River Beas is one of the 5 rivers that flow through Punjab making it the grain bowl of the Indian nation. It originates at Beas Kund near the Rohtang Pass and flows through the Kullu Valley till it merges with the Sutlej River near Mandi. Beas is amiable for rafters and provides the perfect mix of all grades of river difficulty. Rafting starts from various drop points near Manali like Katrain, Babeli, Pirdi, etc. Manali is the place to be for the adventure junkies as it offers all kinds of fun activities like skiing, paragliding, rafting, rock climbing, river crossing, camping, trekking, and the list goes on. The enigmatic Kullu valley is an adventure in itself and Manali is a hill station at the northern end of it. Manali is said to be named after ” Manu” the law giver in Hindu mythology who is fabled to have recreated life on earth here at Manali after a devastating flood that submerged the whole world.
The roads that lead to the Kullu Valley are lined with the famous apple orchards first introduced by the British. The quaint town became popular as a tourist destination around the 1980s.
The mystic hills of Himachal Pradesh guard the beautiful valley of Kullu. And the Kullu Valley houses Manali the popular tourist destination of India situated along the National Highway-21. The town is gaining popularity as an adventure getaway with a number of frivolous activities like skiing, river crossing, trekking, rafting, etc. can be enjoyed here. With well endowed rivers rafting is emerging as a major crowd puller here at Manali. The waters of Beas swell with unbounded playfulness and provide various grades of water difficulty for the beginners as well as the experienced alike.
There are around 40 registered river rafting shops which will provide you with all the essential gear for this adventurous sport. They even provide training for first timers charging around Rs.450 per person and you can learn the basics of wading through fast flowing water in a matter of few hours. The minimum age for getting a grip on rafting maneuvers is 12 years.
There are various drop points along the mighty Beas depending on the level of difficulty of the rapids in that section of the river. For beginners grade II to grade III are idle near Babeli and Raison. The length is around 2.5-3.5km with adequately clear stretches and easily handled turns. The waters are safe and a non swimmer can also take part in this outing.
The more experienced one can tread waters offering grade III and grade IV rapids from Pirdi to Jhiri which is a 2 hours long journey where one can ride over dangerous eddying waters of the Beas. There is another trail which runs from Raison till Kullu and is open only for swimmers and highly apt rafters. The rapids on this path are of grade IV level and very skilled maneuvering is required to tide over these waters.
BEST TIME AND HOW TO REACH
Rafting season commences with the onset of spring i.e. from mid April till June. The excursions start again in September going on till October depending on the monsoons. Rafting or any water activity is banned during monsoons and winters.
Manali is easily accessed by road via the National Highway 21. The airport is at Bhuntar called the Kullu-Mandi Airport whichis 6km from Manali. The railway network is also well spread out in the state of Himachal Pradesh, especially the fascinating toy train.