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A Complete Guide To River Rafting in Rishikesh

Here is all you need to know about river rafting in Rishikesh - including the names of the famous rapids, the many rafting stretches, the best season and much more!

A Complete Guide To River Rafting in Rishikesh

Here is all you need to know about river rafting in Rishikesh – the names of the famous rapids, the many rafting stretches, the best season and much more! Also check out some of the most amazing rafting stretches in Rishikesh.

“Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.” 

― Emma Smith

River rafting is an unmatched adventure offering an adrenaline rush in the midst of gushing rapids. It is a challenging and delightful adventure activity in which a rafter navigates through a river. There are several river rafting destinations all around the globe. In India as well, there are many destinations providing river rafting opportunities. Rishikesh, the rafting capital of India, is arguably the best destination for rafting in India. The turquoise waters of the Ganges render immense scope for rafting here.


No matter whether an adventurer is a novice or an expert, Rishikesh offers the perfect rafting opportunity. This exhilaration is raised to the next level by the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings. A number of rapids across different grades and stretches make it convenient for all rafters to choose the excursion as per their skills. Let’s explore all the important aspects of rafting in Rishikesh.

The different grades of rapids in Rishikesh:

The rapids are categorized based on the level of the challenges they offer. In total, there are six grades of rapids found around the globe. In Rishikesh, five grades of rapids are available:

  • Grade: 1 – Easy navigation across mild streams. Almost no risk involved.
  • Grade: 2 – Holds notably apart obstacles or rocks and proffers easy maneuver.
  • Grade: 3 – Reasonably adventurous rapids and require good judgment.
  • Grade: 4 – These rapids are strong enough to tumble the raft.
  • Grade: 5 – Dangerous rapids. Strictly for experts.

The names of major rapids in Rishikesh:

  • Black Money (Grade 1)
  • Sweet Sixteen (Grade 1)
  • Good Morning (Grade 1)
  • Body Surfing (Grade 1)
  • Club House (Grade 2)
  • Initiation (Grade 2)
  • Double Trouble (Grade 2)
  • Hilton (Grade 2)
  • Terminator (Grade 2)
  • Shivpuri Rapid (Grade 2+)
  • Three Blind Mice (Grade 3)
  • Cross Fire (Grade 3)
  • Roller coaster (Grade 3)
  • Golf Course (Grade 3)
  • Return to Sender (Grade 3)
  • Daniel’s Dip (Grade 3+)
  • The Great Wall (Grade 4)

Rafting stretches in Rishikesh

The major stretches found in Rishikesh are as follows:

Brahampuri to Rishikesh

Shivpuri to Laxman Jhula
Shivpuri to Laxman Jhula

This stretch offers a great exhilaration and it is a suitable option for elders, kids and families. Rejuvenating water splashes offer utter delight to the adventurers. The rapids in this stretch are of mild nature. For all those novices who want to try river rafting expedition in Rishikesh for the first time, the Brahamapuri to Rishikesh stretch can be the ideal one.

  • Stretch Length: 9 Kilometers
  • Grades of Rapids: II
  • Major Rapids: Sweet Sixteen, Body Surfing, Terminator, Hilton and Double Trouble
  • Approx time taken: 1.5 to 2 hours

Shivpuri to Rishikesh

Shivpuri to Rishikesh
Shivpuri to Rishikesh

This stretch offers rapids of intermediate difficulty level. The rapids are of Grade II and III and can make the rafter skip a heartbeat. This neither too easy nor very tough stretch is ideal for second timers. Without a doubt, Shivpuri to Rishikesh stretch renders an intriguing amalgamation of thrill and pleasure to the adventure enthusiast.

  • Stretch Length: 16 Kilometers
  • Grades of Rapids: II and III
  • Major Rapids: Roller Coaster, Return to Sender, Double Trouble and Golf Course
  • Approx time taken: 3 to 3.5 hours

Marine Drive to Rishikesh


It is a difficult but completely thrilling rafting stretch. This stretch offers Grade II and III rapids full of thrills and spills. After crossing Shivpuri, the rapids become less demanding and offer ample time for adventurers to relax and relish the picturesque backdrop. In total, there are 14 rapids on the route. It is an ideal route for all the rafters having some rafting experience.

  • Stretch Length: 27 Kilometers
  • Grades of Rapids: I, II and III
  • Major Rapids: Black Money, Cross Fire, Golf Course and Three Blind Mice
  • Approx time taken: 4.5 to 5 hours

Kaudiyala to Rishikesh

Rafting in Ganga River
Rafting in Ganga River

This stretch is strictly meant for experienced rafters. It is an extremely invigorating rafting route and encompasses one of the most difficult rapids around the globe – The Wall (a VI+ Grade rapid). The rapids on the route are perilous and thus require loads of strength, determination and skill.

  • Stretch Length: 36 Kilometers
  • Grades of Rapids: Grade I, II, III and IV
  • Major Rapids: The Wall, Eddy Whirlpool and Daniel’s Dip
  • Approx time taken: 8 to 9 hours

Few more points to remember…

Best season: From mid-February to May and then from Mid-September to November

Reaching Rishikesh 

  • By Air: Jolly Grant (21 kilometers) in Dehradun is the nearest airport.
  • By Rail: Haridwar Junction (21 kilometers) in Haridwar is the nearest major railhead.
  • By Bus: Rishikesh has a fine network of buses linking it with important places such as Dehradun, Haridwar and New Delhi.

No matter what itinerary an adventurer chooses, Rishikesh offers an unforgettable and awe-inspiring rafting experience in the midst of hued mountains and silvery rapids.

All photos:

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us:, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

About the author: Pawan Kotiyal is an avid traveller, who likes to trudge to far-flung and lesser-explored destinations in India. Trekking and photography keeps him busy while he is out exploring the unknown destinations. He also likes to pen his travelling experience in order to help those with similar interest in travelling, trekking and photography.

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