I had to tear myself away from Manali. Virtually.
I was joined by two friends Pradeep and Venkat in Manali.
After visiting the Hidimba temple (it was the third time for me) and eating some more strawberry and cherry fruit, I said goodbye to Anu Thakur and we left to Pirdi from where Atul’s team would help us go river rafting.
The bus drive from Manali to Pirdi was very scenic as our road was by the Beas River throughout. I took some pictures from the moving vehicle.
You could see the rocky river bed. Quite shallow, I thought. It would be wonderful if I could get down and wade through the waters to the other bank on foot. I was to realize soon that appearances are deceptive especially when you are in the mountains.
I am compelled to explain something here. The river Beas is actually river “Vyas”, from Vedavyas or Krishna Dwaipayan, the great sage who divided the Veda into four parts realizing that no individual would be able to study in one lifetime, the Vedas in it’s entirety. So he divided them into four parts and assigned each one to a group or sect of people.
This Vyas river became Byas and then Beas. :-)
As we had refreshments by the vast expanse of the Beas, close to where a hanging bridge had been built, we were joined by Ranjana.
The four of us put on our life jackets and helmets and sat in our raft all ready for adventure. We decided to do the 7 kilometer rafting from Pirdi to Bhuntar.
There were two oarsmen apart from the four of us. Our two guy friends performed the courageous feat of maneuvering the raft, of course with instructions from the oarsmen. But the oarsmen were in ultimate control of the raft and mercifully so :-).
We sailed for sometime on calm waters. And then the rapids began - causing excitement in the beginning and mild cardiac arrests a little later!
What had appeared to be disturbances on the surface of a shallow river, whose rocky river bed could be seen, turned out to be huge waves that threatened to capsize the raft which kept us afloat.
It was only upon riding the first rapid that I realized how cold the water was. Ooooooh! One splash and all of us were drenched.
These rapids I was told were of the order 2 or 3.
The raft wobbled this way and that. Now I thought I would tumble down. Now, I thought the raft would capsize.
With one hand I held on to a rod firmly. With the other hand, I held my camera and struggled to take some pictures. With all the splashing of water around, I had to wipe the water on the lens frequently.
Now, as I look back, what I fear is not the danger of tumbling into cold waters or drowning in the Beas but the thought of what I would do if the camera slipped from my hands! Ooops! I would surely jump after it.
There were trees and much greenery on both sides of the bank. And beyond, there were mountains. On our way, we saw a layer of mist just above a patch of water. This was magical. I had never seen such a thing before.
Calm before storm!
This was a frightening sight. A rock… we were heading straight towards it… the raft was made of rubber and pumped with air. Would it survive this collision? What if???
This is the confluence of Beas with Parvathi. Do you see they are of different colours? Green here and brown at the far end...Didn’t I tell you each water has an identity? Its not just two of hydrogen and one of oxygen...
This confluence happened at Bhuntar. We had reached the end of our 7 kilometer adventure, but we had the option of going further to Bajaura. That would be another 7 kilometers… all of us said YES…and we started again…
This was my first river rafting experience, partly on Beas River, partly on Parvati River and some through the confluence of the two, with mountains and greenery all around, cold water and some sunlight. Perfect.