ADVENTURE IN THE TURBULENT WATERS
The challenge of violent rivers is no less than that of the rugged mountains. The icy heights of the Himalayas are the source of some of India's mighty rivers. Fed by innumerable streams, they race along tortuous boulder-strewn beds, cutting deep gorges and breaking into silvery-white rapids.
With the intricate network of mountain rivers flowing through a myriad of different colours of rocky gorges, forests, flowers and high mountain villages, the Garhwal and Kumaon Hills provide ideal locales for the perfect water adventure.
The sport of white water river rafting calls for a triumph over the swift swirling river, as it gushes past spectacular mountains. It is practised mainly in the upper reaches where the water is wild and white as it frothes & foams, crashing against narrow gorges, rocky outcrops and falls at deep gradients.
KINDS OF ADVENTURE IN RAFTING
All the rivers can be graded on the basis of the water stretches and the adeptness required, to negotiate their waters. The grading ranges from 1 to 6, starting from calm water to moderate flow to extremely torrential flows.
There is, firstly, the pleasure of a gentle canoe trip in a lightweight alloy-metal craft, which holds two to three people. The gradient best suited for canoeing is the stage near the river's entry into the plains where the trip can be combined with moderate hiking and a naturalist holiday in the forest. For this, the suitable areas are Rishikesh, Dakpathar and the Ramganga in Corbett National Park .
For the slightly more adventurous, kayaking is appealing as it enables innovation on the river by a solitary oarsman or two, seated in tandem. The degree of difficulty would depend on the river gradient and its rapids.
BEST TIME TO GO RAFTING
The suitable period for river running depends on the adequacy of water. September- November and March- April- May are most appropriate. The equipment required is ordinary outdoor gear, goggles, antiseptic cream and a liking for getting wet!
RAFTING IN GARHWAL
In Garhwal region, the sacred river Ganga offers the professional as well as the amateur, the exhilaration of white water rafting. The Alaknanda & Bhagirathi are the main tributaries of the Ganga and meet at Devprayag, frothing from their racy descent. Their waters are of grade IV to V, challenging the expert to savour the thrill.
Down river from Devprayag, the Ganga changes into a pool drop river. This stretch of almost 70 kms. is perfect for amateur and the novice, for here the river offers some fine grade III rapids and two grade IV 'golf course' 4 kms. below Shivpuri village; each followed by rapids, the 'wall' at Byasi and the deep and placid pools.
Sandy beaches line the river at intervals, allowing river rafters to pull up alongside. The slopes on either side are covered with oak, pine, spruce and fir, with the occasional village and its terraced fields dotting the landscape. Wildlife is visible at a distance, comprising mainly of spotted deer, monkey, leopard, while multi-hued butterflies flit among flowering bushes. Spiritual retreats and ashrams overlook the river and add to the spiritual experience.
RAFTING IN KUMAON
In kumaon, the Kali Ganga (Sharda) flows down from the Nepal border through Kumaon Hills. The Kali and the Gori rivers meet at Jauljibi, where the water volume increases, offering adventure to professionals. For over 117 kms. from Jauljibi to Tanakpur its rapids are grade IV and more. The tough 3 days of rafting should be done by professionals.
Lower down among the forested slopes, the river become calmer offering the amateur a sporting challenge before flowing out into the plains of Uttranchal .
Mahakali Ganga River flows along the border between India and Nepal. A self-contained river journey as well as and expedition or mega trip upto Tanakpur can be undertaken. Rafting can also be undertaken through Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam in Mahakali River.
Potential Sites For White Water Rafting, Canoeing & Kayaking
There are many sites in garhwal and kumaon region of Uttranchal that can be tapped as the perfect sites for providing the pleasure of water sports. There are quite a few places, especially in the Garhwal region, which have a latent potential as tourist recreation centres and some hold immense potential for professional rafting.
Barkot to Bernigad. Both professional and tourist stretch.
Damta to Yamuna Bridge- both professional and tourist stretch.
Mori to Tuni - (Khoonigad) 30 kms tourist stretch.
Kaliasaur to Srinagar- 16 kms. Tourist stretch.
Srinagar to Bagwan- 20 kms. Tourist stretch.
Kaliasaur to Rishikesh.
Matli to Dunda- 12 kms. both professional and tourist stretch
Harsil to Uttarkashi. Dharasu to Chham- 12 kms. Both professional and tourist stretch.
Jangla to Jhala- 20 kms. Both professional & tourist stretch
Bhaldyana to Tehri- Both professional and tourist stretch.
Bhilangana river: Ghansali to Gadolia: 32 kms. Professional stretch.
River Mandakini: Chandrapuri to Rudraprayag 26 kms. Professional stretch.
River Maha Kali: Jauljibi to Tanakpur.