Bungee Jumping at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
So which adventure activity takes the top slot in your bucket list? I am sure you would be having a long list which would typically include Skydiving, Bungee (or Bungy) Jumping, Flyboarding, Scuba Diving, etc. But most of you must have answered Bungee Jumping to that question. Reason being the adrenaline rush you feel while experiencing the free fall. Although Skydiving is equally thrilling but it takes a backseat due to budgetary constraints.
WHAT IS BUNGEE JUMPING?
According to Wikipedia, Bungee Jumping is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane; but it is also possible to jump from a movable object, such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter, that has the ability to hover above the ground. The thrill comes from the free-falling and the rebound. When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils, and continues to oscillate up and down until all the kinetic energy is dissipated.
The most popular destinations for Bungee Jumping are:
- Bloukrans Bridge (South Africa) – 216 m
- The Macau Tower (China) – 233 m
- Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado (USA) – 291 m
- Kawarau Bridge (New Zealand) – 43 m
- The Last Resort (Nepal) – 160 m
- Niouc Adventure Park (Switzerland) – 190 m
- The Victoria Falls Bridge (Zimbabwe) – 111 m
- Sky Breakers (Finland) – 150 m
- Perrine Bridge (USA) – 151.5 m
- Cairns Tower (Australia) – 50 m
BUNGEE JUMPING IN INDIA
The adventure sports/ activities culture has slowly started to pick up pace in India. Majority of the Indian population feels that it is a costly affair. And then there’s another lot which stays away from such activities due to safety concerns. But following are some of the popular places in India where you can do Bungee Jump under Rs. 5,000 safely:
- Jumpin Heights at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand – 83 m – Rs. 3,550
- Della Adventure at Lonavala (Maharashtra) – 28 m – Rs. 500
- Ozone Adventures at Bengaluru (Karnataka) – 25 m – Rs. 400-500
- Wanderlust Operators at New Delhi – 25 m – Rs. 1,500
- Gravity Adventure Zone at Anjuna Valley (Goa) – 25 m – Rs. 500
- Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) – 30m – Rs. 300
Please note that the prices are indicative and could be exclusive of taxes.
MY BUNGEE JUMPING EXPERIENCE
After finishing my trek to the Pangarchullah Peak in Uttarakhand in April 2017, I decided to stay in Rishikesh. Being true to its reputation as the adventure city of India, Rishikesh served me with a plate full of adventure activities – bungee jumping, giant swing, flying fox, river rafting, cliff jumping, etc. I picked river rafting and bungee jumping out of them. The bungee jump, giant swing and flying fox activities take place at same place i.e. Mohanchatti, 25 kms away from Rishikesh. Since I had already done Giant Swing at Sandhan Valley in December 2016, I gave it a miss.
About Jumpin Heights
Founded by an ex-Army guy, Colonel Manoj Kumar, Jumpin Heights offers India’s highest fixed platform bungee jumping (83 m) at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. A cantilever platform is built over an iron cliff overlooking one of the tributaries to River Ganga. For those worried about the safety, the platform has been designed and operated by the specialists from New Zealand. In fact, the company had achieved the milestone of completing 50,000 bungee jumps safely by March 2017.
Checklist for Bungee Jumping at Jumpin Heights
- Age: Minimum 12 yrs
- Weight: Minimum 40 kgs and Maximum 110 kgs
- Reporting Time: 9 am
- Weekly off: Tuesday Closed
The activity is strictly not suitable for people with following medical conditions:
- Back or Neck injuries
- Recent Fracture
- Any Dislocation
- High Blood Pressure
- Neurological Disorders
- Heart Conditions
Price List (per person incl. GST @ 18%)
- Entry Ticket: Rs. 100
- Transport (from Booking office at Tapovan/ Laxman Jhula to Jump Zone and return): Rs. 300 (optional)
- Bungee Jump: Rs. 3,550
- Giant Swing: Rs. 3,550
- Flying Fox (Solo): Rs. 3,000
- Flying Fox (Tandem or Triple): Rs. 1,800 per person
- Bungee Jump + Flying Fox Combo: Rs. 4,750
- Giant Swing + Flying Fox Combo: Rs. 4,750
- Bungee Jump + Giant Swing Combo: Rs. 6,500
- Bungee Jump + Giant Swing + Flying Fox Combo: Rs. 8,250
- Video CD: Rs. 700
Although it is not imperative, but one should book the Bungee jump slot online well in advance (2-3 months ago). Since I had to board a train for Delhi from Haridwar for a return flight same evening, I made sure that I finish my bungee jump by afternoon. My decision to stay at Hotel Gangour in Rishikesh was good from budget perspective (Rs. 1,100 for two nights). However, it wasn’t that good when it came to reaching the booking office of Jumpin Heights before 8:30 am. Their booking office is located at Tapovan from where their “Bungy Coaches” ply between Tapovan and Mohanchatti. It is advisable to book a hotel somewhere close by. If you have your own vehicle, then it won’t matter much.
