Camping by the River Ganges with Chhavi

By Mridula Dwivedi March 28, 2015 36 Comments , , , , , ,

‘Whenever I am asked, “How was your vacation?” I have a fixed reply, “Holidays are always good.” But camping by the Ganges with Chhavi was better than good! We were staying at the MHE Beach Camp. As the kid is still small she was underage for rafting. So, the number one attraction on the Ganges was ruled out for us. And yet, we had so much fun.

10. Waking Up by the River

camping--shivpuri
Waking Up by the Ganges

The last thing I would hear before closing my eyes was the sound of river. As soon as I would open my eyes, it would be there again, the beautiful sound! There is something very seductive about waking up next to a river! Chhavi would demand to open the tent flaps as soon as she would open her eyes, she anyway does that way too early in the morning. And there it would be, the big, magnificent Ganges, right next to out tents. We visited the camp from Sunday to Tuesday and it was particularly quiet during the weekdays. This was my kind of vacation, far away from the maddening crowd.

9. Swinging in a Hammock

hammock
Swinging in a Hammock

The days in the northern plains are getting hotter. After breakfast we would straight run to the river and splash around it. After lunch we would laze around the camp. On our day 3 they had put a hammock near the dining area. Chhavi would initially roll out of it while trying to swing.

After getting a hang of it and swinging for a long time she finally vacated it. I saw my chance and I occupied it quickly. She didn’t like it one bit. She asked me to get off, which I refused. Then she came and tried to throw me out of it. When she could not she started jumping on me! After a while she got busy elsewhere. And I had a peaceful time in the hammock with my book! There is no better way to spend an afternoon by the river than swinging in a hammock.

8. Food or When Chhavi Would Eat it on her Own

food
Good Food

MHE Beach Camp serves some lip smacking food. They use less oil which was much appreciated. They would vary the menu as well. However, for me the biggest blessing was that Chhavi would eat on her own. After playing in the sun, sand and water she would be really hungry. What a blessing it was to have the child eat on her own instead of me being after her life, which is our usual scene!

7. Starry Nights

starry-night
A Million More Stars!

I just loved the starry nights at Shivpuri. As usual there were a million more stars in the sky than the city. The good bit with Chhavi is that she goes to bed early on her own. I was free to pursue night photography.

But there was another aspect to the night that I would not have noticed on my own. As there was no electricity Chhavi would not like it at the night at all. She would go what I called ‘min min’ (would translate to cribbing) as soon as it became dark. She found it scary. She protested so much that by the third night we had to shift to the city.

6. Chai ke Glass

chai
Chai Ka Glass

Chai makes me happy, it makes me immensely happy. I like places which realize this and give me my fill. The nice folks at the MHE Beach Camp would put a flask full of tea for me. It was such a source of happiness for me. Instead of the tea cups provided, I would drink it in the glass! That makes it taste even better.

5. In the Far Far Away Land

ganges-shivpuri
In the Far Far Away Land

I like isolation, there I said it. I am not much for crowded places. MHE Beach Camp is on the other side of the river. Once we crossed to that side on a raft, there I was, away from it all. Even though I could see a bridge with traffic on it and other camps, the location was ideal to relax and unwind.

4. Playing by the River

ganga-shivpuri
Playing by the River

The water of the Ganges in cold, surprisingly cold even at end of March. MHE Beach Camp is very strict about wearing life jackets if the guests wish to go anywhere near the river. I appreciated it a lot. There is a nice beach with a shallow portion of the river. It was our favorite spot in the entire camp! I would wade bit by bit in the river and take a dip after ages. The burning sun would feel so nice after the cold dip. Chhavi found the water not so nice, so she would sit by the river making tunnels in the sand.

