Want to slide down a rope against a slippery canyon and powerful water falls? Try canyoning in Nepal. PRERANA MARASINI
Imagine descending a waterfall as tall as 150 feet! The slippery rock against which you climb down can flip and overturn you, if you lose an inch. Your one hand goes on your back to hold the rope and the other, on the front to anchor ropes. However, that does not mean you’ll get down easily — the force of water coming down on your face makes it difficult to keep your eyes and nostrils open. But that is the name of the game and this one’s called canyoning.
Canyoning is like rock climbing, where your only support is a rope; but unlike rock climbing, in canyoning you climb down. It involves abseiling, jumping, sliding down canyon walls and waterfalls, and swimming at the end. Possible only at places where there are abundant waterfalls, canyoning is gaining popularity in the country that is second richest in water resources — Nepal.
Canyoning started from France in the 1980s and was introduced in Nepal in 1996. In the recent years, the number of foreigners coming in the Himalayan country for canyoning has increased significantly. Tara Meyer is one of them. A rafting guide in the U.S., Tara came to Nepal last year for rafting. “I had heard about canyoning from my brother. He had spoken highly about it,” she recalled.
She found the right time to try it: her birthday.“My brother was right; it was an incredible experience.” She has been to Nepal three times, and each time she was here, she tried it. What is so good about canyoning? “You alone are the master of the game,” she says, “unlike rafting, where you have to rely on team work; most of all, it challenges your fear.”
Anyone who looks at the steep, tall rocks and powerful blasts of water may think coming down through that would be very risky. But Adi Milder, a yoga teacher in the U.S., thinks otherwise. “Only the perceived risk is bigger, actual risk is not. There are guides, equipments and safety systems to take care of you,” he says.
“I was afraid in the beginning—to slide along the canyon,” said 21-year-old Rev Ashok, who had never been out of his monastery to try something like canyoning. After he did it in June this year, he said, “Whenever I slid, there were guides to make sure I was safe. I didn’t realise when I reached the pool — I had enjoyed it so much.”
Unlike first-timer Ashok, Adi has done canyoning more than 20 times in the U.S. but he says there’s more fun in Nepal. “There are high-scale canyons, abundant water resources, just a couple of hours’ drive from the capital. In the U.S., you have to trek for a long time to reach canyoning sites.”
There are around 20 identified and countless unexplored canyons in Nepal, says Prem Gubaju, a canyoning guide certified by the Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal Canyoning Association. “The most visited sites are in the Bhotekoshi-Tibet highway,” he adds. “A 2-day package that includes food, accommodation, and the canyoning fee costs $120,” says Santosh Shrestha of Borderlands Resort. Elsewhere, he says for the same package, one has to pay up to $300. Tara and Adi admit the price is very reasonable in Nepal.
A number of tour operators in Kathmandu take you for the canyoning trip. The Last Resort and Borderlands Resort are among renowned resorts that have been conducting canyoning since the late 1990s. They have certified, skilled guides and their resorts are located in the Bhotekoshi-Tibet highway, also popular for bungee jumping from a 160-ft tall suspension bridge, and rafting in the Bhotekoshi.
So, if you think you can slide down a rope, against a slippery canyon and powerful water falls, then come to Nepal and experience an adrenalin rush.
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