Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world, is also famous for adventure sports activities with the main focus on “river rafting” and “beach camping”. Situated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, it is an idyllic set up at the foothill of Himalayas along with sacred river Ganga. However, this otherwise pleasant experience can be so tormenting if adequate precautions are not taken in advance. I am going to narrate you my personal experience that how I felt victimized with no fault of mine.
How to reach Rishikesh?
From national capital Delhi it is cool 4 hour drive till Rishikesh. Go further 16 km uphill drive and you will reach an iron bridge near Shivpuri on Rishikesh-Badrinath road. Right below the bridge, the camps as well the rafting point gets started.
About the beach camps in Rishikesh
The beach camp was good with basic facilities that included two beds with bedrolls, clean toilet and common dining space. The package in-general includes three meals, morning and evening tea with snacks and bonfire. The rate was 700 INR per person including three meals that sounds reasonable to me.
About the horrific experience
As the “Eid al-Adha” a.k.a “Bakra-Eid” was on Saturday this year so I managed one more leave on Friday to make it a three day long vacation to spend some quiet time at a beach camp of Rishikesh. Since it was the first time I was traveling with my wife for a camping activity so I preferred not to go further and settle down at a location that would not be so isolated. Also it was possible to take my car till the camp that was again a relief. After reaching the camp we took a stroll around as there was no other tourist in the rest 21 camps, but the outside area was bustling with rafting activity. The camp in-charge told me that there are other boys and girls staying in other camps who are out for rafting at this moment. We settled there happily, and after a brief walk around the river side decided to take a little nap so that we can stay fresh for evening activity.
We woke-up with a noise outside that turned to be a group of six persons including one driver, who were drinking and talking loudly. No other tourist except the camp staff was there and it was already 7 by the evening. I felt little awkward and decided to see around. I was shocked to see that the front tire of my car was flat and there was no way we could go out at that moment. The only driver was half drunk and there was no other help at that point of time. I have never changed a tire by my own, so I left with no option than to wait till morning, so that I could get some help with this.
Till then it was ok, and I requested camp staff to provide us with separate bonfire and they fulfill the same. After a while the joke of those hooligans turned into abusing each other and in no time they started shouting and fighting. They were smoking like a chimney and one of guy started scolding on his group mate on some money related issue. The situation started becoming bitter and asked my wife to go inside and called the camp staff to make them calm. One of them was a son of Member of Indian parliament, and he refused to listen to the camp staff and challenged them to call police. Around 9 the dinner was served but till then we were so tensed that the otherwise good dinner didn’t impress us a bit. Right after dinner their argument turns ugly and in the mean time two of them went to their car and started playing music at full volume. Camp member tried to intervene but they were reluctant to listen to anyone.
I decided to accompany my wife inside camp as she was feeling awkward. When we were sitting in those two guys came outside of my camp and throw light and made some noise. Their driver was the only person who seems to be a bit mature, he was trying to calm down those guys along with the camp staff. This horrific drama was on till 1 pm and once they slept we took a sigh of relief. We tried to sleep but feeling so angry and helpless at the same time, that we just wanted this time to elope soon.
By 6 in the morning we woke up and try to catch our mood with the pleasant surroundings, took a stroll around the beach and clicked some photographs.
After their departure we left the camp as we were in no mood to see their faces again in the life. Just after Iron bridge there has been a workshop where I stopped for a quick repair of the punctured tire. May be my luck was totally against me that day or these remote places are increasingly becoming the hub of such a hooligan, that out of no where a Santro car stopped in front of me. It was occupied by 4 or 5 guys from Haryana, they were drinking in broad daylight and asked me if I need any help. Since my Car number plate is of Delhi so it was a good excuse for them to talk and showing their so called generosity. I asked to stay away politely and left the place with a disguise.
It was a horrific incident that teaches me a lifetime lesson.
Firstly, the places which are near to Delhi especially those in isolated areas like beaches of Rishikesh, are a paradise of drinkers, should not go without friends or family.
Secondly, make sure the security arrangement is adequate before staying in such a camp because one cannot lock down from inside.
We came back with a bitter memory though the place was tremendously beautiful.