Legend has it that the powerful Hindu god Shiva drove his trident (Trishuli) into the ground, thus creating three springs from which the river Trushuli flows. Named after Shiva’s trident, this bordering river between Tibet and Nepal is the perfect river for a great experience alone, with friends, or with the family to become immersed in white water rafting at its most enjoyable. Known as the Tsangpo in Tibet, the river flows through Tsang, meaning Tibet, to the west of Lhasa. The Trishuli is remarkable in that it is accessible from two directions, both easily accessed from Kathmandu or Pokhara to the west. It is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Kathmandu and a 3 hour drive from Pokhara with easy access to the river from several places along the Prithivi Highway. Rafting rental locations can be contacted individually or arrangements can be made through local travel agents, such as Himalayan Dreams, making the day or several days’ experience along the river an easy one with all aspects handled by an agency.
To leave early from Kathmandu is a great experience as the constant din and clamor of motorbikes and people, trucks and cars is subdued and the morning trip across town toward the western heading Prithivi Highway is a nice start to your day. As you climb up and out of the Kathmandu Valley the morning clouds touch the peaks as the sun rises higher into the sky. Traffic picks up a bit as you descend along the highway headed for Pokhara, 160 miles to the west. It is a pleasant drive and at the end of the 2 1/2 hour trip you arrive at the staging area for the start of your journey down the river.
Whether a beginner or an experienced rafter, the atmosphere is filled with laughter as more and more people descend upon the area to get their life jackets and helmets fitted on them. People are assigned groups and you descend stairs and walk, single file toward the river. I was pleasantly surprised to see such expanses of sandy beach along the river which flows rapidly toward India and eventually into the Ganges River many miles away. There are several of these rafting venues that have two day excursions where you spend the night in tents and watch the moonrise over the towering mountains and then listen to the roar of the river throughout the night.
I was a bit surprised to see so many people gathered along the river’s edge with the large inflatable rafts bobbing up and down behind the river guides who instructed their groups in the fine art of helping to row the raft.
Today, however, is a one-way rafting trip and my friend and I are ready for a wonderful adventure along the great Trushuli. Our group is made up of about 20 people, who listen carefully as we are instructed in how to row and what voice signals are given for different situations as the river changes all the time. There are Nepalese, Aussies, Americans ,Brits, and Indians on board and we are truly ready for a great day on the river!
We are told by our guide that the oldest person to have taken the rafting trip was in her 90′s. I wondered at her age if she handled the oars like the others as they tend to be a bit heavy. However, I hadn’t much time to think on this as we were soon pushed out into the calmer current of the river and then swept majestically into the more rapid waters. As I looked back at the shore the other rafts were also pushing away from the shore filled with people ready for this white water adventure.
The Trushuli is a Grade 3 river and provides a really wonderful experience for rafters of all ages. As we progressed toward each rapid our river guide would indicate what we had to do with the oars. Many times we had to row backwards to keep the raft fairly steady as we surged though rushing water and careened around large boulders imbedded in the river’s bottom.
As we progressed down the river many things came into view that I had not expected. The first of several swaying suspension bridges came into view. Several had children looking down on us, waving madly as we rushed under the swaying structures. On occasion there were other types of bridges that allowed people access to the far side of the river. The most ingenious was a metal box, attached to two large rollers that ran along a wire cable suspended across the river. People would pull on the cable and the boxlike gondola, if you will, moved across the river at a very slow pace. I would have found it very hard to even get into it let alone traverse the river in this particular trans-river apparatus.
Another surprise! As we moved down the river we would catch glimpses of the highway that followed the river for most of our trip. On one occasion we saw people who had parked their cars and watched as we negotiated some of the more arduous rapids that the river had to offer.
As the day warmed and the rafts moved down the river one aspect of the trip that was not talked about before we started began to come into play. And it was play! In each raft were plastic buckets and as the rafts now began to overtake each other the buckets were used to scoop up water and toss onto the passengers of the other rafts. It became a fun way to interact, not only with the people on your own raft but with the passengers of the other rafts! With shrieks of laughter and screams of passengers being soaked, we moved along the Trushuli like a bunch of teenagers at a beach party.
At one point my friend, who was perched on the raft’s side, near the front of the raft, was literally tossed into the air as we hit a rather large rapid and was thrown into the river. Although he appeared OK and he did have on a life jacket, he lost his dark glasses and later confessed to me that he had hit a large boulder and had a sore shoulder as a result. Of course he should have been inside the raft, but it was a lesson well learned by the rest of us on following the instructions of our guide.
It was in the early afternoon that we finally slipped into a smooth flowing part of the river and we beached our rafts at the river’s edge. In several tents a wonderful lunch was prepared for us and people perched on rocks and along the river enjoying the repast and the wonderful white water rafting experience.
We were met at the lunch site by our driver. We returned to the starting point and left our gear, life jacket and helmet, and began the journey back to Kathmandu. Tired, but invigorated by this day long excursion, we were now able to say we had done the White Water Rafting in Nepal! This accessible day long trip is remarkably easy to do and the experience for all who take this adventure will be memories of a day well spent on the Trushuli, amid the Himalayas, in Nepal!