Rafting in Rishikesh is a popular tourism feature for adventure sport. Rishkesh has emerged as the centre for North India's Ganges white water rafting. Popular with foreign tourists, local tour operators market the sport along with spiritual and yoga tourism. Rishikesh is located in the lower Himalayas on the river Ganga, and what was once a quaint village has become an overcrowded slum taken over by rapacious tour operators and clients waiting to escape this modern hell on earth.
The clients are oblivious to the dangers of white water rafting in Rishikesh (dangerous sport) and the untrained local villagers who masquerade as trained white water rafting professionals using patched and battered vulcanised rafts (far removed from the glossy photos used to hook clients with). Every year at least 200 persons are drowned in the River Ganges and its treacherous currents. Instances are legion of Rishikesh rafting foreigners sleeping overnight in tents on the white beaches upstream of Rishikesh being swept away in the flash bore tides which this stretch of the Ganges river is notorious for.
For safety reasons risky whitewater rafting in Rishikesh is closed between 1 July and 30 August. The state government has been under pressure to extend the dates from 15 June till 15 September when a significant number of rafting related fatalities take place by flash floods caused by melting snows and monsoon rains. However, powerful local tour operators have prevented this putting lives of uninformed tourists at risk.