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Eastern India

This August, after a sweet month of boating in Kerala, we headed to Eastern India – Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand – on the look out for quality whitewater.

Until now there have not been any whitewater paddling trips to this area (as far as we know…), so as you might expect we started off a bit slow, trying to figure out how things worked.

We spent a good week, maybe more, in Koraput, Orissa attempting to get permits for the surrounding tribal areas which has some epic looking rivers, but also some scary sounding Maoists. Whilst waiting for these to come through we headed west to Chhattisgarh to the Indravati for our first run in the area, and first multi-day of the entire expedition.

Upon our return from the Indravati we found our permits had been rejected, so we decided to crack on north and check out some of the rivers in the less culturally sensitive areas. The highlight of northern Orissa without doubt was the Phulbani river, a 15km section with around 10km of whitewater set in a beautiful gorge – and paddleable in just one day!!!

Whilst the surrounding area to the Phulbani had a load of potential, we were tired of permit faff, so headed to Jharkhand, a state not really known for anything (so much so there are only 2 pages in the 1,000 page lonely planet for India). Fortunately for us, Jharkhand does have somethign to brag about – scary ass rivers. We paddled an 8km section of the Sankh, which can’t have had any more than 500m of flatwater. We walked some ridiculous rapids, survived some scary ones, and had a sweeeeeet time on the vast amounts of quality rapids.

The east of India has sooo much going for it as a kayaking destination, and I definitely want to head back as soon as possible.

However the rains have moved on and we’re now back in the familiar setting of Meghalaya – my favourite place to go kayaking anywhere in the world. Stay tuned for more…