River rapids are challenges that enhance excitement and fear of kayakers and rafters. These white frothy sections of the river are known for turbulence and high speed of water. Negotiating the pure white requires perfect kayaking and rafting skills. Topography of a river course and water volume decide the number, size, strength, and type of the rapids.
Like international classification of the river rapids, the Rule 27 of Uttarakhand River Rafting / Kayaking Rules 2014 divides the rapids of the State into the following six classes:
Class I: Easy
The water moves easily in small waves due to absence of obstacles.
Sweet Sixteen on the Ganga in Rishikesh is an example of Class I rapid.
Class II: Medium
The water flows along an easy course interrupted by medium level of obstacles.
You will find Class II rapids between Rudraprayag and Dharidevi Temple on the Alaknanda River.
Class III: Difficult
The water moves in irregular waves in a thin clear course, thereby requiring good maneuvering skills.
The Alaknanda between Nandprayag and Rudraprayag offers Class III rapids. The Gaucher-Shivnandi stretch of the Alaknanda consists of difficult rapids.
Class IV: Very difficult
The river features irregular and powerful waves and long rapids i.e. obstacles cover big area. Increase in difficulty level demands perfect maneuvering skills and understanding of hydraulics.
For example, a Class IV rapid (Holy Hole) challenges the rafters and kayakers near the confluence of the Alaknanda with the Mandakini.
The Tons River also offers Class IV rapids.
Class V: Extremely difficult
The violent and closely placed rapids cover a big area of the river. Expert knowledge and experience therefore are must to negotiate this class of rapids.
For example, Hillary Fall on Chamoli-Kaldu-Bagad stretch of the Upper Alaknanda is a Class V rapid. Kakad Faal (Goats Leap Gorge) along the river between Gaucher and Rudraprayag is also an extremely difficult rapid.
Class VI: Very dangerous
These rapids are simply unsuitable for kayaking and rafting.