Whitewater River Rafting - Nepal- Trisuli River
Kayaking - Nepal
As per the Hindu legend the Trisuli River originated by Lord Shiva driving his trident (in Nepali 'Trisul') in the hill just above the Gosainkunda to create three springs when he needed a cool rest in the Lake Gosainkunda. Trisuli river starts from Betrawati (625m) and flows to Narayanghat (170m) covering distance of 141 kms. The river is approachable from Kathmandu by vehicle in 2 to 4 hours' drive and the river days would be from 4 to 7. The difficulty in class is 3+ to 4.
This river is most popular rafting river with impressive gorges, exciting rapids, some easier sections, and easily accessible from Kathmandu and Pokhara. This river is also recommended for intermediate kayaking. Not far from Betrawati, Trisuli joins the Bhote Kosi that flows from Tibet; the two rivers joining in some pretty fearsome looking gorges that are visible on the way up to the Langtang Trek.
By Betrawati the gradient has eased and after this it becomes a more mature and powerful river which later adds many other major rivers to its flow - the Buri Gandaki, the Marshyangdi, and the Seti. When the Kali Gandaki joins it, shortly before the plains, it changes its name to Narayani. Here, it is a mighty river - peak flows in the Monsoon have been measured at 25,700 cusecs (extreme, instantaneous discharge); about 900,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 50 times the typical flow of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Normally the flow on the main rafting section of the Trisuli is about half that of the Grand Canyon, and in many ways the rapids are smaller scale versions of those on the Colorado; they are formed mainly by boulder outwash from tributary streams and are characterized by big green shoots, holes either side, and huge exploding waves down the bottom.
The river has carved some very impressive gorges in its lower part as it cut its way through the 2000m high Mahabharat Range. These gorges are also the route followed the Prithivi Highway, the first national highway that linked Kathmandu to India. The opposite side to the road is relatively wild and uninhabited and plenty of wildlife is seen here, a profusion of colorful birds, including eagles and vultures - especially true if continue on down into Chitwan National Park where you may see crocodiles and rhino by the riverside.
Rafting in the Trisuli:
A rafting trip in Trisuli needs no recommendation: thousand of thrilled rafters have written home and recommended the trip to their friends. For many people it represents the ideal compromise trip: just the right length of time, exhilarating rapids, but not too difficult, easily accessible from Kathmandu and at reasonable price. The rapids on the Trisuli are mainly big, bouncy and relatively safe: 'flips' (where the raft capsized) or other accidents are rare in normal water conditions, and also it is possible to walk around the few difficult rapids.
There is a wide choice of different length trips on offer, from a one week relaxed trip all the way from Trisuli Bazar to Chitwan to half day 'testers' specials. Trisuli Bazar is normally only a starting point in higher water conditions - Sept/Oct or April/May. For many people the optimum length trip is 3 days, starting at or near Malekhu and taking out near Gaighat. This gives you a full and satisfying experience - you run all the major rapids, watch the river grow as its tributaries join, marvel as it cuts its way through impressive gorges, then leave it just before when it spreads out over the great plain of the Ganges.
In case of time constraints, then a one or two day trips can be done - these can also save travel time if scheduled as a break off the journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara or Kathmandu to Chitwan. These short trips can vary from fairly relaxed float trips, avoiding the more difficult rapids, to one day 'roller coaster' specials. The latter can run some of the best of the white water but pose obvious dangers and can be a rather vicarious experience.
The Trisuli is a popular river for kayaking and can be particularly recommended for training and familiarization with 'big water'. Intermediate paddlers who are unfamiliar with relatively large volume rivers will find this a friendly initiation: expert paddlers will revel in honing their technical skills, playing and surfing the big rapids.
The river has been kayaked from near the Tibetan border down to Betrawati by some of America's top expedition boaters. The Bhote Kosi from near the border to Syabru Bensi is described as calss 4 and 5; from there down are some pretty mean, inaccessible gorges that drop at 5.0% (250 ft a mile), definitely Class 5 and 6, and that probably represent a nightmare for the average recreational kayaker. The intermediate paddlers will probably want to start at Betrawati, where the river is relatively small - 85 cumecs as against 300 near Mugling. This gives a day or two to get used to the nature of the river before hitting the bigger rapids lower downstream. The more experienced paddler may prefer to concentrate on playing the big rapids, putting in below Baireni and perhaps accompanying a raft group so that he has a light kayak.
HIMALAYAN HIGH ALTITUDE SPECIALISTS since 1983