For most people, India is an exotic destination filled with tigers, temples and the Taj Mahal. While this is true, India is also a very diverse land with varying terrain, cultures, food and languages (there are 22 official languages spoken in the sub-continent). The North with its palaces and deserts is vastly different than the South, which has lush tropical foliage, beaches, and towns which reflect their Dutch and Portuguese influences. It’s as if there are a multitude of “countries” within India’s borders.
Every time I go to India, I try to explore a different region. During my most recent trip, I ventured to Rishikesh, in the heart of the Himalayas. Although only a 45 min flight from New Delhi, Rishikesh is a haven for the nature lovers and the active adventurers. The air is fresh, the waters of the Ganges are crystal clear and you’re surrounded by the beauty of the lush mountains. It’s also the birthplace of yoga, so of course you’ll find a plethora of instructors, schools, and swamis. The International Yoga Festival is held here every March and brings in 2,000 attendees from over 100 countries.
I’m pretty adventurous myself, but I’m not in my 20s any longer so I wanted to ensure I came back home in one piece! My first priority was safety and picking a tour operator with a great reputation and a solid track record, so I selected Aquaterra Adventures and the Atali Ganga resort.
With my limited time and my love of water, I chose kayaking and river rafting during my stay. As we passed the other rafts down the Ganges, I noticed that our group was the only one which had safety guides in 2 kayaks accompanying us the entire way. They were there to ensure that if anyone fell overboard or the group otherwise needed assistance, it would be available at a moment’s notice. This really provided additional piece of mind for me and reinforced my decision to go with Atali Ganga. The guides are young, energetic and fun and encourage you to step outside your comfort zone in a safe and controlled environment. I was thrilled to see a few female guides who I hear are highly requested for the all-women getaways!