“Do you want to jump inside the water again?” asked my rafting instructor come guide come lead.
My eyes lit up. I was excited.
“What is the name of this river? The one we are rafting on?” I asked.
“Zanskar”, he replied.
“Let’s jump in Indus!” I screamed.
He grinned and noded his head.
We rafted for another 2 to 3 kilometers and reached the sangam.
He gave us the instructions – “Forward and fast”.
All of us got back to work and started rowing our paddles in the forward direction. It was difficult – very difficult as we were against the fast currents of the river. We did manage to slightly go up on River Indus against the current.
The instructor looked at me and said “Jump now! You have two minutes and after that we would land up in the sangam.”
I excitedly turned and leaped inside the water, which was warmer than the water in River Zanskar. I had been instructed to tightly hold the rope tied to the raft. I was told not to leave the rope at any point of time as the currents at both rivers were strong and both rivers had whirlpools (okay, let’s ignore this fact for now). And I obediently followed his instructions (well most of the times).
To give a little bit of background. Ladakh has the two main ranges – The Himalayan range and the Zanskar range. River Indus which is the backbone of Ladakh originates from the Himalayan range and River Zanskar originates from the Zanskar range. The confluence of these two rivers is the sangam, which is in the Nimmu valley. This is a picturesque and a fascinating point for the visitors of Ladakh.
On last day of our travels in Ladakh, my friend Akshata and I had decided to do rafting on the beautiful River Zanskar. There are many travel agencies in Leh where the activity can be booked. There are three options to do the rafting – first is 28 kilometers (Chilling to Sangam), second is 14 kilometers (Schorpochay to Sangam) and the third is 8 kilometers (Tsogsti to Sangam). We opted for Schorpochay to Sangam which is 14 kilometers. And it had costed us 1600 Indian Rupees (USD 26) including transportation and lunch.
We were picked from our home stay at around 8 AM and were driven to the base site. The base site is where we were given the security briefing, and the rafting gear. The starting point for rafting was another short drive from the base site. Our rafts were ready at the starting point and the rafting guides were prepping themselves for rafting.
We were briefed with the rescue and security measures before the start of the rafting. At this moment I had an eye contact with my instructor/guide so I get the place I wanted – right at the front. During the briefing he announced looking at me – We need somebody who is strong at the front as they are the drivers. I spontaneously had said ‘I look like the way I am but I am pretty strong, don’t worry!’ To which he had laughed and had confirmed me to sit at the front.
The 14 kilometers rafting on River Zanskar was through the beautiful gorges and the sights were spectacular. The rafting itself was for two hours. I enjoyed everything about the experience – the rafting, the jumps into River Zanskar and River Indus, our guide who was very friendly and the views.
After the rafting, we were brought back to the base where returned our rafting gear and had a delicious lunch.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this experience and would add it as a must do in Ladakh.