White-water Rafting in Chenab A thrilling joy through the chilly rapids

Dr. Rakesh Bharti
“The danger of adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort.” Paulo Coelho
India is fast evolving as a most preferred destination for adventure lovers across the globe. Its geographical diversity in terms of mountains, beaches, oceans, rivers and deserts offers a wide opportunity for adventure sports. Out of all the adrenaline pumping adventures, River Rafting has attained the eminence of the most popular adventure sports in India. It provides an exotic holiday experience to the tourists who are in search of excitement, extra enthusiasm and have the desire to explore nature.
The voluminous rivers streaming down from Himalayas make India a top site for rafting. There are lots of places for river rafting in India to experience a thrill ride through the gushing waters of rivers. Northern rivers which flow from the Himalayas take you through rushing streams and beautiful landscapes providing a good dose of thrill and shrill. Rivers such as Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Indus, Zanskar, Beas, Spiti etc. offer `raft-worthy’ rapids and a trip down a river can be a great experience. Rafting in the river Chenab at Reasi is a recent addition in the list of most ideal destinations for adventure seekers.
Reasi, one of the hilly districts of Jammu and Kashmir has distinction to attract a count of tourists across the globe. It is most sought after place on the tourism map of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides being a popular pilgrimage destination for the Hindus in India, Reasi also offers various other possibilities to its visitors. Chenab is the major river flowing through the district. River rafting in Chenab is another tourist attraction in Reasi district. The rafting site is at Baradari Bridge which is approximately 27 kms away from Katra town in the way of Shiv Khori Shirne.
Rafting in Chenab is a life time experience and tourists love to spend some thrilling time in water after long hours of travel and yatra. It is the perfect destination to enjoy White Water Rafting experience. The rafting in River Chenab takes place throughout the year and is quite safe for all age groups.
The thought behind White Water Rafting in River Chenab at Reasi is to provide a thrilling joy to all the White Water Rafting lovers to promote adventure tourism in the district. The River Chenab runs through some mesmerising landscapes, giving rafters the opportunity to explore those wonders of nature, which are otherwise unreachable through land routes.
The rafting usually commences from Gujjar Kothi almost 3 kms upstream from Base Camp Baradari Bridge and culminates at Dera Baba Banda Bahadur. Rafting in the river Chenab comprises of four stretches and is supervised by qualified professional guides. The expert teams of guides adopt all the safety measures and begin the ride with a few relaxing and relatively small rapids. The teams are authorised by Department of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir. Rafting in Chenab is pretty much safe, especially when you try 1.5 km route up to Reasi Bridge where rapids are not that much treacherous. This stretch is especially meant for the children of 5+ and the elderly people of 70+ ages. If one really wants to feel the thrill of rafting, three more stretches are there in the list. One stretch of 3km starts from Gujjar Kothi and culminates at the Reasi Bridge. This stretch comprises of three rapids two of them are quite fascinating. One is Dragon’s Tale and the other is Curve A. Rafters can feel the thrill of both the rapids during winters as well as summers. These rapids are ideal for first-time rafters. They include small waves with little or no obstruction and pose no real danger for the people on the raft. These rapids can be enjoyed with the whole family for a fun ride on the water. They have clear passages and require very slight manoeuvering.
The second stretch of 10-12 km actually exposes the rafters to more exhilarating rapids. This stretch is filled with lush green surroundings. It starts from Gujjar Kothi and culminates at Dera Baba. It takes more than two hours to reach Dera Baba Banda Bahadur, where rafters can also camp for the night at the river bank. It is all about maneuvering the raft through rapids with increased water velocity or turbulence.
Once, the rafters cross the Reasi Bridge there is a flat section of two-kilometer and afterwards rafters venture into the fourth rapid namely Curve B. Here, the rafters experience the thrills of eddies which challenge the guts of the rafters. Adding extra charm to the ride then comes the fifth rapid namely Rigu’s T named after Rigu Singh Jamwal, one of the renowned rafters in India. These rapids require precise manoeuvering. It is advisable to do a recce of the rapid before navigating it.
Rapids are graded based on the volume of water, the gradient, presence of rocks etc. The Rapids in Chenab are graded from I to III. Rapids graded I are the safest and easiest to navigate. These grades indicate an increase in the intensity and difficulty as the numbers go up. Rapids graded III are bit difficult and require precise maneuvering skills and of course the courage and guts to handle curvy, shaky rapids.
Another 25-kilometres rafting stretch from Gujjar Kothi brings the rafters to Akhnoor. Here, you can sail on the beautiful River Chenab and enjoy your love for thrill and adventure. This stretch after Dera Baba is mostly flat but rapids in winter add to the charm of rafting down the journey. The calmness of the river, the chirping sound of birds and the sound of the rushing river accompanies the rafters until they reach to Akhnoor.
It is a wonderful experience to try the exhilarating activity of river rafting in River Chenab, and satisfy the passionate adventurist within. Riding on a raft over rough, dangerous parts of fast-flowing River Chenab triggers adrenaline rush in the body. Swish past the whirling rapids, gushing water cascades and drift along the river current would really test your dare and stamina. Witnessing the alluring beauty of the nature alongside the river bank adds another charm to the journey. Break away from the monochromatic schedule of life and add an adventurous colour to it.
The thrill of rafting in the white waters of Chenab is an experience not to be missed. Both beginners and experts can engage in this activity. Adventure junkies will love this place for the mesmerizing beauty of the mountains. Moreover, rafting is an activity that will effortlessly get kids away from TV, mobile and other digital gadgets. Rafting brings them close to the nature and links them directly with the flow and rhythm of the natural world. Rivers hold within them a certain indefinable mystery which can be discovered through rafting. While in close touch with rivers, you can feel that rivers are veins of the earth having life, sound and movement.
(The Assistant Professor of Education Govt. Degree College jourian)