Situated just north of Delhi, the state of Uttarakhand has some of the most varied whitewater in any state and also the holiest rivers to Hindus in India. From the big warm water of the Upper Ganges, to the Alpine style rivers such as the Pindar, Tons, Yamuna and the amazing Alaknanda River. It is the perfect region to improve your whitewater kayaking within some stunning Himalayan scenery!
The Upper Ganges and its Tributaries
Uttarakhand is a state in the northern part of India. With many sacred rivers, mountains and temples in the area, Uttarakhand is often referred to as Devbhumi, which translated means Land of Gods. The mighty Himalayas cover a lot of Uttarakhand including India's second highest peak, the 7816m Nanda Devi. However it is not just the high Himalayan that dominate, some 65% of the state is covered in forest! Two of Indias largest and holiest of rivers - the Ganges and Yamuna - originate from the high glaciers in Uttarakhand. The Valley of the Flowers, which is also a UNESCO site, contains meadows of Alpine flowers and is home to many endangered animals such as the black bear, blue sheep and snow leopards! To understand just the shear size of India, the state of Uttarakhand is slightly bigger than Switzerland.
The Ganges is one of the most renowned and talked about rivers in the world. It is the most sacred of rivers to Hindus and also the third largest rivers in the world by discharge. The start of the Ganges is at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers in Devprayag. Of the two confluences the Bhagirathi River is regarded as the source of the Hindu culture. The Alaknanda River is bigger and is generally considered as the source of the Ganges. The tributaries of the Alaknanda are also considered sacred, two of which Pindar and Mandakini can also be kayaked on this Adventure Trip.
The Tons River over on the far western state border is a classic Alpine style river where there has been very little tourism and is really off the beaten track! The Yamuna River also has an Alpine feel and with easy access points it gives us a variety of sections of whitewater depending on our goals and aims throughout the trip. Finally there is the Kali River on the far eastern side of the state that borders Nepal. With little road access it makes for a complete wilderness journey surrounded by lush jungle and pool drop rapids. It is the perfect introduction to multi-day whitewater kayaking.
Instructors / Coaches
All of our coaches / instructors are fully qualified through British Canoeing. They have a wealth of experience not only here in Austria but around the world. Our northern Indian experience is second to none, with us kayaking first descents, opening up forgotten gorges and exploring valleys and river systems on our Royal Enfield Bullet motorbike. We have become the source and knowledge of the rivers in the border state of Himachal Pradesh and we have had many articles over the years published about kayaking in Uttarakhand. Our local kayaking guides speak their local languages and are also fluent in Hindi and English, giving us a fantastic insight to the local communities that we might meet along the river banks.
You should have experience of kayaking Class III whitewater and though your roll does not need to be solid, you should be making at least 2-3 attempts to roll back up.We will be kayaking for around 4 - 5 hours a day, so though you do not need to be an Olympic Athlete you should have a certain amount of paddle fitness or stamina.
The maximum number of kayakers/clients for this trip will be 6. We will have a ratio of no more than 3 clients to 1 Kayak Instructor (2 instructors with 4 or more clients). All of our trips and courses will run with a minimum of 2 clients. This gives you plenty of whitewater actions and the opportunity to improve your kayaking technique throughout the trip. We also have at least 1 local kayaking guide with us.
Throughout the trip we will use private taxis. From Delhi airport you are met with a private taxi that will take you to Rishikesh to meet us. From then on when we are travelling to and from rivers in the mountains we have a private jeep. Finally to take you back to Delhi airport you will again have a private taxi. We do not take local buses or chicken buses as we like to say. It is far safer to have a private vehicle where we can dictate the driver's speed, when we want to stop to take photos, scout a rapid, go to the toilet or have a meal or tea, and of course it means we can get as close to the rivers as possible.
On the banks of the Alaknanda we will be spending a lot of time at Shivanandi. It is a place that we have come to love and have been coming every year, even before it officially opened! Traditional stone houses that offer 8 double rooms, all with an attached bathroom with solar heated hot water. Ute even helped to design some of the bathrooms and furniture in the rooms. Set away from the road with rice fields next to either side, you can watch rural Indian life going on around you while you drink a herbal tea or chai on the balcony. The views of the Alaknanda are stunning and of course you can either put-in or take-out of the river at the sandy beach in-front of the lodge.
There is nothing quite like listening to the sound of the river, especially in a luxury tented camp. Silversands is a place we have come to enjoy, after a fantastic breakfast we pick up our boats and warm across the golden sands to start kayaking on the Ganges. After a days kayaking we get to sit back, watch time drift by with a nice cup of tea in your hand and by the evening when the fire has started and so do the tales of river running, adventures and life on the road in India.
When we head to our multi-day adventure we stay a night in a local guest house and once we are on the river we camp under the stars of a stunning Himalayan sky and landscape.
In Shivanandi it is a Indian vegetable based diet with organic food sourced from the local villages and market. Full of flavour and not necessary spice you will get to know traditional, wholesome Indian food. If you think you cannot do without meat then we can order meat such as chicken or goat to supplement your diet.
At Silversands there are a range of meals, mainly Indian based but with the opportunity of having chicken bbq with lots of fresh salad.
On the road we eat at local Dhaba restaurants along the way, usually the meal of the days which will consist of rice, lentils, vegetables and roti (Indian bread).
For the multi-day trips we try to vary the meals depending on the duration of the river trip. Everyone helps out with the meals, with Steve and Ute overseeing the cooking on the MSR stove. It is a very communual affair!
Dates & Prices
We have tours planned on the following dates:
22 March - 04 April 2019
16 - 29 October 2019
04 - 14 November 2019
EUR 1800 per person.