Rishikesh, the adventure capital of India, also has the most number of river camping options in the Himalayas. Most of which are located around the Shivpuri to Neelkanth Mahadev Temple stretch along the river rafting route and the backwaters of the river which has been dubbed by many as beach sand camping.
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Booking in Rishikesh
The best way to book one of these river side camping options at Rishikesh is through any of the online booking portals since nearly everyone is listed on portals. But before you end up booking, make sure you do a bit of Google map research to know if the campsite is accessible by road or is a trek down.
Having a short trek or walk to the campsite is the entry to most of the campsites, so if you want to park your car in the campsite then make sure you do your research well. The parking options when the campsite does not have a direct road is you’ll mostly have to leave it along the road.
Nearly all the campsites have pretty much the same package to offer which is an all meals included with stay and a so called DJ party. When it comes to all meals you’ll get three meals and chai. Breakfast has either puri bhaji, poha, bread butter and chai. Lunch has dal, roti, rice, and one vegetable.
The same combination for dinner is repeated again with a different vegetable and a sweet dish. Some places also offer a non-veg chicken local curry at night. Check the food reviews of the place before you end up booking or you’ll end up having a grim camping experience by the Ganges. Not all the campsites serve good food.
The all inclusive meal plan at Rishikesh ranges from ₹999 to ₹2500 per person. The price depends purely on the amenities and quality of tents or cottages that’s available. Location of property barely adds any value to the costing when it comes to river side camping in Rishikesh. The closer the campsite is to the river, the harder one will find it to reach the property after dark.
All the campsites offer more or less the same amenities when it comes to activities. They all have a volleyball net, basketball hoop and a couple of cricket bats. A common playing area is usually reserved for in the centre where people can play games in the morning and have a bonfire + DJ night party till lights off which is usually at 22:00 or 23:00 hrs.
The usual plan most opt for is to drive down or arrive in Rishikesh by noon and have their lunch in the town area. An unlimited dhaba thali is what most people like to eat after a long journey from home. Once that’s done, either drive down to the campsite or head to the alcohol shop to buy your evening stock. Remember, it’s important to pile up on your vices stock since none of these campsites will have anything extra to buy. It’s just what’s in the meal plan that will be served.
When it comes to accommodation, don’t expect anything other than a bed, pillow and a quilt. It’s always better to carry your own sleeping bag or quilt since hygiene is something you should always keep in mind while camping during times of covid. Remember to carry your own towel since most places won’t give you a towel nor will they have a towel even if you’re ready to pay for one.
Night vibe at the river side camping is what people actually end up coming for, to drink a couple of beers or have some whiskey on the rocks. Most of the campsites offer either peanuts, popcorn or boiled chana as sidekick to have while having a drink under the night sky by the river side.
If you’re looking for anything other than what’s mentioned, then you will have to put in a request with the campsite owner and hope that he and his team are able to deliver something but in nearly all the cases it’s pretty hard to get anything extra out of the kitchen. So it’s best to carry a couple of chips packets along which will help keep the hunger cravings at bay while you enjoy your drink.
Expect the night temperature to dip well below freezing point so come prepared with your winter wear, based on how cold you feel. Don’t expect to have very good internet along the river banks. Make sure you carry a power bank and your own speakers so you can chill with your group even after the shut down time.
Don’t forget to carry enough cash if you haven’t made the payment. This cash will come very handy because the internet is scrappy down by the river side this works out as a better way to simply end up paying by cash.
Nights in the tents by the river side isn’t all that cosy as you would expect because a lot of river sand will fly into your tent and in the morning you’ll definitely find a lot of sand in and around your tent and shoes. It’s usually an early start by the campsite, so over all you start your next day pretty early with breakfast which is served in the mess area followed by a bit of pictures by the river side and then people usually pack up and check out from the campsite. All in all its a pretty compact experience, in terms of camping and chilling a lot can be done to help make the experience a lot better.
If you’re planning to go camping by the riverside in Rishikesh, make sure you book only for one night and not more since you’ll get stuck having the same food for two nights. One night river camping and the next day going rafting is the best way to cap it out while in Rishikesh.