The Sutlej River Rafting Expedition


The Satluj river basin in Himachal Pradesh covers an area of about 6,553 square kilometers. To the east lies the Ngari region of Tibet; the Dhauladhar range forms its southern boundary, separating it from Uttarkashi District of Uttar Pradesh and the Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh. In the west, the Srikhand Dhar marks the boundary between Kinnaur and Kulu. Spiti is on the northern border of Kinnaur – the boundary being formed by the rivers Spiti and Pare Chu near the Indo – Tibetan border.

The source of the Satluj lies in near the Mansarovar Lake at 18500 ft. in the Tibetan Plateau. The Satluj is one of only three Trans Himalayan rivers originating in the high Tibetan Plateau that cuts across the mighty Himalayan ranges. The other two are the Indus and the Brahmaputra. It enters India through a fearsome gorge near the Shipki La. Thereafter, it flows through the cold tracts of Kinnaur to the hamlet of Wangtoo. It is one of the major tributaries of the Indus River system. In its passage across Kinnaur, the Satluj River successively crosses three great mountain ranges – the Zanskar range, the Great Himalayan range and the Dhauladhar range.

To the east of the Satluj the valleys are narrow while in the west, they are wide and open. Many tributaries join the main Satluj River one after the other from the south. The Baspa is one of the major tributaries of the Satluj. The valley of the Satluj extends on both flanks of the Satluj River – from where it enters Kinnaur to the place where it makes its exit. It is the largest valley of Kinnaur, extending in a northeast to southwest alignment for a length of about 140-km along the Satluj River.

The northeastern part of this valley is drier and conditions become humid towards the southwest. The Satluj River has carved a deep gorge across the main or Great Himalaya near Pshong- Tong. In the southern part of this valley, there is extensive cultivation of fruits and agricultural crops. Barring some parts, extensive vineyards, thriving crops and orchards of apricot, apples and grapes are to be found in the entire region.

Day 01:
Board overnight train, the Kalka Mail from Delhi to Kalka. Overnight train

Day 02:
Arrive Kalka early morning. Transfer to Pandowa Camp on the Satluj (6 hrs). Breakfast and lunch enroute. Reach by tea time. Settle into Camp, relax and overnight at camp.

Day 03:
After breakfast, drive 01 hour from Pandowa to Luhri, our starting point for the expedition. After a comprehensive safety briefing, board rafts to raft till Pandowa. (20 km, 6 hrs) This section is a great initiation to the river. We stop to portage the Patakhra rapid, usually a Class 6. After portaging the rafts around the rapid, we reach Pandowa camp for the night. Campfire dinner and overnight at camp.

Day 04:
After breakfast, raft from Pandowa till Tattapani. This 25 km section has som Class IV rapids and we reach Tattapani after lunch. Visit the hot water springs and overnight at Camp.

Day 05:
Today we begin the self-contained part of our expedition. All gear, equipment and supplies are loaded onto big drybags and lashed onto the rafts. We raft into a beautiful gorge, down a 30 km Class 4 section of the river till our camp at Kadhai Ka Fer. Set up camp, campfire dinner and overnight at Camp.

Day 06:
Today, after breakfast, we raft a 30 km Class 3 section to our second camp in the gorge. Overnight at Camp.

Day 07:
After breakfast, we raft 20 kms down a Class 3 section to end our expedition at Salapper bridge. Board waiting vehicles for the (150 kms ; 4 hour) drive to Chandigarh. Board evening Shatabdi Express back to Delhi. Arrive late night. Trip ends.

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Trip Details

Location: Himachal Pradesh
Duration: 13 Days
Grading: Easy
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