A kayak is a narrow boat that is primarily designed to be driven manually by means of a double blade paddle and kayaking is all about using these kayaks to move across in lake/river or ocean. Kayaking is a wonderful way to experience sailing in water. Keeping in mind some easy safety measures and with a little skill anyone can enjoy this water sport.
Kayaking in India can be taken up as a recreational activity if undertaken on the still waters of a lake or can also be enjoyed as an adventure sport in the rushing waters of rivers or in oceans as well. Recreational kayaking is done in a specially designed kayak that is for a casual paddler which is easier to manoeuvre when compared to the kayaks designed for high currents of a gushing river or ocean waters.
Kayaking in high ocean currents require tremendous skills and specialized boats to overcome the water pressure. The kayak used for ocean waters has a larger cockpit and has lesser capacity in terms of speed, weight, direction and feasibility. These are widely used as they are less expensive and can be handled easily in and out of water.
Destinations in India for Kayaking
The Ganga and its tributaries like the Kali Ganga, the Indus, the Zanskar, the Teesta and the Rangeet are some of the rivers for kayaking. Other than these you can find many other rivers in northern India like the Sutlej, the Chenab, the Chandrabhaga, the Beas and the Spiti river which are good for kayaking.
You can also take up kayaking in a lake/ocean or any other water body.
Best time to go Kayaking
The Himalayan Rivers are inaccessible during winters in India. Rivers like Zanskar are frozen and most of the others are too cold for one to indulge in any water sport. The monsoon months bring heavy rains to the lower reaches of the Himalayas, and melting snows in the mountains result in higher waters in all of the rivers, making it dangerous to negotiate the waters. Only on the Teesta river can one take up kayaking in the winter months, between October and April.
Therefore summers in India are best time to go kayaking. In August and September the water is more manageable and these months are best to go for kayaking, however skilled people can opt early summer months like June or July. Spring in India is also a good time to enjoy kayaking.
Considerable amount of skill and experience is required for higher seas and unpredictable weather
First time kayakers can quickly get the hang of the sport under proper guidance, in the calmer waters
Weather conditions, tides, currents and many other factors must be closely monitored to ensure safety. Therefore choose a reputable, experienced guid
Carefully choose your paddling destination as various kayaking areas have widely varied kayaking conditions. First timers may avoid areas those are subject to high winds and vast expanses of water
Consider taking proper training and gathering an in depth knowledge of equipments and rowing techniques before taking up this adventure sport
Kayaking tour operators
There are numerous rafting and kayaking camps in Rishikesh. The known ones include Snow Leopard Adventures, Garhwal Himalayan Explorations, Himalayan River Runners, Ganga Nature Camp and Himalayan Retreat. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam also holds regular courses for first-timers.
In Sikkim you can opt for Clubside Travels and Gurudongma and in Leh there is Ri Mo Rafting Camp that also provides kayaking options. Other operators in Leh are Highland Adventures and Indus Himalaya.