A Dark Side of Camping in Rishikesh

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

Water Rafting Camp Rishikesh

Water Rafting Camp 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.

Water Rafting Camp Rishikesh Dining Area

Dining Area at Water Rafting Camp Rishikesh

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.

Tent to stay at Rafting Camp Rishikesh

Tent to stay at Rafting Camp Rishikesh

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.


View of beach near water rafting camp

View of beach near water rafting camp

View at water rafting camp rishikesh

View at water rafting camp rishikesh

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.

  • feel sorry to hearing all this.

    • Hi Lakshay,
      Thanks for going through the post. It was indeed a pain.

  • Amit, thanks for sharing your not-so-pleasant experience. This should be a real eye-opener for families travelling to stay in such remote places, however beautiful they may be.

    • Hi Venkatt. Thanks for reading the post. I feel so frustrated that I thought it is my duty to share it with others so that the adequate precaution could be taken well in advance.
      Thanks once again.

  • Ashok Sharma

    This country of ours is fast changing and this change is not always on the well thought over lines. Respect factor, tolerance etc are fast receding from our life.Sometimes i am unable to imagine which way we are moving?

    • Hello Ashok Ji,

      You are right, we are lacking all these factors. But that day I also felt that at some point of time when I was in college life and going out with friends we do have our share of enjoyment, though we never tried to bully someone else, but also it never occurs in our mind that may be we should take care of our co-travelers and they may feel uncomfortable because of us. This event was a real eye-opener for me and now this is in my top most priority to take care of other co-traveler also, because we all of us are out of our comfort zone when we are traveling, and if someone do care it means a lot.

      Thanks for going through the post.


  • davinder singh randhawa

    very true

    • Hello Ashok Ji,

      You are right, we are lacking all these factors. But that day I also felt that at some point of time when I was in college life and going out with friends we do have our share of enjoyment, though we never tried to bully someone else, but also it never occurs in our mind that may be we should take care of our co-travelers and they may feel uncomfortable because of us. This event was a real eye-opener for me and now this is in my top most priority to take care of other co-traveler also, because we all of us are out of our comfort zone when we are traveling, and if someone do care it means a lot.

      Thanks for going through the post.


    • Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Saurabh Gupta

    This is very common on these places…….

    These places are good for stay when you are not with female.

    • Hi Saurabh,

      You are right. This is indeed the case. But it should get change.

  • IronButt

    Really unpleasant.

    I don’t know why, but hooliganism and rashness is becoming common in North India. I am not generalizing but the way I have seen, people don’t have regard for fellow tourists.

    Cheers !!!


    • Hi
      You are right. The socio-economic factor of north India, and especially the greater earning and spending power have also contributed to it. For few it is “money power” and for the rest it is “mussel power”.
      Thanks for reading the post.

  • Pushpinder Singh

    Been to a camp at Malakunti ahead of where you stayed around 30 kms from Rishikes, had a wonderful experience the staff was also very helpful and nice . I suggest you carry an electric pump for such emergencies which can inflate the tyre using current from the cell phone charger port in your car.

    • Hello Pushpinder Ji,

      Thanks for this nice idea. I didn’t know about such a pump. The camp where I have stayed was also good with great food and other facility. It was just a bad day with bad company. But overall the mindset need to be changed. Thanks for going through the post.


  • Ashok Sharma

    Our India is a free country.This freedom is for all the citizens, not only for a few selected ones, gifted ones.Ladies have also the same rights that their male counter parts do have.It is in the interest of new generation to respect their ladies and the elders. Or else a very horrible future is in waiting.

    • Truly said Ashok ji.
      This is the thing we all are facing more or less. The tolerance level have almost gone in our society. Road rage is a common phenomenon. And the conditions are especially worst around the Delhi NCR or other big cities. Once I was to Kasauli in Himachal, and talking to hotel manager, he told me that he love to see foreigners who have keen eyes for traveling, and people from Delhi or Chandigarh came to hotel, and first thing they ask is either soda or cold drink for their drink. Many youngsters go to these places to have a drink and enjoyment like this with no intention to discover the place.

  • Thanks Amit for sharing the incident Amit. It might be useful for others who are thinking to visit such places with their family.

    • Hello Deependra Bhai,

      Thanks for going through the post. This was my exact idea of sharing so that if somebody is traveling with family he can take precautionary measure well before.


  • Sad Amit. Though I am very glad to see you back after a long time. I was blaming your absence on your change of status, from Single to happy. :-).

    Thank you for sharing this here. I have been to this area many times. There are a ton of camping sites with each beating the other by offering the same comforts at a better price. My suggestion is to always pick an old/trusted name there since they have more experience in handling these cases. The resort owners should have intervened firmly.

    Unfortunately, a beach setup with a bonfire often becomes a drinking jaunt. I guess everyone deserves a hard earned drink but, as you yourself noted in one of comments, we often forget to not care of our co-travelers. You touched a very good point about being extra sensitive especially when one is out of this comfort-zone. Thanks.

    Those pumps as mentioned by Pushpinder are easily available and work very well for tubeless tyres. It was a first time for you but trust me, changing wont have been too difficult once you get to it. :-)

    Look forward to read more stories.

    • Hi Nandan,
      I will definitely get one of those pump. It was a trip that taught me many lessons. When I was single I used to go alone wherever I want to without a second thought, but now places specially around Delhi are need to be selected carefully.
      Thanks for reading the post and I too love to share my stories here :-)

  • SilentSoul

    Amit very bad incident…

    But I dont think it was fault of the camp owners… It was fault of those spoil brats of nouveaux riche idiots.

    If you remember same thing happened with us in Jageshwar


    • Hello Sir,

      What I felt that the camp owner was trying to calm them but first thing was that they were less in number than the hooligans, and secondly somehow their commercial interest also came in their way, may be they don’t wanted to involve police into this, because you know how the police system work in our country? And for those spoil brats it was all about mussels and money power.
      Thanks for going through the post.

  • Rahul

    Hi Amit,

    I feel sad after reading your blog that you had very bad experience at a rafting camp in Rishikesh. Its true, in India, we live in a society where people brag about their contacts, money & muscle power. I also went to Rishikesh on a weekend in April this year and we stayed in Alaknanda River Rafting camp ( http://goo.gl/K9qKtX ), which is located in Byasi. Though, the camp was full on weekend but we enjoyed a lot and didn’t face any kind of problem that you had experienced. Its necessary to inquire about everything before checking-in. One should keep in mind certain things before finalizing rafting camp there. Like, the camp should be government recognized, the camp operators should have complete ‘safety arrangements’ to handle such situations etc. The best way is to choose the camp recommended by family members / friends / colleagues…

    Please keep on sharing the travel experiences you have while travelling to different places… :)