A kayak is a narrow boat that is primarily designed to be driven manually by means of a double blade paddle and kayaking is all about using these kayaks to move across in lake/river or ocean. Kayaking is a wonderful way to experience sailing in water. Keeping in mind some easy safety measures and with a little skill anyone can enjoy this water sport.
Kayaking in India can be taken up as a recreational activity if undertaken on the still waters of a lake or can also be enjoyed as an adventure sport in the rushing waters of rivers or in oceans as well. Recreational kayaking is done in a specially designed kayak that is for a casual paddler which is easier to manoeuvre when compared to the kayaks designed for high currents of a gushing river or ocean waters.
Kayaking in high ocean currents require tremendous skills and specialized boats to overcome the water pressure. The kayak used for ocean waters has a larger cockpit and has lesser capacity in terms of speed, weight, direction and feasibility. These are widely used as they are less expensive and can be handled easily in and out of water.
Destinations in India for Kayaking
The Ganga and its tributaries like the Kali Ganga, the Indus, the Zanskar, the Teesta and the Rangeet are some of the rivers for kayaking. Other than these you can find many other rivers in northern India like the Sutlej, the Chenab, the Chandrabhaga, the Beas and the Spiti river which are good for kayaking.
Kayaking in India’s Kerala State
You’ll be enchanted by an over-abundance of beauty: between the Arabian Sea and the mountainous Western Ghats lie its stunning white sand beaches, lush tropical greenery, and a huge labyrinth of interconnected channels, lagoons and lakes – the Kerala Backwaters. In this verdant paradise, known by locals as "God’s Own Country", India slows to a relaxed, friendly pace. The climate is idyllic, and the cuisine – a fusion of the many cultures that have been welcomed here for centuries past – is astonishing.
One of India’s best place to paddle is Alleppey
Named 'Venice of the East' because of the numerous channels meandering deep into the backwaters, where life goes on as it has done for centuries past. Young men climb coconut palms to collect the sap for 'toddy', kayak alongside fishmongers selling their catch from skinny canoes and chat to children paddling to school. A stop for a flock of ducks being ferried across the channel by a farmer, and for sure a pit-stop in your kayaks at a cafe to enjoy cup of chai! This is also a birder's delight, as we catch glimpse of egrets, herons, cormorants, terns and a favorite of many, the kingfisher, with its iridescent blue wings.
Best time to go Kayaking
The Himalayan Rivers are inaccessible during winters in India. Rivers like Zanskar are frozen and most of the others are too cold for one to indulge in any water sport. The monsoon months bring heavy rains to the lower reaches of the Himalayas, and melting snows in the mountains result in higher waters in all of the rivers, making it dangerous to negotiate the waters. Only on the Teesta river can one take up kayaking in the winter months, between October and April.
Therefore summers in India are best time to go kayaking. In August and September the water is more manageable and these months are best to go for kayaking, however skilled people can opt early summer months like June or July. Spring in India is also a good time to enjoy kayaking.