I love sudden plans…especially when it comes to adventure or travel. So, one such lovely Sunday me, my hubby and our colleagues decided to go for a picnic and Rafting to Zanskar river (Ladakh, India).
Zanskar River originates from the high altitude plateau of Sarchu on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Originally known as the Tsarap the river gorges a path out of the rocky mountains of western Himalayas. The river then eases into the kingdom of Zanskar and slowly flows past the capital at Padum. Here it joins with the Stod river which flows down from the Pensi La pass on the road from Kargil to Padum.
So enjoying my lovely road trip and waiting with anticipation we finally reached the place. Getting down from the car and after looking around, I took a deep breath and just stood there for a minute soaking up the view…huge mountains with different shades of brown and Zanskar river gleaming under the sun with its bluish- greenish shades looked so beautiful!
It was a beautiful day for rafting and there were a lot of people getting ready with there gears and boats. Even with so many people it was pretty quiet and peaceful. Anyway, since we had planned a picnic also, we prepared for that. Spreading our rugs on the sandy banks and laying all the yummy food and drinks, we had an awesome time chilling and soaked the warm sunny rays without worrying how tanned we were going to get. Trust me, the sun rays in Ladakh are super strong!
After lazying around and before we got ready for rafting, we decided to explore the area around. So, me whose always looking for an opportunity to wander and explore the unknown…I decided to do that and some photography. Just sharing a few shots I clicked.
Let me tell you a bit about the Zanskar rapids. Experience begins from Phey, covering a distance of 16 kms and culminating at the conjunction between Indus and Zanskar rivers. It is 3 hours of rafting which includes challenging class III rapids.So, before proceeding to the office for some paperwork and formalities, I decided to test the water by dipping my hand in it. Wondering why I didn’t do it earlier while sitting right next to it? Well I kind of got lost in Photography. So as soon as I dip my hand in the river, I felt a current down my spine…literally! Seriously, the water was so chilly I prayed we don’t freeze by the end of our rafting experience with all that water splashing over us.
So some of us being the daredevils including me, we decided not to wear the waterproof suits the authorities were providing even though our instructor insisted we take the suits. Honestly, we were hesitant because they were already wet and cold and we were pretty warm in our own clothing. So we took the rest of the gear and got into our vehicles to reach the starting point.
All ready and settled in our boats we started our journey. This was my first time and I was pretty excited about it as I was waiting to do this for a very long time. So, after a little push from our instructor we finally got our command…”Forward- backward- hold”. The only thing we heard from our instructor as we wasn’t very talkative while our friends in the other boat were getting entertained. Anyway, we decided to have our own fun, besides joking among ourselves we were also competing with our friends. We were laughing so much that at a point I was wondering if our laughs were echoing in such a silent landscape?
After the smooth floating came the rapids…we were going up and down and the water splashes… Oh My God!! we were beginning to get wet and cold. Imagine, it was like taking bath with absolutely chilling water in winter. But it was fun even though our teeth started to chatter.
One of our friends in our boat decided to test the water by jumping in it without realizing how deep the water was. As soon as he jumped in, he almost disappeared in it. As we all panicked and dragged him out, our instructor seemed absolutely chilled about it. But, all the flutter went down in laughter. Now, the sun was over our heads and we were glad to warm ourselves under it since we were wet and cold. As we got closer to the finishing point, the water became calmer and we were simply enjoying the beautiful views… at least I was !
At some points it was absolutely silent and as the water carried us smoothly along its coursre, we came across such natural beauty that I wished I had my camera to capture it. The whole environment gave such a feeling that I can’t really put it in words. Colorful flora with hints of green livening up the brown- grey rocky walls on either side and beatiful rock formations created over years. The only sound was that of the river…all those scenes are still fresh in my mind and will stay in my head for a very long time!