As we heard the sound of water rushing down into our first major rapid of the day; Golf Course, the adrenaline kicked in. “Let’s pull forward, guys,” shouted our river guide from the back of the raft. The seven of us stabbed our paddles into the waves, exhilarated. Just moments before, the scene had been anything but frantic. We’d all been drifting in the raft in calm emerald-coloured water in the foothills of the Himalayas. The thrill of riding whitewater rapids on one of the world’s legendary rivers; the Ganges and taking a plunge in its sacred waters, draws many to the mountain town of Rishikesh during the paddling season from September to June every year. With recommendations from an Indian whitewater rafting association and several guides, I select Aquaterra Adventures. The owners have been rafting since the 1990s and run an elegant hotel called Atali Ganga, a 35-minute drive from Rishikesh, tucked in a peaceful, forested mountainside.