| Rafters reach Paradip after completing their trip. Telegraph picture |
Paradip, Aug. 10: A group of youth today accomplished the mission of rafting in Odisha’s longest river, the Mahanadi, braving unfavourable weather.
The weeklong expedition that started from Sambalpur came to an end today. The group of 22 boys and girls, rowed to their destination at Barunei near Paradip, the confluence of the Mahandi and the Bay of Bengal.
“This is the second successive river rafting mission undertaken in the state, in which the crew consisted of both men and women. Most of the participants were aged between 25 and 30 years. As the monsoon is at its peak, the team encountered difficulties when they rafted along the river system. But they overcame the adversities and successfully completed the journey,” said Rabindra Kumar Bhuyan, director, National Adventure Foundation (Odisha chapter).
As the rafts anchored on the riverbank near Paradip, the participants were elated. Local residents gave them a warm reception. “We were extended a generous welcome at all the riverside villages. At some places, we had brief stops to interact with the villagers. A large number of local residents paid a visit to us in the places where we had to halt at night. The camaraderie and warm interaction helped us overcome the fatigue of rafting,” said Rosalin Pattnaik, a participant.
However, the rafters also had to face hurdles.
The raft was caught in strong currents near the Satakosia gorge near Angul.
“Our raft drifted for over two hours before we encountered less turbulent water. Thankfully, all of us are expert swimmers. We were not at all scared. Besides, our team was equipped with life saving gadgets,” said Samir Patel, a rafter from Sundargarh district.
The journey began on August 4 in Sambalpur and covered 296km. “Adventure sports such as river rafting are slowly picking up in the state. We are planning to launch more river rafting expeditions in the rest of the river systems in Odisha,” said Bhuyan.
By organising such events at regular intervals, river rafting is going to gain popularity as an adventure sports, said Surajit Das, additional district magistrate, Paradip.