River Rafting is an upcoming sport in India. According to experts, India has immense potential for this sport.Leaving the charged cities of the valley below, the most adventurous travelers find their way to India’s Ladakh region. The Zanskar River, which connects the remote villages of Zanskar to the Ladakh region by becoming a Himalayan highway in the frigid winter months, becomes a whitewater paradise each summer.
The Class III-IV Zanskar, “rumored to be the golden river of Shangri-La,” offers stunning beauty in the form of 19,000-foot-high peaks, secluded villages with colorful locals, Buddhist monuments and hidden meadows. However, it’s the river’s Zanskar Gorge that provides the most excitement with its breathtaking geology, waterfalls, hidden tributaries and challenging whitewater.
In the gorge, the walls are near vertical cliffs and the river becomes only 16-feet-wide in places in a canyon more than a mile deep. A relatively unknown adventure, few travel this impressive gorge each year.. The combination of Camping by the riverside at night and rafting along the fast, foaming water during the day can be an exhilarating experience. The rafting camps offered here take care of all the details like proper equipment, trained personnel and good living conditions and are among the best in this business.
Day 01: Delhi – Leh
An hour-long flight from Delhi to Leh will take you over the Greater Himalaya where one will be able to see the K2 amongst many other breath-taking views. After transferring to the hotel we rest and acclimatize. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.
Day 02: Leh
Acclimatize to the altitude of 11,000 ft. A visit to the Thikse and Hemis monasteries will be organised. Visit the Ecological Centre or walk around Leh and get a feel of the culture of the region. You could also check out the Tibetan market for souvenirs. You can take in the magnificent sights of peaks across the horizon and get ready for the drive to Kargil the next day. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.
Day 03: Leh- Kargil
The drive to Kargil over the Fotu La Pass at 14,000 ft. is spectacular. One will stop at the Lamayuru monastery that belongs to the ‘Red Hat’ sect. Also, we will stop at the stone statue of the Maitreya (the future Buddha) at Mulbek. Overnight stay at Kargil hotel.
Day 04: Kargil-Rangdum
Spend most of the day driving from Kargil to Rangdum. As we go through Panikar and Parkachik, we take in awesome sights of the twin peaks Nun and Kun, both above 7000mt, numerous hanging glaciers and lush meadows. Camp overnight.
Day 05: Rangdum-Remala
This is the last day of driving before we get on the river. We travel over the Pensi La pass at 14,000ft. to enter the Zanskar valley & get some amazing views of the Drung Durung glacier and the Zanskar range. The starting point for the expedition is on the Doda River, a tributary of Zanskar, at Remala. Get a good night’s sleep as one anticipates the first day on the river. Camp overnight.
Day 06: Remala–Karsha
After a talk on safety procedures and basic instructions for paddling by our experienced and competent river guides you are ready to start your expedition. The river begins with a grade 3 section, a great way to get your body exercised and a good introduction to river rafting for the first-timers. Raft for about 4 hours with a lunch break on the river. Set up camp at the confluence of the Doda & the Tsarap Chu rivers. One can choose to rest and enjoy the camp or hike upto the Karsha Monastery. Camp overnight.
Day 07: Karsha-Honia
Get up at sunrise to see and photograph the morning light on the Karsha Monastery, and then get on the river to head out to Honia. Enjoy practicing your paddling skills on grade 3 rapids and get ready to enter the Zanskar Canyon. Take in the amazing sights of the Zanskar range and the Greater Himalayan ranges as the valley starts to narrow down. Camp overnight.
Day 08: Honia-Nyerak
Pack up and get moving for about 25 km on the river & enter the canyon to reach Nyerak. This is a grade 3 section and warms you up for the rafting that is to follow in the days to come. At Honimul, the last village, we enter a breath-taking canyon. The banks of the river now give way to mountain walls that rise thousands of feet above you. We run some terrific rapids today, stop for lunch, then raft some more before calling it a day and setting up camp below the Nyerak village. This campsite is one of the few sites in the canyon where one can camp & is perfect for a Layover day to explore the area.
Day 09: Layover Day
This is a day ear-marked for rest. You could choose to hike to the Nyerak village, mingle with the locals and visit their homes, or relax and enjoy a break under the Weeping Willows, splash about in the camp stream and get ready for another exciting day on the river. Camp overnight.
Day 10: Nyerak-Lamaguru.
A 35 km river journey takes us through the core of the Zanskar canyon and brings us to Lamaguru at the confluence with Markha River. Here we will encounter grade 4 rapids on this stretch. Break for lunch at a beautiful site by a waterfall from the canyon wall. Paddle further through the stunning Red canyon and camp for the night. Get ready to be amazed by some of the most extraordinary sights and colors today, all courtesy of Mother Nature. Camp overnight.
Day 11: Lamaguru-Nimu.
Raft grade 4 rapids till the take out at Nimu. Past the Chilling village we will encounter excellent whitewater as Zanskar prepares to meet the Indus at Nimu. This is the end of your river journey. Drive back to Leh. One can choose to relax under a hot shower and sleep off or do some last minute shopping. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.
Day 12: Leh-Delhi.
The flight back to Delhi will take you over the Great Himalayas and allow you to bid farewell to the mythical land of Ladakh until next time! We know you’ll be back!