The year of 4 springs: the Indian Himalayas


The snow had been good at home in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria and I had skied some deep powder and explored a new area earning my turns ski touring into some amazing powder bowls with Jakub, Stocki and Claudia. However, India was calling and I was about to experience Holi, the Festival of Colour.

With a few days in Rishikesh to relax and getting used to the heat, I headed down to the main Chowk (junction) to see what it was all about. Holi is one of the most vibrant festivals there is in the Hindu calendar and it seemed everyone was there to party. The music was pumping, people were going crazy and tikka colour was flying everywhere. Dogs, cows and donkeys were also caught up in the mayhem and I was getting ambushed from all sides.

It took me a day or two to wash, scrub and more washing until the colour was finally gone and just in time for Maarten and Mieke’s arrival. It was their first time kayaking in India and we where planning on spending it around Rishikesh, the Ganges and its tributaries. A couple of days kayaking on the Holiest of Rivers in the Hindu religion gave them some BIG water action. As the whitewater is close to the source of the Ganges the river is clean, warm and really friendly with pool drop rapids, stunning scenery and now wildlife in-between the rapids.

Next we moved further upstream to the Alaknanda River basing ourselves out of the stunning Shivanandi River Lodge. We have been going back to Shivanandi year after year since it was first built. Its stunning location, amazing food and being so close to rural Himalayan life are just some of the reasons why we spend so much time there.

With different sections of whitewater to kayak on the Alaknanda, Stanzin, Pawan and myself had a great time showing Maarten and Mieke just why it is a great place to paddle and the perfect way to start the coming 2018 season. We even managed a low water trip to the Pindar river.

As the trip came to a finish, we had one more paddle down the Ganges before saying our goodbyes to Mieke and Maarten. It had a been a fantastic trip, full of vibrancy, energy and the unexpected that can only be experienced in Incredible India.

Stanzin was now in New Delhi finalising his visa for Austria and I would next see him at Munich Airport ready for what was shaping up to be a mega season for us in the Alps and Spring number 2 - The Soča Valley in Slovenia.

Our Indian Himalaya Class 3-4 Kayaking trips run in Spring and Autumn. With just the minimum of 2 people required for our trip to guarantee to run, it is the perfect way to kayak, explore and absorb everything that India has to offer.