Kashmir's two major natural advantages are its mountains on the one hand, and lakes and rivers on the other. These waterways enhance the beauty of the land and are one of the chief sources that attract tourists to its verdant valleys. But more than just a means of pleasure, the water-ways are an activity oriented way of discovering new lei-sure sports. To those of you who are by nature passive, there is little more needed than a wining nod to a passing shikara-wala before you are invited on board these narrow boats with their sprung-cushion seats and chintz curtains. A variation on this can be the hiring of a motor boat so you travel faster over water. Or better still, when the summer days are balmy, go water skiing. The two rivers, Indus and Lidder, are essentially mountain streams and are suitable for white water rafting on some stretches. The Indus in Ladakh, in particular. has three portions that are ideal for this sport Due to a low volume of water and a wide river bed, it can be navigated only in pares. Options offered are a half day run for amateurs from Phey to Niemo, or a two day exciting run from Phey to Alchi (day one) and Nurla (day two) with a choice of going further to Khalsi. The Zanskar River, also in Ladakh, can offer professionals six days on rapids that begin at Padum and And through the picturesque Zanskar valley. The best season is August-September.
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