Kayaking and White Water Rafting - Devprayag to Rishikesh

Sachin and Nitin Sahni with a team of close friends took on the challenges of kayaking and white water rafting over River Ganga from Devprayag to Rishikesh. They do a recap of their five day trip to encourage dare-devils…

On a shoestring budget

We managed the five day exciting trip in a budget of Rs 5000 only, covering food, rent for all equipment, fees for excellent guides and accommodation! We’ve been rafting many times before so we added kayaking to test our appetite for peril cum fun. We were safe no doubt with our high level of physical fitness, slight familiarization with Ganga, excellent supervision of our 3 guides and of course the grace of Mother Ganga.

Losing all touch with urbanity and the cellphone, we were pretty smug in our kayak - a meditative cocoon on the river.

Out in the valley: Devprayag-Vyas ghat-Beasi-Rishikesh

Starting off from Devprayag, we lost track of all human life on the banks of the turbulent Ganga soon enough. After a day of exciting rowing, and manning the oars as per our river guide’s instructions, and lolling on sandy beaches after a fitful lunch of tinned beans and juice, we were ready to meet the stars and light a bonfire at night at Vyas ghat in Rajaji National Park, to the call of leopards, fox and wolves! The second night’ s halt at Beasi was no less exciting. By the third evening we had reached the finish line at Rishikesh.

Braving the current

River rafting on Ganga, RIshikesh

Rafting is as easy as singing a nursery rhyme in comparison to kayaking! The times that the kayak overturned in the white froth it was mandatory to get to the surface within crucial 30 seconds! I did manage that a couple of times with my newly learnt skills, but help was never far. Rapids, eddies and rocks kept the adrenaline flowing giving us a great high as we moved down the river, sometimes braving the current to go against it too! Losing all touch with urbanity, not even a cellphone that could connect to the world, we were pretty smug in our kayak - a meditative cocoon on the river.

Kayaking needs a special skill set

Kayaking requires a special set of skills and attitudes, the first of which is fighting fear, and the second is constant alertness. It is vital to be able to judge the track ahead and the magnitude of upcoming waves as well as quiet eddies. Getting caught in an eddy means hanging upside down from a moving fan three and a half feet underwater and rescuing yourself! Go top that! Stamina becomes a secondary need only. Primarily it is an ability to keep calm and skill at physical manoeuvring that keeps danger at bay. Good flexibility and harmony is needed.

Meditation on the waves of roaring Ganga!

Devprayag - confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Ganga

This is automatic meditation when the world is shut out completely. Chirping of birds and sound of gushing water attunes the senses to a beautiful silence and empties the mind to fill it up with the Creator’s idea of beauty and peace.

Rafting in India

White water rafting camp, Shivpuri, Uttarakhand, India

River Ganga may be the best known white-water rafting location in India, but there are other rivers equally scintillating.... Agreed that the Himalayas provide most of the suitable locations for river rafting and kayaking. Many camps are organized alongside the 70 km stretch from Devprayag to Rishikesh, itself.

In North India, rivers Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Yamuna, Kalisor, Bhilangana and Tons have several inviting stretches for amateur as wella s professional rafters and kayakers. Further north in the state of Ladakh, and way off to the north-east, the states of Assam and Sikkim also offer interesting river stretches.

Anisha Sharma
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