THE BLACK RIVER
The Kali Gandaki, west Nepal’s Himalayan River is a terrific medium length river journey, combining great whitewater with some of the prettiest scenery in Nepal. Both experienced and novice rafters will love it. The village terraces cling precariously to the slopes and surreal snowcapped peaks hang suspended above us as we drift through the world’s deepest gorge. Being one of the holiest rivers in Nepal, every river junction of the Kali Gandaki is dotted with cremation sites and above ground burial mounds.
Pokhara can be reached by plane or by car taking thirty minutes or five hours respectively. The journey to the river begins early in the morning from Pokhara. The put-in point is 40km away at Naya Pul and the drive takes approximately 2 hours. Mule caravans can be seen coming down to Pokhara and the mountains views are spectacular. After a briefing and preparations, everyone is on the boat. The first days treat includes a series of Class III and Class IV rapids. Interesting rock formations are seen on the canyon walls as we paddle past. High above the river lie villages perched on hilltops. Birding is a special feature on this trip and such specimens as Red shank, cormorants and kingfishers can be seen along the river. The day ends at the campsite.
Soon after breakfast the second days trip begins and there are more Class IIIand Class IV rapids to maneuver, but as the day progresses, less of these are encountered compared to the previous day. Going further down, the landscape changes gradually and the valleys become wider. There are more temples along the way and villages mostly inhabited by Brahmins or Magars. Before the jungle corridor is entered, waterfalls are encountered that cascade down stalactite formations. The night halt is on a remote beach.
At the confluence of two rivers (the Modi and Kali) rests the village of Modi Beni. The spot where two rivers meet is considered a holy site by Hindus and a massive boulder here is recognized as an important shrine by the locals. Some small rapids are encountered here and are relatively easy. The valley then widens, and the great gorge is left behind. The river loses its ferocity and the surrounding hills are no longer steep. Back in civilization, farmers can be seen busy in their fields and children wave from a distance. A lunch stop here brings an end to this marvelous three-day river trip. A change of route on the way back to Pokhara makes the journey more interesting as the road leads through rising hills, farmland and charming Gurung Villages. This three-day river trip takes one through the most diverse cultures and landscapes.
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