Rivers or lakes, brooks or streams, the sight of flowing water is undeniably soothing. We’re a country blessed with several bodies of water, all magnificent in their own ways. Here are India’s 5 most picturesque rivers that are well worth the effort of making a trip to experience.
The lifeline of India, the Ganges River has been revered by Hindus for as far as time dictates. Flowing through several northern states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, its holy waters flow for over 2,500 kilometres. With several confluences, the Ganges River is enjoyed by whitewater rafting enthusiasts at places like Rishikesh and worshipped at cities like Varanasi. It’s hard to put in to the words the power of this sacred river that attracts believers and non-believers alike along with photographers and conservationists from the world over.
One of Ladakh’s many crowing glories, the Zanskar River, a tributary of the Indus River, flows through picturesque pale brown gorges with dramatic walls and drops. Considered to be one of the best rivers in the world for whitewater rafting, the rapids here are some of the most arduous to navigate, which also make them the most thrilling. In the winter, as the Zanskar River freezes, the frigid landscape becomes the site of the Chadar Trek, which literally translates to ‘ice sheet’ trek. Definitely not for inexperienced!
Fed by over 38 rivers and spanning 900 kilometres, which is almost half the length of the state, the Kerala Backwaters are undeniably a stunning masterpiece in an ornate tapestry of lush green. An intricate network of canals, lakes and rivulets, the waterways define the tropical landscape and give the villages on its shores, a means of livelihood. Home to a variety of aquatic and avian fauna, which enhance its beauty even more, it’s no wonder then that a cruise through the Kerala Backwaters feature on almost every ardent traveler’s bucket list!
Umngot River (Dawki River)
Amidst forested woodlands and mountainous valleys in the far reaches of the state of Meghalaya is where the hidden gem Umngot River flows. It’s jade and turquoise waters also border Bangladesh where the river is known as Dawki. The water is crystal clear and to be able to look at underwater flora and fauna from a boat is magical. Separating the Khasi and Janatia hills, a ride on a fishing boat on the Umngot River will make you privy to the striking scenery around you and also under an old suspension bridge that divides the two countries.
Serving as a natural barrier between Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, the Kabini River meanders amidst lush forests and valleys. Situated on its banks in the Mysore district and a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Nagarhole National Park is a huge tourist draw for its stunning topography as it is for the wildlife to be found here. Home to bison, Asian elephants and even tigers, the fertile wetlands along the Kabini River are teeming with abundant avian species that attract avid birdwatchers in large numbers. A boat safari on the Kabini River is quite the treat and a great way to take in surrounding views.
Author: Devika Khosla
With the inability to sit still, she’s always going ‘somewhere’. Foodie, spa junkie, animal lover and traveler. That’s Devika’s story.