The Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) has announced the commencement of white-water rafting on the Bhagirathi River in Harsil Valley, near Uttarkashi. Harsil Valley, situated on the banks of Bhagirathi, has been known for its importance in the Char Dham Yatra pilgrimage and its picturesque trekking routes.
Under the Vibrant Village scheme, UTDB has identified three river rafting destinations, including the section between Jangla and Jhala bridges on Bhagirathi, in Uttarkashi and Dehradun districts.
Shri Satpal Maharaj, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Irrigation, Culture, PWD, Government of Uttarakhand, expressed, “Both pilgrims and adventure seekers will now have the opportunity to enjoy river rafting on the Bhagirathi River near Harsil. This will create new avenues of tourism-related employment for local youth.”
Colonel Ashwini Pundir, Additional Chief Executive Officer of UTDB, expressed excitement about the introduction of river rafting in Harsil Valley, stating, “This milestone significantly contributes to Uttarakhand’s tourism industry, offering a new and unique experience for visitors while boosting the local economy. The conditions for river rafting between Jangla and Jhala bridges are perfect, complemented by the stunning natural beauty of Harsil Valley.”
UTDB has granted approval to two rafting companies to commence operations in the valley. River rafting activities will continue until June 30th, 2023.
Sachin Kurve, Secretary of UTDB, mentioned, “Uttarakhand has been renowned for river rafting activities on the Ganga only. However, other rivers in the state also possess immense potential in this regard. People from around the world will enjoy river rafting and white water kayaking in the rivers of Uttarakhand.”
Harsil is located approximately 30 kilometers from Uttarkashi and can be easily accessed by road. The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is about 220 kilometers from Harsil.
Colonel Pundir further added, “The growth of a competitive rafting industry in Harsil Valley ensures that visitors can expect excellent facilities and services while marveling at the breathtaking views of the Himalayas.” UTDB has implemented mandatory registration for companies to ensure the safety of all participants in river rafting activities. The requirements include knowledgeable guides, trainee guides, rescue kayaks, and all necessary rafting equipment.
UTDB also welcomes registration proposals from other rafting companies and individuals, with a minimum requirement of two rafts and the necessary equipment to prevent issues such as hypothermia. Additionally, as a safety measure, either two rafts will always travel together or one raft and one safety kayak will accompany each trip.