Much easier and quieter than the Ganga and its tributaries, the Indus is suitable for Grade II and III trips. The river, which originates in Tibet, flows down through Ladakh, past Leh, and then passes into Pakistan.
1.Upshi-Khaltsi: The Upshi-Khaltsi run is somewhat long, but not too difficult. Most of the river along this stretch consists of grade I and II rapids, although there are some grade III rapids too. The run starts at Upshi, which lies upriver from Leh, along the road which leads south to Manali. From Upshi, the river makes its way westwards to Khaltsi, along the road to Kargil.
2. Spituk-Saspol: Spituk, just short of Leh and on the bank of the Indus, is the starting point for an easy and short trip downriver. The route goes up to the village of Saspol, near Alchi, and comprises a run of a few hours. A short and scenic run, the Spituk-Saspol route is relaxed enough to allow you to admire the beauty of the Indus Valley; beyond Saspol, however, the river starts getting a fraction wild, and is recommended only for experts.
Easier runs on the Indus include the run between Hemis and Choglamsar, a three-hour jaunt which goes through quiet, calm waters, and passes through the riverside villages of Stakna, Shey and Thikse, before ending at Choglamsar, just short of Leh city.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is connected by air to Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu and Chandigarh. In the summer months, road traffic also links the town to Manali in Himachal Pradesh and to Srinagar, although the latter route is not recommended because of the unrest in the Kashmir Valley. Within Ladakh, buses ply between the main towns and villages, and vehicles can be hired in Leh to get to the more inaccessible areas.
Note: In Ladakh there is little public transport and tourist accommodation are at best very limited. In some areas special permits maybe required, so it is recommended to go through a specialised agency which organises river runs, who will make neccessary arrangements. Many such agencies have their offices in Leh, and some also have offices in other cities in India, such as New Delhi.