Jun 1, 2008

Rafting in Manali

White water Rafting on River Beas - Manali

The magic behind  River Rafting which is also referred, as White Water Rafting is the extreme and never-ending thrills in the untamed rivers. The rivers in the upper Himalayas are among the best in the world for river rafting sports, with many staircase rapids that challenge the body and spirit of the river runner. The river cuts against the rocky banks, crash into rocks, crevices and breaking into white water rapids, foaming, swirling, and falling in a thunderous din.
We experienced the Thrill and Excitement of River Rafting om Beas River in Manali on 26th May 2008
White water river rafting is done at a place “PIRDI” , about 4kms from Kullu on the river Beas,which flows out of the molten Snow/Glaciers from the Himalayas & hence the water is icy-cold even in Summer.The stretch was of 14kms in total.

We Gruop of Eight , Four of them were Youngsters put on our safety accessories - Life jacket, Helmet . Our instructor gave four members of young Brigade , the paddles & explained in short how to use them. These instructors are well experience and mostly from Tibet. They all speak Very good English.
Rubber boat was checked for Right Inflation Pressure, Ropes were Checked for Tightness. Our Rafting Trip started at around 10.30 AM in a sunny day. Three other rafting team followed us. There was a captain leading the rafts sailing at the front. He was on a one man fibre Boat. He guides the teams on routs , direction . Where there is a high swirl he ensures that all the boats cross the swirl and then moves towards front. The initial couple of kms were quite smooth actually. After 2-3 kms, the real fun started.
Rapids started coming in at a much faster rate. One big wave splashed on us and icy-cold Beas water made us remember that this isn’t as easy as it seems.Then we went to an even turbulent section. While we were paddling with vigor, the eddies became even more wider. The guide in our boat keep duiding with commands " Forward", "Forward again", "Backward", "Stop" and the young brigade followed these.
At exactly the mid-point , i.e. after 7 kms another river Parvati joins River Beas & it becomes the most difficult part since the water-depth also increases. There is a Bridge at 7th Km.
The last 7 kms , our instructor was literally shouting since the waves were coming really thick & fast and we couldn,t hear him.Our entire body had become numb due to the continuous cold water splashing in from Beas . Young Members had great difficulty in moving the paddles, many a time it was on to air rather than water. Whole body became wet due to continuous spashing of water. Water was splashed on us by the members of other boats that were following us closely.
The experience was awesome & though we got a little petrified honestly, we didn't want it to end. Each time negotiate a rapid there was a loud noise, cheers , exclamatory shouts - from young and old alike. It were the most adventurous 90 mins for each one of us as we have experienced the rafting for the first time. We also enjoyed watcing the natural scenin Beauty of mountains, Tall green trees thoughout the Trip.
This was momentous and memorable experience of Thrill , excitement, and Fun which will rewind and remain in memory for a long time
My only regret was that we couldn’t click any photos / videos of rafting experience as we were not allowed to carry Camara, digicam, or mobile.
On Browsing the net after the trip , I came to know of white water rafting locations , Rivers and facilities in India including Rishikesh, Uthranchal etc.


May 31, 2008

A Visit To Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is situated about 51 km from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 meters (13,400 ft.) on the highway to Keylong, is Rohtang Pass. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. In place of the pinnacled hills, sheltered valleys and cultivated tracts, the eye meets a range of precipitous cliffs, huge glaciers and piled Moraine, and deep ravines. Almost directly opposite is the well defined Sonepani glacier, slightly to the left are the twin peaks of the Geypang, jagged pyramids of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned.

Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking. It offers only limited skiing opportunities, but trekking possibilities are immense.
The pass is open from June to September, although trekkers can cross the pass from May. Beyond Rohtang pass lies the remote and, perhaps, the stark and haunting landscape of predominantly Buddhist areas. The comparative inaccessibility of the place has helped preserve the pristine culture of the people of the region.

We Left Manali on 25th May 2008 , very early in the morning by a Tata Sumo. Our Team compraised 10 members. Rabi , the Driver of the Vehicle informed us that he has 20 years of Driving Experience. Driver stopped at a shop which is renting Winter robes including full apron, , Rubber Boots, a Cap, pair of Glouse and a Stick. Ladies can get dress of suitable sizes. We have seen a no of such shops on the way to Rohtang pass. Each shop is numbered , so that one can note the shop number to return the Dress on the way back.

The Entire route of 51 Hilly roadway is simply breathtaking. Only a highly skilled Driver can drive safely with confidance and ease. There was an army convoy of Supply vehicles (Presumably moving towards Leh) ahaed of us. So vehicles including ours had to stop for some time.

There were many Tiny shops Selling - Tea , coffee , Noodles, Corn, Soft Drinks. It was very nice to enjoy a cup of Hot Tea sitting in that snow peaks.

As nearing rohtang we can see patches of snow bedded mountains, Streams flowing from molten ice, and starting point of River Beas.Though this pass has earned the title of being a little obnoxious and dangerous due to its unpredictable snowstorms and high winds, every tourist yearns to visit Rohtang pass in Himachal Pradesh. Rohtang pass is considered as the world's highest jeepable road. The climate on the day was very pleasing, and no rains. It was sunny all the way.
Our Jeep stopped very close to Zero Point. Oh What a scene - White carpetted surface every where. Just started walking over the cool icy Surface with the support of walking stick. We felt the chillness inside the Rubber Boot - on the Heel and toes. Alraedy there were scores of Tourists - Children , adults and of all ages. Very colourful dresses as seen all over the snow bed.

