Where is it?
Also called as white water rafting, this extreme sport can give anyone a rush of adrenaline. About an hour’s drive from the town of Gangtok, lies Bhalkhola which is the popular starting point for rafting in the glacial waters of the Teesta. Bhakola, being en-route to Bagdogra, we decided to try it on our last day in Sikkim.
What you need to know when your rafting?
Levels/Grades of Rafting:
- Level 1- Easy, Mild Waves (recommended for non swimmers)
- Level 2- Moderate with few obstacles
- Level 3- Difficult with narrow passages
- Level 4- Difficult with powerful waves
- Level 5- Extremely difficult and violent waves
All the instructions to be followed while rafting will be given by the guide before hand and make sure to pay attention when they do so.
Carry an extra pair of cloths as you sure will get drenched while ripping off the white waters.
Are you a Non-Swimmer? Don’t worry, its perfectly safe with the life jacket, helmet and the guides around you. Choose the lowest level as they allow you to raft through the relatively gentler waters unlike the higher levels which are more adventurous if you are a pro.
Do not carry any electronic stuff while your rafting. Video and photography will be taken by the river rafting organizers.
The Experience of Rafting:
This one is very special to me as its my first time rafting being a non-swimmer. I was rather skeptical seeing the roaring waves but then I put my belief in myself that I could do this and entered the raft. As the guide was instructing only one thought was running in my mind, “What if I drown?” 😛 😀
Once the boat left the bank and we started paddling slowing, I realized how cold the water actually is. With chattering teeth and goosebumps all over, we continued to paddle. Every time the raft took a turn or smacked the speeding waves, my heart started throbbing in excitement. Each the raft sped up near a descent, both thrill and fear would take over and as the prow hit the water, next thing I knew the water was all over me and I was rising above the surface along with the boat. That moment is scary but I was glad to be doing it. It was a great feeling braving the rushing river.
After we reached a calmer section of the river, the guide asked if anyone wanted to take a dip. The guys jumped in to the freezing cold water but we felt we had enough of adrenaline for one day. We reached the bank and were left with a feeling of content and a lot of shivering. We changed at the changing rooms available and continued on our way to the airport bidding adieu to Sikkim with lots of memories.
If you’re in Sikkim between October-April, river rafting is not to be given a miss. The support crew guided and ensured that it was a thrilling yet safe experience for us. There were more non-swimmers in the group and were cynical at first but believe in yourself and go smash some waves.