Assam, in India’s little-visited northeast, harbours a wilderness rafting experience that will soon disappear with the completion of a controversial dam.
Popularly referred to as the national river of India, the Ganges takes its name from the Gangotri Glacier where it originates in the western Himalaya. Draining a staggering 1,000,000 km2 basin, the Ganges is unquestionably the largestriver on the Indian subcontinent. Beginning in Uttarakhand asthe Bhagirathi River, it joins the Alaknanda River near the town of Deoprayag to form the Ganges before embarking on a 2510 km eastward journey until it finally empties into the Bay of Bengal inside Bangladesh.
Awoke at 6 am to a grey morning. It had rained continuously through the night and everything was drenched. As I struggled into a freezing cold wetsuit and pulled on a sopping wet spray jacket, I yearned for the sunny weather we had taken for granted at the start of our adventure.
An expedition down the Kali-Sarda can quite aptly be described as “a trip right out of The Jungle Book”: perfect weather, warm water, pristine wilderness, no roads, plentiful wildlife and big sandy beach campsites crisscrossed with fresh leopard tracks! I was expecting a fun-filled week dominated by aquatic adventures, but it was the beauty of the wilderness experience that took me completely by surprise.
The scenery on the Grand Canyon of the Zanskar rivals that of any river canyon in the world.. As the sound of distant blasting and pneumatic drills faded, replaced by the reassuring gurgle of the fast-flowing river, Sanjay said simply, “Now we are on our own.”
“It is is a very rocky one, so I need everyone to keep paddling through the rapid,” yells Sanjay in an attempt to be heard above the roaring river. “Speed is essential for us to steer and to avoid all the rocks; if it looks bad, then I’ll give you the ‘get down’ command, so just be ready for anything.”
As the sound of distant blasting and pneumatic drills faded, replaced by the reassuring gurgle of the fast-flowing river, Sanjay said simply, ‘Now we are on our own.’ Our expedition through western Ladakh