A class IV kayaking adventure with the opportunity of several first commercial descents in the heart of the Indian Himalayas!
With the opportunity to kayak rivers with very different characters and styles fro the Buddhist high altitude northers reaches of Himachal Pradesh, to the Alpine environment of the Kullu Valley down to the jungle warm waters at the south of the state. This really is a special trip with some of the rivers only having 1 or 2 descents to date. A rare and amazing Kayaking Adventure Trip!
Himachal Pradesh - India
Himachal Pradesh is something of a mystic state, a conservative but not fanatical religious region with many temples and of course plenty of myths to go with it! The state borders some of the most well known names in India such as Kashmir, Ladakh and the Punjab thus giving it the true gateway to the Himalayas. It is also this gateway that makes mapping a huge problem and total nightmare! There are no decent maps available, like those found in Ladakh and really the only option is to spend hours looking at Google Earth and then actually heading out on pre-expedition trips to get a true visual take on just what the expedition will entail.
This is how we plan all of our expeditions in Himachal Pradesh, it is a way so that everything can run smoothly and safely. It is not just a drop into the unknown, though the unknown is certainly there as you cannot see down to the river below in a deep gorge. However, we have kayaked every river on our trip and so you can be rest assured we know what is coming around the corner, the style and character of the river giving you the assurance of having to concentrate on your line and enjoy being in some of the most spectacular places and rivers on the planet.
Situated to the north of Manali is the Buddhist Valley of Lahaul. Completely closed off in the winter due to the huge amounts of snowfall it is one of the most stunning and desolate places in India. It is a drive that takes us over the famous 4000m Rohtang Pass, where many a Bollywood film has been made, before winding our way down to a remote dhaba and our put-in. The Chandra River is an absolute gem, fantastic whitewater awaits us with a backdrop of big mountains with hanging glaciers, waterfalls pouring into the river and a deep blue sky that blankets us throughout the day.
The Beas Gorge is an amazing couple of days of whitewater in the lush jungle, the water is warm, the whitewater is great and it is the perfect way to get used to carrying equipment in our kayaks and a fantastic warm up for the rest of the adventure trip!
Information for the other rivers that are in our sights for this trip will be given when we all finally meet up in Manali. Needless to say there are some that have only ever seen 1 or 2 descents in their lifetime!
Instructors / Coaches
All of our instructors and guides are fully qualified through British Canoeing and have a wealth of experience teaching kayaking and leading expeditions and trips not just in Austria but around the world. Our northern Indian experience is second to none! We have kayaked first descents, opened up forgotten gorges and explored valleys that western or Indian tourists rarely visit. We have published many articles over the years about kayaking in Himachal Pradesh and we have become the main source of information and experience of running rivers in Himachal Pradesh.
You should have experience of kayaking Class IV whitewater and your roll should work the majority of the time, you should be making at least 2-3 attempts to roll up and not just bailing from your kayak straight away. We will be kayaking for around 5-6 hours a day, so though you do not need to be an Olympic athlete you should have a certain amount of fitness and stamina. If you have never multi-day kayaked before, we will start off with a short river to get used to this style of kayaking, after which the majority of rivers will be self-supported.
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 Guide (2 Guides with 4 or more clients). All of our trips and courses run with a minimum of 2 clients.
In Himachal Pradesh we use private taxis. This gives us the opportunity to stop when we want to take photos, scout a rapid, go to the toilet or have a meal or tea, it also means we get as close to the rivers as possible.
From Delhi to Manali there is a luxury air conditioned overnight bus that leaves late afternoon and arrives in the morning. If you do not want to deal with a taxi to the bus station or if you are going to have to wait in Delhi for a long time then there is also the option of getting picked up at the airport in a private taxi that will take you all the way to the hotel in Manali.
We base ourselves in the town of Manali, a hill station set up in the time of the British Raj. It is situated in the northern part of the Kullu Valley and lies at an altitude of 2000 metres. Our hotel is situated in a quiet part between the old village and the new town. It is a family run hotel with clean, light rooms with attached bathrooms with hot water. The hotel restaurant has the perfect breakfast for our adventures and there is nothing like sitting back on your own private balcony or patio drinking fresh mint tea or hot, sweet chai and watching the colours change on the mountains all around!
When we are multi-day kayaking then we will be camping by the river on a sandy beach - you can either camp under the stars, a tarp or a tent. Just remember you have got to take your shelter in your kayak.
One of the main reasons we base ourselves in Manali is the variety of restaurants and extremely good food at unbelievable prices. There are some fantastic Indian restaurants offering flavoursome food such as Chicken Jaipuri or Maila Kofta and the breads such as the butter naan are amazing. If you fancy something other than Indian food then Manali again can offer you roast chicken and chips, roast lamb, chicken pepper steak and of course lets not forget pizza and Italian food. It is such a great feeling for the soul as well as the stomach to be able to eat such good food.
On the road we stop at local dhaba restaurants that serve tradition rice, lentil, vegetable and roti (bread) dishes.
On the river we cook as a team and for more information about our river menu plans just drop us an email.