Riding the white cold water coming out of glaciers, fear of falling overboard with every jerk caused by killer rapid and the loud screams full of thrill – this is the fun of white water rafting that is giving a tough competition to thrilling snow skiing in Himachal.Figures from green tax barrier Manali, the gateway to town says scores of tourists are reaching Manali to escape scorching heat of plains and many are coming especially with a desire to see fresh snowfall and to enjoy the snow related activities. In the meantime, white water rafting in Beas has emerged as a successful adventure sport in the district. Despite the extreme cold water, thousands of tourists are enjoying this thrilling water sport every day and endless queues of rafts can be seen in river Beas.
“My heart stopped throbbing for few minutes. Every time it seemed that we would fall into the water and cold water will freeze our whole body. We were unnerved by all wet. We could not ski but quite enjoyed the adventurous rafting,” tourists from Delhi, Rohini and Shreyasi said here in office of Himachal Vacation Travels and Adventure after having raft ride and before leaving back to Delhi.
The increasing emphasis on skiing has lead to the national level skiing competition every year to attract more and more tourists to Manali but the sad thing is that skiing is totally dependent on weather conditions and the degree of snowfall. Now, many people are looking at white water rafting as an alternative option to ski which runs almost throughout the year.
The number of providers for extreme rafting sports in recent years has increased to more than two hundreds only in Kullu district and administration is also encouraging the adventure sports activities. Today, thousands of youths are earning with providing the water rafting to tourists.
“White water rafting in Kullu is attracting many tourists. This can be a dangerous sport, especially if basic safety precautions are not taken care. For the safety of tourists, river routes and courses have been predetermined by specialists and qualification of guide, certification of rafts, operators, outfitters and stringent regulations about equipment and procedures are ensured,” said Rajeshwar Goel, district tourism development officer.
He said the water rafting has become an integral part of Himachal tourism industry and tourist can enjoy this thrilling sport round the year except in the rainy season when usually the river floods.
Yuvraj Bisht who runs Raj mountaineering and expedition in Manali said due to holidays, many tourists are coming to Manali and almost everyone enjoys the water rafting once for sure. “Like most outdoor sports, rafting in general has become safer over the years. Expertise in the sport has increased, and equipments have become more specialised and increased in quality. As a result the tourists are adopting this sport,” Yuvraj adds.
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