River rafting is gaining popularity as an exciting adventure sport in India. The turbulent water on the river Ganga provides good opportunity for white water rafting in India. Tourists visiting the northern parts of India adjacent to Ganga do have great opportunities to try out river rafting. However, a planned tour with an expert river rafting company will give you more pleasure, thrill and more importantly safety. Proper planning, preparation, guidance and safety measures are to be carried out.
Rishikesh is one of the best and popular river rafting locations with experienced adventure tour operators and guides in the country. The monsoon months from June till August are not open for river rafting in the northern parts of India predominantly for safety reasons. The water level on Ganga goes up very high during these months which are not recommended for beginners.
Are you planning for the river rafting trip in India? Keep the following in mind before you go:
Consultation with the physician: It is always advisable to consult the physician before you plan to go for a river rafting trip. Check if you are perfectly healthy or if there’s any medical condition to be addressed. You should be fit for such extreme adventure sports. In case you have had a history of certain ailments, it is advisable to let the tour instructor know about it. Further you and your team members should be emotionally and mentally ready to run the river.
Rafting Packages: Check the river rafting packages provided by the tour operator. Do not get swayed away by the offers. If you are a first timer, choose a rafting package with grade II or grade III rapids. In case, you wish to take children along with you, then you should stick to Grade I only. Also make sure that the operator provides you with a professional guide or instructor. Having a trained guide is mandatory for any river rafting trip for beginners in India. They are familiar with the terrain and water where you are taken for rafting and follow their safety tips and instructions while rafting.
Swimming skills: While you don’t necessarily need to know swimming, having the knowledge boosts your confidence to jump into a raft for river rafting in India where you will experience varied grades of rapids. Though experience in river rafting is not asked for in Grades I to III, you should still have the skills. It’s not difficult to learn the basic required skills with the clear instructions given to you before the rafting begins. But decent experience of white-water rafting is necessary for Grades IV and VI as these grades are supposed to be high on the difficulty levels.
Paddling: Paddling is also an important part of the expedition. You may have to paddle when needed to successfully navigate a set of rapids. Though you would be given sufficient instructions for paddling, you need to have arms and legs in proper shape and strength to maneuver when required. It is recommended to exercise for a few weeks at-least to increase your stamina and strength before you go on a rafting adventure.
Be prepared with the belongings: Once you are in the raft, you cannot turn back before completion of the stretch. So, if it’s sunny, make sure you apply sunscreen to avoid being burnt. If there are certain medicines you need to carry, put them in a water proof bag. In most cases, you will not be allowed to carry a bag but you can always keep a towel and a pair of spare cloths in the vehicle that will drop you to the rafting location. Wear synthetic clothes during the adventure as it would not retain water and would dry up fast.
Essentials: Your adventure tour operator will provide you with life jacket, helmet and paddle. Wear the one that fits your size well and double check if they are properly strapped and won’t come off mid way. Though it is fairly safe to go rafting with certified IRF and Rescue 3 instructors, remember that your safety lies in your own hands. Obey the guidelines and instructions laid down for everyone to follow for the stretch of river you choose to go rafting. Once you complete the stretch successfully, share reviews about the experience on platforms like Trip Advisor and Google reviews. Help others benefit from your adventure to pick the right tour operator to go rafting with.