3. Chhavi’s Friends

camping-ganges
Chhavi’s Friends Titu and Mukesh

Mukesh and Titu, the rafting instructors pampered Chhavi a lot. they would pay with her, teach her volleyball, and when she would not enter the river take her there and drench her! She was particularly fond of Mukesh as he spent a lot of time with us. If a guest goes down to the river an instructor sort of materializes out of thin air on the beach. While we were there, looks like it was Mukesh’s turn to be that instructor. He had immense patience to play with a small child and keep her entertained too. I handed the camera to him while we were kayaking. He has a way with the camera too!

2. Kayaking

kayaking
Chhavi Tries Kayaking

Titu and Mukesh gave us two kayaks to play around in the shallow pond that the river forms by the bank! And before you declare us complete nuts for letting such a small child go into the river in a kayak, both the kayaks were tied by ropes which Titu held on to firmly. Mukesh was around in his raft to keep us in the shallow as well.

Both Chhavi and I had a gala time trying our hands at kayaking. Later Chhavi was complaining to me that they kept her tightly on the rope while they left me comparatively free to roam around! How observant the kids are! I asked Titu about turning the kayak around and he said I would have to back paddle to do so. I got some hang of it after trying many times. I thoroughly enjoyed kayaking around in shallow water with some amount of control over the kayak!

1. Playing in the Sand

playing-sand
Mama was Asking Not to Play in Sand!

The kid was so happy to see the sand all around her. She went completely berserk. She would crawl in the sand on all fours. She would roll around in the sand getting it in her hair as well. She would dig into it with her hands till it got inside her nails!

On the first day I tried to stop her in the evening after I changed her clothes. She made such a protesting face that I melted. For three days she had a free run in sand, and she loved every minute of it. I knew this is what she enjoyed most on the trip but just to reconfirm, I told her, “Chhavi I am going to write about the trip now so tell me what did you like most?” True to her form she didn’t reply to me first. But after some time she shouted, “Sand” and got back to mucking around with colors lying on the floor.

PS. I went to the MHE Beach Camp as part of their Blogger-in-Residence Program. Do check it out.

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36 thoughts on “Camping by the River Ganges with Chhavi”

  1. How do you reach the place/campsite from Delhi ? Can you share time taken and various means to reach here places ? It’s a beautiful place, btw , a great find !! 🙂

    1. You can go by road or by train. The road trip by car takes around 6 – 8 hours from Delhi depending on what time you leave in the morning. You can also catch the overnight Volvo bus and get off at Rishikesh from where a car will pick you up. The Shatabdi (leaves at 6:45 AM) or the Mussoorie Express (overnight train leaves at 9:30 PM) are two other superoptions. Trains will stop at Haridwar from where a car will.pick you up. It’s a 90 min drive from Haridwar and a 30 min from Rishikesh.

    2. Khyati, to add to what Dilshad said, I took the morning Shatabdi and then a taxi to Shivpuri. It is not difficult to reach Shivpuri from Haridwar at all.

  2. What a wonderful vacation you had with Chhavi! Summer has become so unbrable here in Bengaluru that I too want to go on a vacation like this….
    I was thinkng why Chhavi was sad untilI I read the caption…. 🙂 Playing with sand was our favourite of all the cousins in my granny’ s place 🙂

  3. Hi! I just stumbled across your blog. This place looks so nice, I can’t wait to get there myself! We are planning on cycling to India from Thailand and then follow the Ganges. I’m really excited to camp by the river, and the stars look so beautiful! Hopefully we can stay in this place as well when we get there 🙂

  4. Hi mridula..very nice pics. I am relatively new to your blog. thoroughly enjoyed reading it. My daughter is going to shiv puri in the end of april…a school trip. I hope she enjoys her trip N her trip coordinators take good care of the kids as at mhe.

    1. That is quite possible Mahesh and it has happened to me on one of my group treks (Har-Ki-Doon) where there was a group which was quite noisy. I am sure the same is possible at Shivpuri or anywhere else.

  5. rafting in ganga is one of the most popular adventure activities, very few know about the innumerable activities that await an adventure lover here

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I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.

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