Cauvery Bheemeshwar: A slice of raw adventure
A Slice of Raw Adventure, Cauvery at Bheemeshwar. As the raft slowed down, I heard a new command “JUMP”. I jumped into the silvery Cauvery at...
As the raft slowed down, I heard a new command “JUMP”. I jumped into the silvery Cauvery at Bheemeshwar while holding the rope by the side of the raft. Buoyed by the life jacket, I found myself floating in the river with a straight view of the sky.
Cauvery, though undoubtedly one of the most revered rivers of South India, can hardly be called tame. Forcing its way through forests, dropping off steep cliffs and bouncing over jagged rocks, the river reaches Bheemeshwar near Bangalore where it falls from a substantial height, endowing its waters with a frothy appearance. White water rafting in these rocky rapids is an adrenalin-raising adventure sport that we had heard about a lot and decided to try out one winter weekend.
Rapids are graded according to an International grading system in six categories, from I to VI. Grade I is supposed to be the easiest and safest while grade VI enjoys the reputation of being the toughest and most dangerous. The rapids at Bheemeshwari are of grade II which makes the 8 km run enjoyable without being too terrifying.
The drive from Bangalore to Bheemeshwari was refreshing with a major part of the route passing through lush green forest area. As we reached the river bank, the first sight that met our eyes and immediately lifted our spirits was that of the rafts resting on the sandy banks. After a short instruction session and putting on our rafting gears, we (there were 12 of us, and we split in two rafts) stepped into the raft and sat on the edge, oars in hand and anticipation in our eyes, all set and raring to GO.
The heady ride began. The river was initially calm and we passed through scenic landscapes while gliding on the rippling surface of the river. The rafting instructor (captain of the raft) gave commands and all the rafters furiously followed, rowing backwards or forwards.
I looked in the front, at the open sky with a sense of contentment. The wide and long view of the river with dense forests either side was extremely invigorating and there were no limits to my happiness. Biceps were getting hard…perhaps triceps too…I had never worked this hard!! The raft was moving faster than the speed of the river and I had no choice but ‘ROW TO LIVE’.
I might be someone who does not like listening to anyone, but here I had to adhere to the commands of my captain- ‘Forward’, ‘Backward’, ‘Fast forward’. And of course the command that all of us in the raft liked the most was… “RELAX”, we always wanted to and even before we heard that command, we had begun carrying that out!
It was pretty calm as we reached halfway through the rafting session. As the raft slowed down, I heard a new command “JUMP”. My captain made me jump into the silvery river while holding the rope by the side of the raft. Initially I was scared, but “buoyed” by the life jacket, I found myself floating in the river with a straight view of the sky. It turned out to be a truly incredible experience.
A little later, I was back in the raft and rowing again. Soon, the water became very turbulent and choppy and it seemed as if the raft would topple. Staying afloat posed a challenge - the sight of the white foam, splash of the cold water, lurch of the raft and screams of the rafters served as real adrenalin boosters and made it an authentic white-water rafting experience.
Bumping our way through waves created by rocks and spinning through whirlpools in the river, in the dying light of the idyllic afternoon, we finally managed to row to the end point of the rafting session, physically exhausted but mentally rejuvenated.
We had planned to spend the night by the river, and in the evening we lighted a campfire, sang to our heart’s content and went to sleep under a star-spangled sky with the jungle surrounding us. The next morning, instead of the shrill doorbell of the milkman, we, for a change, woke up to the warm glow of the sun on our contented faces and birdsong in our ears.
Bordered by the Cauvery and enriched with a lush green cover that supports a large variety of wildlife, Bheemeshwari is truly cradled by nature. Till recently, the place had another claim to fame- Mahseer fishing. The waters of the Cauvery here are a natural habitat for the Mahseer, one of the finest game fish in the world and hoards of enthusiastic anglers used to throng the place, an extremely popular activity which has hit a roadblock after a recent Supreme Court ban on fishing.
But the place with all its charms continues to be a big draw, with white-water rafting being a truly amazing experience, especially for first-time rafters. Experience the thrill and get a whiff of raw adventure in the river! At times, you may drift calmly, while at others, you will simply scream your heart out as the ride gets rough. But stay calm and confident and you are sure to come back with a sense of accomplishment. Just give it a try.
17 Feb 2020 12:18 PM GMT