
We played all day, kayaked, spoke about our different lives by the fire, played catches for hours and hours, did some stretching, climbed trees, rolled in the sand,played catches with heavy stones. Everyone became children in this expedition who just wanted to play all day.
It was a good practice expedition for the competition. And all of us made a deal that we wouldn’t touch any form of intoxication before the festival so it was a clean trip where everyone just had one motto – self improvement. It really felt amazing.
Then came the big day – Ganga Kayak Festival. I was contemplating if I should participate in the beginner category or professional category. But decided against participating in beginner category because the challenge was to just run down the rapid. Which I would do every day on daily trips anyway. So I enrolled in the professional category. To be a champion you have be among champions! And I will never regret making this decision. The competition was quite hard and the slalom gates were in difficult places. I watched how the pros did it and copied them. This was a true learning experience for me. I did quite well and participated in most events except mass boater cross since I did not qualify. One of the judges – Dave was quite impressed by my determination. This made me really happy. I did take something very valuable from the competition even though I came first from the last. By being with the pros during the competition I absorbed a lot of their qualities and came out as a better kayaker.
And now there’s no going back to beginner. The benchmark has been raised and my goals are now much much scarier and bigger.
I couldn’t ask for more than this but the wet n wild team decided to go on a kayaking expedition to Upper Alakananda and Pindar. A kayaking experience that I will never forget since these rivers are class 4 rivers and they teach you what real kayaking is. Read more about my experience in the expedition here.
I must mention the other things we did while we’re in Rishikesh. Sitting by the ganga everyday, jamming with random people, hoards of people playing their own instruments and all singing was a blissful experience. I’ll never forget the different kinds of people from different places of the world that I met here. And also our daily rafting clients who had one hell of a time with us in the river. It was a season that I’ll never forget!
And what better way to end the season. With another kayaking trip to Bhageerathi on my last day here. Icing on the cake!
Thank you all those who were part of this season with me.[ssba]