Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Himalayan Diaries - Day 6 – Shivpuri to Dehradun, March 7, 2012

From visions of the mass murderer massacring all the snorers, I woke up to the sounds of water flowing by close to the tent. It was 6 in the morning perhaps. The sight of the Ganga flowing by serenely, the mellow sun, the mountains, the fresh air was just too much to resist and I got out of the tent quickly. Tea was arranged by our hosts and all other guests, the raucous youngsters who got drunk the previous night, were fast asleep. We had the whole beach to ourselves. On the opposite side of the river there was a camp which was full of foreign students doing yoga and stuff.
Binoculars being put to use
Another angle
Kiri in silhoutte

Koni, Ranjan, Vasu and Kiri played volleyball while I took some pics and explored the neighbourhood. After breakfast, toast, eggs, paranthas, puri bhaji, the organisers ferried us across the river and took us upstream for river rafting. It is 11 kms upstream. I decided to get off at the camp after the 11 kms and join the gang at Rishikesh - another 16 kms downstream. The jeep that took us there had the raft fitted on top of it and Aditya sat on top of the raft. In the half hour drive Koni fell asleep in the back. 
Aditya watching the game in progress
Tea again
The heat picks up

At the take off spot we were quickly fitted with life jackets, helmets, paddles and told the rules of the game. Paddle forward, backward, left and right, what to do if we capsize and so on and so forth. For the first time in my life I wore life jackets that gave me the confidence that I'd float! The helmets were strapped on, lightweight paddles given and we took our positions in the raft. The moment we entered the river our instructor asked us to jump into the icy waters. I declined but the rest jumped in. We rafted down the Ganga, for 11 kms, in rapids that were less than 2 (in terms of their level of danger). But even that was interesting as you see how powerful the current can get, how overpowering nature can get and how small you can be before it. The raft gets tossed and tumbled over but you paddle, keep your balance, your calm and go through it. Vasu, Aditya, Kiri had long swims in the water, floating behind the raft, while Koni, Mohan and Vicky jumped in.
Some last minute arrangements before rafting

I got out at the camp and so did Kiri. There was a small break there and two other rafters joined the gang - an elderly couple from Pune. The two rapids we crossed were enough to give an idea of what could happen in a big rapid. The next 11 kms had a rapid that was measured at 4.5! Kiri and I went across the river with Vicky and Mohan and the luggage to our cars and down to Rishikesh where we stopped at the Laxman Jhula. The chants, the people, the energy was very soothing and we spent a good hour eating bhel, masala dosa, drinking lime soda and picking up some ganga jal for Kiri. I could spend days on end at this place. And I even got myself a lovely masala dosa as well!

After an hour or so we got a call from the others that they were on the way to Dehradun and we followed them to KFC, Rajpur Road where the ravenous rafters were full of tales over soft and juicy chicken. We retired to the guest house, played some cricket and ended the day once again with songs, booze and some more madness. Vasu and I visited a relative of his in faraway Nanda ki chowki, a lovely nook away from the town.


Rajendra said...

I remember the rafting we did long ago in Tennessee someplace- I think it was the Ocoee river. It was fun. The ravenous rafters sounds like a Perry Mason title if you add 'The Case of the' before that.

Harimohan said...

I think one big attraction is that the swimmers (even some non-swimmers) get to swim and float and dive around in the Ganga. Its really placid at times and with the mountains all around, makes a beautiful setting.