The famous bridge in Rishikesh called Lakshman Jhula which lies suspended over River Ganges is 450 ft long and connects Tehri and Pauri district. But did you know the story behind its name? Legend has it that Rama’s younger brother Lakshmana crossed the Ganga using just two jute ropes. To honor his feat, a 284 ft long hanging rope bridge was built at the same place and named Lakshman. Until 1889, it was this very rope bridge that was used to cross the river but it was washed away during the floods of October 1924. After this, another bridge was built which opened to public use in 1930. This is still in use but its name remains the same in honor of Lakshmana. If you visit Rishikesh, don’t forget to cross this bridge. On either sides you will see markets where you can shop for idols, semi-precious stones and other knick-knacks. The famous 13-storey Trayambakeshwar Temple is also near Lakshman Jhula.
White-water River Rafting in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is quite famous for its white water rafting on the holy Ganges river. About 30 kms from Haridwar, an important pilgrimage center in India, Rishikesh also is a holy destination for Hindus. But for adventure lovers, Rishikesh offers not only grade 4+ rafting, but many other adventurous options like rock climbing, bungee jumping, kayaking etc.
There are the major rafting sretches, in order of ease of increasing complexity:
1. Brahmpuri to Nim beach (Rishikesh): easiest of all the stretches. Total approx. length: 7-9 kms. Good for older people, family members like children who cannot do the tougher stretches or are afraid of water. You will only get grade 1+ rapids here. This is also the cheapest stretch in terms of rafting cost.
2. Shivpuri to Nim beach: 16kms stretch with Grade 4 rapids. Good stretch with rapids like Gold Course and Roller Coaster. Rafting on this stretch takes about 2 hours.
3. Marine Drive to Nim Beach: 26 kms. You will find Grade 3 rapid Three Blind Mice. There are other small Grade 3 rapids which are quite fun. Takes around 3-4 hours.
4. Kaudiyala to Nim Beach: 36 kms. Takes around 7 hours. Only experienced rafters should try this. Star attraction is The Wall, a Grade 5 rapid where 90% of the boats flip sending everyone into water :).
5. Devprayag to Nim Beach: 2-3 days. For rafting junkies and professional rafters. You take your food, camping equipment etc with you on another raft.
While rafting your guide will let you swim in certain calmer patches of Ganges, and even body surf some of the Grade 1-2 rapids. Near Nim Beach there is a small cliff where you can try Cliff Jumping.