Nature's Wonders - Places

River Rafting @ Indus

We woke up on day five of our Himalayan safari brimming with excitement. Rafting on the Indus was the highlight of the day. Sadly, our last day in Leh, too. We had been following the course of Indus and just got to dip our feet in the river on the way from Srinagar to Kargil.

Rafting started at Indus, about a few kilometers outside Leh; the destination being the confluence of Indus and Zanskar, which we had viewed from top on the way to Leh from Uley Topko.

We were greeted in the raft by the raft guide by splashing water all over us. Cold water seeping in through the life jacket and helmet in fact heated up our exhilaration. And we were ready to row and hoped for some mighty rapids.

Though the grade of the rapids are not as high as those one would experience in Uttaranchal, the challenge here was the temperature. The temperature only added to the sheer adrenaline rush as we approached the rapids. Listening and acting on the guide’s instructions and crossing the rapid without toppling; we could hardly wait for the next one.

Cameras and other valuables were safely tied inside the raft in a waterproof bag. So we were able to click some photographs during the loo break. Yes, loo break. An hour or so in the chilly water had our bladders almost bursting. Even with the almost-frozen legs, we clambered up the hill to find a hideout.

Another hour of excitement and we reached the Sangam. If Indus is chilly, what can we call the water in Zanskar? Chilliest! It comes from melt slow of the glaciers. Just before the Sangam, we were allowed to float in the water, but we didn’t try it out.

If by accident, you float to Zanskar, you’d understand what freezing cold is! It had happened to a friend of ours, who floated in Zanskar for a minute before getting rescued. She was not badly affected as her body had chilled enough in Indus and so there was no shock.

Indus – Zanskar Sangam at Nimu. Seen from the road to Leh at top. The height is significant. See the small speck of a building below

After the Sangam, we had to reach the shore and had to row hard against the flow of water to get the raft to the bank. End of a thrilling and memorable journey!

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