By Sai Deshmukh:
River rafting is perhaps one of the most exhilarating extreme sports invented by mankind ever. It is also known as ‘White water rafting’ owing to the foamy and whitish fast flowing river. The raft is an inflatable boat made up of multi-layered rubber or vinyl plastic. Tracing its development way back to 1800 when it was just a method of transportation, it has now become a rage worldwide from Costa Rica to India since mid-1970s. It was even included in Munich Olympic Games 1972.
When the river cascades from its origin in the mountains, this is the place to try the mettle for river rafting. Remember the childhood poem “Row row row your boat, gently down the stream…” this thrilling sport is the stark contrast to the poem. Team spirit and triumph over the swirling river cutting through the rocks are the demands of rafting. The minimum number of members on a raft is two and maximum is eight. The challenge of rebounds and bounces in canoe over the gushing water is beyond words!
Since white water rafting is an extremely dangerous sport, the river waters have been graded from grade 1 to 6 depending upon the potency of flow to cause accidents and serious injuries. There have been incidents where whole troops were swallowed up by the river in Mexico and U.S. However if certain necessary precautions are taken and guidelines followed, nothing can beat the ruggedness of the game. While rafting, even the ecological considerations like not disturbing the water flow and its flora fauna are taken into consideration and hence certain periods during the year are closed for this sport.
The rivers of north India like Ganges, Bramhaputra, Beas, and Indus supply to the thirst for man’s adventure. Ladakh, Rishikesh, Manali and Assam provide best of facilities and the gear. Competitions are held at Rishikesh during the period of September- November and March- May when the water in the Ganges is wildest and of appropriate volume.
So grab your goggles, oars and life jacket and head towards the Himalayas if you want a spine chilling and thrilling experience of getting wet!!