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Taste Of Indian Currents

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India, the land of rivers, has her own deadly rapids, some as powerful and dangerous as any in the world. Here are a few that rank among the most difficult.

Siang, Arunachal Pradesh: Siang, which is what the mighty Brahmaputra is called in Arunachal Pradesh, offers rapids that can rival the likes of Grand Canyon or Zambezi. Largely unexplored, it's in the eastern corner of India and was opened to foreigners only in 2003. The 180-km stretch has holes the size of houses, 5-metre high waves, and huge whirlpools. Siang has a 10-mile stretch that contains the Ningguing and Pulsating Palsi rapids. These are then followed by terrifying Grade 6 rapids such as Roaring Rikor, Zebra Rock and Toothfairy at Cherring.

Subansiri, Arunachal Pradesh: The north-eastern state also has the Subansiri or Gold River, the biggest tributary of the upper Brahmaputra. The river has no road artery linking it for about 150 km, and runs through difficult terrain (vertical rock faces) with sparse population. It also has extremely powerful rapids with high water volume and flow. Sadly, a 135-metre-high hydel dam is being built on the river, which will effectively put a stop to any rafting activity. Go there before it vanishes.

Tons, Uttarakhand: Only 410 km from Delhi, Garhwal, the part of Uttarakhand bordering Himachal Pradesh, is where the Tons river offers some mighty Grade 4 and Grade 5 rapids. White-water rafting on the Tons is counted among the most challenging in the country. The upper Tons is considered non-navigable by rafts, such is the ferocity of the rapids and the current. The middle has powerful, but manoeuvrable, rapids such as Afterglow, Pillowtalk, Deadly Dedsu, Channel Rapid and Thrice Bitten.

Zanskar, Ladakh: A trip to Ladakh is exciting enough, but when you go rafting in the extremely desolate, remote and sheer Zanskar gorge, the fun trebles. Taking on extremely powerful rapids apart, the added challenge is the icy cold water (and environs, too), and the difficulties of getting acclimatised to the high altitude. Zanskar's rapids, passing through mountain walls that are thousands of feet high, are spread over a 180-km stretch of near-inaccessible terrain. The rapids themselves are mostly of the Grade 4 variety, making the experience of braving incredibly difficult waters in equally difficult conditions, a unique experience. Just try it.