RAFTING – THE LEISURE SPORT
Rafting a.k.a. white water rafting is a playful outdoor activity in which an inflatable raft is used to travel with the current of water bodies like rivers. It is increasingly becoming the favorite adventure sport of people. Since the mid-1970’s it has gained extensive popularity all over the world. In India, rafting has become very popular among the people as a choice of spending their vacations. It is considered as an agro sport as it involves a lot of danger.
In India, river rafting is confined mainly to the Himalayan Rivers spurting between thickly forested valleys and rivers like Alaknanda, Indus, Bhagirathi and Teesta. These river valleys offer a wild experience to tourists worth remembering for a lifetime. These rivers make the rafting experience more exciting because they offer a lot of rapids which make the water appear white and hence the name white water rafting.
A typical white water raft is made of multi-layered rubber or PVC fabrics. Their lengths vary from 20 feet by 8 feet for numerous people to 5 feet for carrying a single person. On the basis of their difficulties, the rapids are categorized into six grades from 1-6, 6 being the most difficult to overcome. It is so dangerous that trying to overcome it is considered to be a suicidal venture.
The best place for white water rafting in India is from Shivpuri to Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh with a stretch of 16 km. This stretch has an abundance of whirlpools and as many as 13 rapids. The best season to go there is between June to September. Other such rafting destinations include the Zanskar river valley between Padum and Zimo regions which are at an elevation of 12000 feet. The Teesta river which is the main river between Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hill is another river rafting destination which has many rapids that intensify the rafting experience of the tourists. The Bhagirathi River, The Kundalika River at Kolad, and Brahmaputra River are among other favorite white water rafting destinations of tourists.
In a nutshell, river rafting allows people to explore nature’s concealed scenic beauty and also offers them an exhilarating experience and thus is the leading choice of adventure sports among tourists.