Kumaon Kayak Road Trip


After a few days of resting and chilling out in Rishikesh we decided on returning to the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. On our radar were a couple of rivers that we saw when driving over to the River Kali. So with Puran’s jeep loaded, Ute, Stanzin and myself headed up into the mountains, over a pass and finally down to the town of Bageshwar. We checked out the Upper Saryu, a short half day section then the following day we put on at Bageshwar and kayaked the next canyon.  With the clearest water we have ever encountered in the Himalayas we also found some great rapids and good drops in a stunning jungle gorge.

We caught up with Puran and stayed the night in Seraghat. Luckily we were invited to stay with a retired soldier since we couldn’t find any hotels or guesthouses here. The next morning we put back on the Saryu for a couple of days and again with some great rapids all set in some stunning scenery reminiscent of Kiplings Jungle Book. After finishing in Pancheswar, Puran drove us up to Pithoragarh and then to the Goriganga River. We checked out the Upper section but the character of the Goriganga was completely different to what we had encountered on the Saryu.  So Stanzin and myself kayaked the Lower section of the Goriganga, negotiating big rapids, huge holes and working our way down the brown mess of whitewater.

Our final river to paddle was the Ramganga -  and what a river it was. The first gorge was unbelievable with fantastic whitewater and a very remote feel. Finally we were getting views of the snowcapped high Himalayan mountains which made up for the large mellow section after the first gorge.

We spent the night on a sandy beach with just animal footprints. With plenty of drift wood Stanzin made a fire to keep the leopards away! The following day saw us kayaking some fantastic whitewater, the river steepened up and we were scouting every drop.  The whitewater was never ending and as far as the eye could see was another drop, then another and another one. The water was crystal clear, there was no-one around and we were in whitewater heaven!!

Our final night was spent at a great government run hotel on the Almora ridge. The following morning we enjoyed a relaxed breakfast watching the sun bring life to the snowcapped mountains before driving back to Rishikesh to meet up with Tom and our final kayaking trip of the year.

For more information about our Uttarakhand kayaking adventures in Incredible India please follow the link.

Steve Brooks