After completing my Kollad adventure, I never fathomed that I will plunge into the depths of water in such a short period of time. Immigration offices have lately decided to become unpredictable; Bhutan is no stranger to this trend and decided to change the rules by closing their main office on the weekends. But derailments need not always lead to disappointments, especially when you have 10 more people in the group with more ideas, a twist has to happen. And, that’s how the idea of Teesta River Rafting was conceived.
Having studied Geography during my high school, I was surprised by the very existence of this river. Originating in the Himalayas, Teesta River, also known as the lifeline of Sikkim, flows through the Indian States of Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh where it conjoins Brahmaputra. Considered as one of the best rafting stretches of the world with more swirling waters that can be considered as a challenge to experienced rafters. So you can imagine a hydrophobe’s apprehension.
After the pit stop to decide on which raft to board, it was mutually decided that the non-swimmers and the moderate swimmers will take two separate rafts. But before I could step on to the raft, the view just takes your breath away. While one side of the bank is covered in lush canopy, the other side is dotted with beautifully symmetrical houses, highlighting how intricately linked human lives are with natural resources, irrespective of the fact how far we have come in terms of technological advancements. But the view can distract a hydrophobe like me for so long, especially when a prompt commands comes at you ‘Get into the inflatable tubes!”
There is a vast difference between rafting in a dammed water and a river that is called as lifeline and is considered as one of the best rafting spots in India. Unlike Kollad, this was a mere 30 minutes ride, but the exhilaration is beyond incomparable. Each rapid has been named after the temperament of a family member, and it certainly lived upto the name. Unlike Kollad where you actually are paddling along with your other team members, Teesta instructors ensure that the strongest are seated at the forward position of the raft while we are asked to be seated in the middle. During the free fall of a rapid, each one of us who were seated in the middle were asked to get a firm hold and lean forward from the raft while the cool water of rapid splashes and tries to defy gravity for you.
The Eye of the Tiger was a prominent playlist in my mind when it was my turn and all I could think was what if I end up being gymnastic and listen to the waves and end up at the depth of the water!! Don’t believe my exaggerated tone here? Check out my expressions that were captured by one of the instructors from safe ground, which definitely looked appealing at that point of time!!
After getting drenched successfully (okay, that sounds inappropriate, I know!) we posed for the final picture at the end of the entire rafting experience, before we started gushing and whining in my case, about the the entire experience in a high pitched tone.
If I have to compare both my rafting experiences, I will definitely vouch for Teesta. The thrill was exhilarating and nerve-racking and brilliant to say the list. The instructors are quite young and a very cheerful group and you can see from their enthusiasm how passionate they are about what they do. The love for water is not for everyone. But it sure knows how to pack a punch!
The To-Do List:
- Listen to the instructors. AT ALL TIMES. But if he does ask you to jump into the water and you are not willing to do so, do not do so. Handling a panicked person much more troublesome than missing out on the experience of being in water.
- Check your life jackets. In the middle of the rafting I discovered that the last clip was actually faulty and with all the tumbling around of the boat it can cause you more fear and worry than what is required.
- Apply sun-screen. Just because it is water and it will wash off doesn’t mean you neglect your delicate complexion. I am still trying to get rd of my multitudes of tan.
- Carry a spare change of clothes.
- I know it might seem like a waste of expenditure, but I will personally suggest you to take the pictures which the instructors actually take. As you can see, he really did a fantastic job.
- Each raft is allowed to carry only 5-6 people. So get to your best spot and be ready to experience the best ride in the house!
Total cost of rafting: 4500 INR per raft. Since it was 11 of us, the cost actually came down to 1000 per person. Pretty reasonable right?!
Cost of videography and photography: 1000 INR