On the D-day, I got an experience of the unpredictable weather in Rishikesh (or Uttarakhand for that matter), when a beautiful sunrise was followed by a drizzle. I was informed by their team that if the weather stays the same, they might cancel the activity for the day and refund the money. Little did they know that I was more bothered about missing out on this much-awaited event in my life.
I reached their office well on time and got my tickets (against printout of booking confirmation which is necessary) checked. I realised later that my decision to opt for their Bungy Coach was right as the auto-rickshaws do not go to the Jump site due to hilly route. The Bungy coach was a small bus which was very comfortable. The bus carrying some 15 participants and the support staff reached the jump site in little less than an hour.
One gets the first glimpse of the Jump bridge few meters before reaching the Jumping Heights office cum cafe near the jump site. At the reception, all the participants were given a small briefing about Do’s and Don’ts. We were also shown a small video on Jumpin Heights’ journey. After about 20-25 minutes of briefing, we were asked to deposit our valuables at the reception. It is better to leave your mobile/ camera at the reception since Jumpin Heights do not allow outside cameras at the jump site anyway.
After taking a 10 minute walk from the cafe, we reached the bridge. I was the second person to go for the activity and the lady before me had opted for Giant Swing. As the excitement and nervousness within me were battling out, I didn’t even realize when the lady finished her giant swing. The person asked me to go to the jump zone which was connected to the entry section by a cantilever platform. To make the participant relax, music is played in the jump zone which I am sure a participant would be least interested in, at that moment.
After preparing me with the gear and tying the rubber cord to my ankles, the instructor asked me to stand over the edge of the platform. He asked me not to look down thinking I might panic and wouldn’t jump. He asked me to jump towards a board (with a red circle drawn) deliberately put up on a tree right in front of jump zone. The idea is to distract participants from looking down and changing their mind out of fear. I was ofcourse more interested in getting the aerial view and testing if that moment succeeds in instilling fear in my mind. As expected, the excitement prevailed over fear and I took the leap of faith.
The moment my feet were off the edge of the platform, I let out a loud scream as a celebration of that moment. The feeling of wind running through your hair as you race towards the ground is just out of this world. After oscillating for a while, the instructors lowered the cord and the ground staff picked me to remove the gear. Every participant is given a small water bottle by the ground staff and one can even wait there and see the other participants jump off the bridge.
After climbing up the hill for 15-20 minutes, I reached the Jumpin Heights Cafeteria. There were other participants watching the videos of jumps on two large screens – one screen for real time streaming and the other for delayed streaming. The cafe serves tea, coffee and snacks like sandwiches and veg rolls. After having my breakfast at the cafe and watching my jump on the screen, I collected my “Dare to jump” certificate from the reception along with the video CD. You can also get the video transferred to your phone at the reception itself. But you would still have to pay Rs. 700 for the video.
Please note that apart from the rubber cord to your ankles, you are also made to wear a safety jacket which is tied to the cord as a backup safety. Also, every participant is given two attempts to jump. The participant himself/ herself is responsible to take the plunge. The instructors would never push you. If you are not able to jump even after two attempts, you have to forfeit the activity fees.
The Giant Swing activity also takes place on the same platform. If you have never done Giant Swing, I would recommend doing it here. Reasons being the elevation of 83 m and the fact that you go face first, unlike the Giant Swing experience at Sandhan Valley, where you are facing the cliff. Touted as Asia’s longest, the Flying Fox activity at Jumpin Heights has a distance of about 1 km. It takes place somewhere away from the Bungee jump bridge on a 120 m high platform. The maximum speed you fly at is 160 kmph.
I consider bungee jumping at Rishikesh as one of the best experiences in my life. These are the moments I always crave for – experiences that let me overcome my fears; the experiences that turn “why do it” into “why not”. The bungee jump lasted for not more than 5 minutes but the memories were etched on my mind forever.
Best time to visit Rishikesh
February to April and late August to mid November
How to reach Rishikesh
Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (20 km)
Train: There are not many trains connecting directly to Rishikesh. The best option is to opt for Delhi – Haridwar trains and then either get a cab or board a train from Haridwar for Rishikesh. The distance between these two cities is only 20 kms. But the cab drivers would charge anything upwards of Rs. 200.
Road: One can travel to Rishikesh from Delhi (225 kms) by road and reach in about 6-7 hours. It is better to leave from Delhi by 4-5 am to avoid congestion in towns like Modinagar and Roorkee.
Accommodation in Rishikesh
Being a popular tourist spot, Rishikesh has many good accommodation options to suit the budget of all kinds of travelers. My top recommendations for a budget traveler would be Zostel and Bonfire Hostels. One can even stay in the tents put up along the banks of River Ganga.
Restaurants in Rishikesh
- Ira’s Kitchen & Tea Room
- The Sitting Elephant
- Bistro Nirvana
- Ganga View Restaurant
- Holywater – Dining by the Ganges
Drop your queries and suggestions in the comments section below and I would be more than happy to address them.
Till then…Happy Travelizing!!!