Riding the Rapids

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Imagine swirling along a turbulent river with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains with splashes of chilly water dousing you every now and then. The roar of the rapids and the breathtaking scenery is enough to make the wimpiest or laziest of people get out into the great, wide outdoors to feed the lurking daredevil within themselves. This is white-water rafting for you, an adventure sport that’s not only recreational but also quite extreme. Even though this sport still tends to be thought of as an activity reserved for the more adventurous type of people, over the last few years, it has gained a wide following. Curious beginners and children too are beginning to explore this outdoor activity.

All You Need to Know
White-water rafting is a challenging outdoor activity that uses an inflatable raft-like boat to navigate the white waters of a river using oars. Each raft can typically hold four to twelve persons (including the guide who is familiar with the river), who propel the raft forward using specific techniques to manoeuvre white-water obstacles. It is practiced mainly in the upper reaches where the water is wild and white as it froths and foams, crashing against narrow gorges, rocky outcrops and falls at deep gradients. The suitable period for white-water rafting depends on the adequacy of water volume. Thus, September to November and March, April and May are appropriate months to indulge in this adventure sport. There are several companies across India that offer the white-water rafting experience to groups of people. You will be briefed with the necessary instructions before embarking on this exciting sport. The average cost of a white-water rafting package is Rs. 1,500- Rs. 2,500 per person.

Rapid Classifications
Rapids are broken up into different classes according to the difficulty and danger involved. They range from one to six, with each class requiring a certain level of skill that could vary from basic paddling skills to the advanced white-water experience. Class 1, for instance, is ideal for beginners and involves rafting through small waves and obstacles, while Class 5 and Class 6 are extremely difficult and traverse violent rapids. The latter two levels should only be undertaken by those who have had previous experience in white-water rafting.

Essentials for River Rafting
If you are a healthy person with no fear of water, then you can be sure of really enjoying the white-water rafting experience to the fullest. Even non swimmers find it to be an enjoyable experience. It’s important to wear the provided life jacket and water-proof pouch that should be well secured to your body if you wish to carry any medication that you might require such as inhalers or insulin. Slap on a good amount of sunscreen too. Carrying your keys, wallet or mobile phone must obviously be avoided. Lastly, if you really wish to click photographs, your best bet would be to carry a disposable waterproof camera.

Raft-Worthy Rapids
India has a wide range of river rafting regions, which suit amateurs and professionals alike. The rivers in the Himalayas are among the best in the world for rafting with rapids that satiate the adventurous streak in any adrenaline junkie. The snowfed mountain rivers wind down the Himalayas making it a perfect vantage point to ride the rapids. But that’s not to say that one cannot experience this thrilling sport elsewhere in the country.
Coorg: Misty mountains aside, Coorg in South India is known to offer an exhilarating white-water rafting experience. The Kali River in the Dandeli National Park in particular is a perfect for a rush of adventure.
Ladakh: The surreal landscape complete with tiny villages, monasteries and snow-capped peaks teamed with the gushing river water of the Zanskar River offers exciting rafting options. Be prepared for a challenging experience!
Rishikesh: One of the main hubs in North India for white-water rafting enthusiasts, the rapids here are graded from one to six, perfect for beginners and professional rafters alike. They’ve been given interesting names such as Three Blind Mice, Sweet Sixteen and Marine Drive!
Maharashtra: Drive a short distance from Mumbai to Kolad where the River Kundalika provides eager adventurists the chance to go rafting in a beautiful locale. The best time to visit and experience this adventure sport is from June to March.
Arunachal Pradesh: This northeastern state is home to the mighty Brahmaputra, making it one of the most sought-after rafting destinations.
A rafting trip will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Volume 1 Issue 12

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