Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Whitewater Heroes – HRR’s Rafting Team

"Resham phiriri, resham phiriri...
Rafting ma monkey,
Trekking ma donkey, resham phiriri...
Kodo jharyo makai jharyo
Jyan payeko chhaina..."

“Rafting is for monkeys, trekking is for donkeys.” Or words to that effect! Stay at one of Himalayan River Runners’ base camps and, round the campfire, on the river or on a trek, you may hear these (slightly modified) lyrics to a well-known Nepali song.

At HRR there are a number of Nepali staff. Of the rafting guides, Ram and Ganesh (the senior guides) plus Rum and Prabhu are all from Nepal, while others, Ranjit and Chintu, are Bihari. The head cook Shrikant is Nepali and other staff are from Garhwal.

White-Water Training in Nepal

Many white-water guides working in India come originally from Nepal. This Himalayan country with its famous rivers like the Kali Gandaki, Karnali, Sunkoshi, and Trishuli, has the reputation for training some of the world’s best river runners.

HRR’s senior guides, Ganesh and Ram, were born in villages near the famous Chitwan National Park and learnt their skills through a guiding apprenticeship system unique to Nepal.

Ganesh, from a farming family, was 12 when he began washing dishes at an adventure company. For the next 5 years he worked around the camp and gradually built up his rafting experience until by the age of 17 he was a fully fledged guide. He was awarded his rafting licence in Nepal and came to India in 2000.

Ram, son of a motor mechanic, was 16 when he started his career. Like Ganesh, he did general tasks and honed his rafting skills for 5 years until he qualified as a guide at 21. Unrest in Nepal in the first decade of the 21st century affected tourism and led to the closure of some rafting companies, forcing trained guides like Ram to seek work elsewhere. Fortunately, there were opportunities in India, where rafting was a growing sport, and Ram came to HRR in 2004.

The Craft of Kayaking

Rum, younger than Ganesh and Ram, is nevertheless a highly experienced rafting guide and a talented kayaker. Every summer, when monsoon rain means closure of HRR’s Ganga Base Camp, Rum heads to Japan where he works for Japanese companies, undergoes more training, and further refines his skills.

Watching Rum manoeuvre his kayak is a delight. The man and the craft are one as he flips, loops, surfs and spins through the waves. Rum regularly enters kayaking rodeos in which he is often highly placed.

Yousuf Zaheer, Founder and Manager of HRR, ensures his guides enhance and maintain their technical skills by regularly rafting India’s most challenging rivers. Under his direction, the team tackles difficult white-waters from the Kameng in Arunachal to the Zanskar in Ladakh.

“With this breadth of experience on high-end rivers, my team are among the top white-water people in India,” he says with pride. “I have complete confidence in their skills and expertise.”

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Join Us on the Tons River!

As the mercury climbs and we all brace ourselves for another blistering summer, it’s time to start planning a getaway!  We have just the answer – exploring the area around the marvellous Tons River.

Where is the Tons?

The Tons River originates from the glaciers of the Har-Ki-Dun region in northwest Garhwal bordering Himachal Pradesh, and is the primary tributary of the Yamuna. It is a river runner’s dream come true as it percolates through the evergreen forests of the middle Himalayan ranges through a series of Class 3- 4 + rapids that equal any in the world.

The HRR Tons Base Camp
Himalayan River Runners Tons Base Camp is located 160 km from Shimla and 140 km from Mussourie. The Base Camp's idyllic location in a pine forest on the banks of the Tons River, at 4000 ft in the secluded Tons valley, makes for a wonderful setting.  Anyone who wants to spend time in the heart of nature will love this place!  And there are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy.

Accommodation at the base camp is in large deluxe tents on a twin share basis. Each tent has two camp cots, a small table and two chairs. The tents are set amidst pine groves with glimpses of the river and set apart from each other so that each enjoys relative privacy.
Toilets are dry pit western style, in keeping with environmental standards. And there are even facilities for hot showers!

The food served is a mixture of continental and Indian and caters to the international palate.

So Much to Do!
With so many activities available, your days will pass in a flash!  You can do a 2-3 hour long white water rafting trip on the 'river without peer'.  Or arrange a day hike, carrying a packed picnic lunch and returning to the base camp at night.  For anyone interested in an overnight trek, there is one that will take you up to a good vantage point to see the snow-capped Himalayas. 

Some of the well known treks in the HRR repertoire that originate from the Tons Base camp are the challenging Buran Pass, the moderate Ruinsara and many other alpine meadow treks from easy to moderate and moderate+, such as the Kedar Kantha meadows trek.  Please see our website ( for more details.

Other activities include bird watching, trout fishing in virgin waters and long swims in idyllic forest pools.  For those looking for something more physical, rock climbing, rappelling and mountain biking are also available.

Don’t Delay!
Our Tons Base Camp opens on 01 June and is operational until 30 June.  Don’t miss this golden opportunity to enjoy clean air, refreshing waters and the bliss and serenity of being in nature! 

For information call:  91-11-2685-2602 / 91-11-2696-8169
Or email: