Nestled in the foothills of the Himalaya, Mountains, on the banks of what the Indian people call “Mother Ganga”, is the city of Rishikesh, India. Rishikesh, is a trekkers dream. It doesn’t matter if you want an easy stroll along the Ganges, or a hardcore excursion straight up a mountain side, because there’s something for everyone. One of my favorite places to pass a lazy afternoon is at Neer Gaddu Waterfall, which is a simple 30 minute trek. Here is how to find and enjoy the tranquility of Neer Gaddu Waterfall.
How to Get There
Only about 6 kilometers east of the Topovan area of Rishikesh is one of the many precious gems of the Himalayas. You can easily access the falls by car, scooter, motorcycle, or by trekking from the main road. Before you head up the gravel path though you’ll need to buy an entrance ticket from the little shop down on the paved road. The fee is about 20 INR for Indians and 50 INR for foreigners. The Indian people always charge foreigners more, so don’t be surprised. It’s just the way it is. You may be asked for your entrance ticket or you might not, but I wouldn’t risk it.
Head up the gravel road another kilometer or two and you’ll find Neer Gaddu Falls. You can’t miss it as there are always cars parked there and you’ll also see a little dhaba (Indian café) on the right. There really isn’t a designated parking area, so you just have to pull over to the side and park the best that you can near the dhaba.
The trek is pretty easy and consists of a climb up hill to 4 different levels of the waterfall. The first section has a beautiful little bridge and good swimming hole for swimming. There is also a little dhaba there where trekkers often enjoy Maggie (Top Raman Indian style) and a chai tea. The second level is my favorite. It’s nestled deep into the trees and the sound of rushing water echoes through hills. Take your time, go for a swim in the brisk mountain stream, or just sit back and relax in the beauty of the Himalaya Mountains.
What to Bring
The final two falls are about an additional kilometer or two straight up, but the climb is relatively easy. Those falls look a lot like the lower ones but just don’t have as much foot traffic. The higher you go, the more tranquility you’ll find. At the top there is another bridge and swimming area. As is typical Indian style, there are no washrooms so nature will have to suffice if you feel the urge. I recommend planning to spend at least several hours at the falls and wear good shoes or boots. You also might want to bring a light jacket or sweater because it can get a little chilly after a swim, especially since most of the area at the falls is in the shade. Also, don’t forget your swimsuit, a camera for all those selfie shots, and a towel.