Every one has a way and facility to enjoy with fun - Skating, Bike Skating, Horse skating, Push cart, Tube sliding. some of Our team members tried skating. There are many tibetian to help to learn basic skills of Each game.

Skiing in Himachal Pradesh is best enjoyed in the Rohtang pass which is covered by snow for nine months of the year. In fact, Rohtang pass in Himachal Pradesh is the only site in India, where one can indulge in skiing in the winters as well as autumn. The most important site for skiing in Rohtang pass is Sonapani glacier. Enjoy a holiday in Himachal Pradesh to enjoy the famous Rohtang pass attractions in Himachal Pradesh that involves the popular adventures in Rohtang pass.

At the top of the Rohtang Pass the air seems to glitter against the snow as you look down over herring boned ridges into the Lahaul Valley. There is a beautiful Doshohar Lake left to the pass, where pilgrims go every year on the auspicious day of 20th Bhadon. Rohtang Pass is the only access to Lahaul valley. The pass is open from June to September each year although trekkers can across the pass a little earlier. Rohtang pass is the gateway to Lahaul valley just as Zojila pass in between Kashmir valley and Ladakh.

The Beas river rises near the crest of Rohtang from a block of Mica-Schist. The pass normally opens for traffic after mid-June and officially closes in November. To its left, 200 metres higher, is the little lake of Sarkund (Dashair) visited by a number of people, the general belief being that a bath in these waters effects a cure of all bodily ailments-real or imaginary. 10 km before Rohtang is the barren-landscape of Marhi which hums with activity during summer and autumn months because almost everyone stops here for refreshments.

It is Very Enjoyable and Scenic Spot and ofcourse Photographer's Delight. It Was a pleascent , memorable Trip.

Some Tips :

- Start From Manali at early in the morning Before 6.00 AM ( Otherwise your vehicle can get caught in traffic jam and may nor get closet to Zero point.
- Carry Wollen dresses - Socks,Glouse, Sweatter, Wollen Trouser.
- Dark Cooling Glass is a must- To avoid Sun Glare.
- Persons with Breating problem, Asthma need to go prepared with madicines - Oxygen Level is low. Avoid Break fast while driving Uphill.
- Mobiles are of No use - No signal there.

May 1, 2008

Nature and We

Nature manifest In many forms. Hinduism has always been an environmentally sensitive philosophy. No religion, perhaps, lays as much emphasis on environmental ethics as Hinduism. The Mahabharata, Ramayana, Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas and Smriti contain the earliest messages for preservation of environment and ecological balance. Nature, or Earth, has never been considered a hostile element to be conquered or dominated. In fact, man is forbidden from exploiting nature. He is taught to live in harmony with nature and recognize that divinity prevails in all elements, including plants and animals. The rishis of the past have always had a great respect for nature. Theirs was not a superstitious primitive theology. They perceived that all material manifestations are a shadow of the spiritual. The Bhagavad Gita advises us not to try to change the environment, improve it, or wrestle with it. If it seems hostile at times tolerate it. Ecology is an inherent part of a spiritual world view in Hinduism.

he rhythm of life is dictated by water and Hindus hold rivers in great reverence. India is a country that not only nurtures the resources nature has bestowed upon her, but also worships them for the all-round prosperity they bring in their wake. Rivers are one such gift which are considered highly sacred throughout the length and breadth of the country. This is primarily because these mighty rivers have perennially been a source of livelihood to millions of people living in areas lying along their courses. No wonder people see in them a manifestation of divine female power (shakti). "Sindhu in might surpasses all the streams that flow.... His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth; he puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light .... Even as cows with milk rush to their calves, so other rivers roar into the Sindhu. As a warrior- king leads other warriors, so does Sindhu lead other rivers.... Rich in good steeds is Sindhu, rich in gold, nobly fashioned, rich in ample wealth.'' - Rig Veda "Ambitame, naditame, devitame, Sarasvati"- "O best of mothers, O best of rivers, O best of goddesses, Sarasvati"

About 4,500 years ago the Sarasvati was eulogized thus in the Rig Veda.One of the sad effects of progress is destruction of environment and with it nature.
Large-scale deforestation, pollution of air, introduction of toxic chemicals in rivers and
oceans and general march of our present technological progress is depleting biodiversity.
American heritage dictionary defines nature as “The order, disposition and essence of all
entities composing the physical universe” or in essence the biosphere. Some critics of
environmental movements contend that if some living species do get annihilated due to our
activities still we are part of nature. They also contend that our technological march is an
evolutionary process, which automatically allows reduction of biodiversity. Their argument
may carry weightage if our technological progress is environmentally sustainable but at
present we do not understand all the natural forces surrounding us and hence we are not
working in tune with them. Eventually we may, but till that time we need to conserve nature
and biodiversity. Hence we should be concerned about nature’s destruction for if we destroy
nature we will loose valuable genetic information and with that a possible mechanism to
evolve efficiently and sustainably.
How Nature