What is it about danger that the perfectly sane mind loves so much? Is it the aberration from the mundane world we live in? Is it the heart pounding high and the wobbly knees that you get afterwards, the adrenaline rush or is it simply the thrill of flirting with it and getting a sigh of relief after coming back to safety.
Challenging Mother Nature at her furious best pleases the thrill seeker in us. And white water river rafting is one of the best ways to experience the raw power of the swirling river. Wrestling the unruly rapids with just an inflatable raft and a paddle is a challenging recreational activityand adventure enthusiasts take to it like a duck to water.
White water rafting in India is almost exclusively confined to the northern rivers which flow southwards from the Himalayas, gushing between densely forested mountains and through steep gorges. The Ganga and its tributaries; the Kali Ganga, the Indus, the Zanskar, the Teesta and the Rangeet are some of the rivers on which river running has been developed. Other rivers with raft-worthy rapids include Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Sutlej, the Chenab, the Chandrabhaga, the Beas and the Spiti rivers. Whether the expedition’s just a few hours of getting soaked and experiencing the thrills of a high-action Hollywood flick- or it stretches over a few days in which you spend time camping and trekking as well- this is an experience not to be forgotten.
When to go for River Rafting:March-April and August-September
Where to Stay–There are resorts that offer scenic venues and for the adventure enthusiast there are campsthat are not far from the town but close to the gurgling waters. Some interesting options include:
- Rishikesh: For rafting camps in Shivpuri, the one night two day packages ranges from Rs. 2,250 to Rs. 3,800. These include leading operators like Snow Leopard Adventures, Tiger Paw Adventures, Markhor Adventures, Apex Adventures and more.
- Zanskar:The 10 nights 12 days packages, priced from Rs. 60,000 onwards is for river rafting tours.
- Ladakh: You can enjoy the perfect combination of a Short Trek, Camping, Overland Safari, Sightseeing andWhitewater Rafting priced from Rs. 24,000/- onwards.
What to bring:
A love for adventure and a passion for the great outdoors is top priority. More practical things to pack include a good sunscreen, dark glasses, shorts, T-shirts (or other light, quick-dry clothing) and suitable shoes- sneakers or heavy duty rubber sandals may be a good idea. Also pack in a windproof jacket, a light sweater, towels, and a flashlight- and don’t forget the first aid box and the camera!
River rafting in some areas may require special permits from the government. Areas close to India’s international borders, such as Nubra Valley, Sikkim, Lahaul and Spiti may be off-limits to foreigners without a valid permit. Before venturing out with your oar and your life jacket, make sure you’ve got all the necessary permits which are needed.
Riverside tent camps exist along all the main routes, especially in Garhwal. These will generally consist of Swiss tents where accommodation is on a shared basis, with separate dry-waste toilet tents. All camps have their own arrangements for dining and entertainment- the latter invariably consisting of bonfires, beach volleyball and singing.
Best Camping Sites in India
If the idea of spending the night under the moon and starry skies, rejoicing around a bonfire with your friends and just enjoying the beauty of nature excites you, then camping is the ideal way to spend your holiday. While camping one can indulge in other outdoor activities including bird watching, going for safaris, exploring the nearby surroundings or simply relaxing in the lap of nature. India with its beautiful locations, diverse forests, plains, mountains and valleys offers a large variety of choices of exciting campgrounds.
v Ladakh -Best time to visit: May to September
v Uttarakhand -Best time to visit: April to July
v Himachal Pradesh -Best time to visit: March to October
v Rajasthan -Best time to visit: October to March
v Kerala -Best time to visit: October to March
Guidelines for Camping
v Always carry light weight luggage in order to avoid any inconvenience during the journey.
v Ensure that you have enough space in your luggage to bring back some souvenirs of the journey.
v Light colored cotton clothes are ideal, but do not forget to carry few woolen garments as you may face a drop in temperature at nightfall.
v Carry first aid kit and some common medicines, as infection and other illness may affect you any time.
v If you are camping by the beach side then ensure that the tents are strong enough to resist strong wind.
v Pack sunscreen lotion and bug repellents.
v Always carry drinking water with you and some snacks like biscuits, soya sticks, chips or dry fruits with you
Camping tour operators
Although you can carry your tents, gear up and go camping, there are many camp operators who provide camping facilities in various regions in India. Given below are the major campsites and that operate camping in India:
Tsomoriri camp (May to September)
West Ladakh Lake (June to September)
Sangla Valley Camping (June to October)
v Spiti Valley:
Sarchu Camp on Manali Leh highway (222kms from Manali)
v Himachal Pradesh:
Dharamshala- Kareri Lake Campsite
Shimla- Camp Potters Hil
Mashobra- Camp Mashoobra Greens
Chail: Jungle Livinn
Kotgarh: Banjara Thanedhar
Riverine Woods near Corbett National Park
Rishikesh- Rishikesh Valley Camp, The Camp 5 Elements
Joshimath- Chardham Camp
Ramnagar- Corbett Woods Resort
Sawai Madhopur- Sher Bagh
Pushkar- Camp desert
Chhatra Sagar Nimaj and Manvar camps (Jodhpur/Jaisalmer highway)
Gir National Park- Lion Safari Camp
v Madhya Pradesh:
Kanha National Park camp
Coorg- Coorg Planters Camp
Wayanad- Seagot Camping
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