A group of 13 adventure sports instructors has set a world record by rafting the Beas from close to its origin till its end point in Himachal Pradesh in four days.
The feat was achieved by rafting day and night. Two rafts and three kayaks were used in the expedition. All the participants were the instructors from Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS), Manali, led by director of the institute Colonel Neeraj Rana, who wanted to prove their mettle in the adventure sport besides popularizing water sports in Himachal.
The expedition starts from Manali on October 23 and ended near Pong Dam in Kangra. Formal announcement of the record would be made by Limca Book of Records in a few days after analyzing the video footage and other records.
“This was much difficult than we had imagined. I am extremely happy that my team has made it to the record books by being first to raft from Manali to Dehra in four days,” Col Rana said. He added that the total distance calculated by the expedition was 210km.
“None of us had knowledge about the river flow, depth, falls, speed and entire geography. It was full of adventure and two days we had to raft in night time – one day till 2:30am as well – to achieve the deadline of four days.”
Rana added that contrary to their belief that the stretch between Manali and Kullu has the most challenging rapids, the stretch between Mandi and Sandol had the grade-4 and grade-5 rapids.
He further added that with the fast flow, high rapids and tight gorge, this area challenged them where it was difficult to maneuver the rafts.
As a large number of tributaries meet the Beas, its water level keeps increasing. While water was still at some places where we were advancing with rowing, the speed of the water at some places was very high. There were some falls in the river which we had to deal with, he said.
As the team was far behind the target on the second day, they started early morning from Kunkatar in Mandi and rafted all night till 2:30am and reached Nadaun.
On fourth day, they started late in the morning and finished the challenge at 4pm. “If anybody else wants to break our record, he will have to cover this distance in less than four days,” Rana added.
While sports minister Govind Thakur had flagged off the expedition from Manali and also enjoyed rafting for 15km, Dehra MLA Hoshyar Singh enjoyed the thrill of rafting for few kilometers before the expedition ended.
Sports minister Govind Thakur said rafting and kayaking in the wild rapids of Beas for the first time ever will go a long way in promoting water sports in the state.
“Rafting is getting popular in Kullu. Rafting is emerging as one of the major sources of self-employment for the youths. We are hosting Asian Rafting Championship next year. And our 25 rafters are going to Serbia to get advanced rafting training before the championship,” he said.