Come spring and it’s time for Himachal Pradesh to gear up for the sport of White Water Rafting. The untamed rivers in the upper Himalayas are amongst the best for a thrilling experience. Chennab in Lahaul, troche search Ravi near Chamba, sales Sutlej near Shimla, and Beas near Kullu are the four major rivers that traverse through the state.
Melting ice from their snow fed sources has already started gushing water into these rivers, providing ample opportunity for challenging water sports. These rivers are nothing unlike others. There are stretches when they become fierce and foam up, lashing heavily against rocks, and swirling along mountains as they rise and fall.
The task is challenging. Braving river rapids in inflated Dinghies is no child’s play, and yet the adrenaline gush that surges through the veins makes the risk worth taking.
White water rafting in Sutlej, near Shimla
One of the most challenging rivers to raft in the Indian Himalayas is the Sutlej. Rafting on Sutlej is possible around the stretches that cover Tattapni. The place gets its name from the sulphur springs in the region. It is 50 km from Shimla and can be easily reached by car.
Three different rafting stretches have been marked here according to the degree of difficulty. The first is a stretch of 3km at Sunni, a small village on the banks of Sutlej. The easiest of them all, it entertains even the non-swimmers.
The next stretch extends 12 km in Chabba, and it offers medium difficulty, and is more exciting than the one at Sunni. Grade II rapids flow through this stretch, and it takes about an hour and a half to reach Tattapani.
The base for the most sought after rafting excursion begins at Pandowa. The first stretch in the region is Luhri to Pandowa, which is a 20 km stretch, but novices are advised to stop at Patakhra, from where the river takes a rather sour turn with Grade VI rapids lashing through the river course.
Another stretch is from Pandowa to Tattapani, which is a 25km stretch with Class III and IV rapids. The last section down the river is a 30 km stretch from Pandowa till Kadhai Ka Fer.
White water rafting in Ravi near Chamba
Slowly and steadily, the Chamba Valley too has been able to find a spot on the adventure map of the country by sporting white river rafting on an increasing scale.
This year, the government of the state and the tourism department are organizing a rafting carnival at Ravi near Chamba starting from June 2. The carnival will have three categories of competition, including sprint, salalam and marathon.
White Water Rafting in Chandrabhagga (Chenab) in Lahaul
Sep 2011 was the year to mark the opening of the Lahaul and Spiti area for water sports including river rafting. Koksar, the gateway to Lahaul Spiti is the starting point for river rafting in the region. From there, a 90 kms stretch upto Tandi, which is the point where Rivers Chandra and Bhaga merge to make the Chnadrabhaga (Chennab) entering through Pattan Valley.
There is another route from here. This one leads from Darcha to Udaipur, on a 70 km stretch on the Keylong-Leh Route.
White Water Rafting in Beas near Kullu
River Rafting along the mighty Beas in Kullu and Manali also offers unlimited excitement. The rafting season is Kullu begins in the month of April, and extends up to end of June, just before the monsoons arrive.
The base point is Pirdi, 4 km ahead of Kullu. From here a 14 km stretch up to Jhiri comprises Grade II and III rapids, and therefore, suitable for even the novices. Pirdi is 45 km from Manali, and it is always advisable to spend the night at Kullu.
With river Beas the region has already earned a good repute among the kayaking community, and since it features Grade V rapids above Manali, Grade IV through Manali, and Grade III below the town, it offers plenty of opportunity for water rafting too.