Pramod Magar was born in Nepal and grew up in Rishikesh, India. He is a professional kayaker and raft guide. Here is his story in his words.
My life would have taken a very different path, if I had not fallen in love with kayaking as a young kid - and to start with, I actually fell in love with the river at literally first sight, as from when I am a small kid, the river had always mesmerized me.
I remember myself looking at the river as a small kid, being fascinated by the uncontrolled power of the rapids, and the river growing in India growing every year into a huge roaring river after the monsoon (raining season plus melting snow and ice from the Himalayas).
And while other kids around the world start swimming in a safe and quiet, well-tempered swimming pool, I had the wild, cold river Ganges as my Guru and swimming teacher - the currents making me stronger, the rapids teaching me lessons to always keep huge respect for the river, the cold water adding the challenge to swim. Now, after having worked in and travelled to many different places and kayaked many different rivers, I can call myself really lucky being born and growing up close to the majestic river Ganges, the river that is called Ganga in India and described in the holy book of Hindus “Mahabharata” as the 'best of rivers, born of all the sacred waters'. This awe-inspiring river has taught me to always keep respect wherever I kayak.
I started kayaking at an early age of 7. As I grew up in a village called Shivpuri which is one of the most famous put in points of whitewater rafting close to Rishikesh, I was naturally exposed to the holy River Ganga and the Indian rafting scene as Rishikesh is the hub of best whitewater rafting/kayaking in India.
For a young 7 year old boy, seeing kayakers and raft guides perform water stunts (flipping over, rolling etc) was something absolutely fascinating. I would silently stand next to the raft guides and hear them while they briefed the guests about the trip. I was also unable to catch the technical words and neither could I understand that it was "kayaking" not "kishti".
When one of my friends took me rafting I got the chance of sitting on a kayak - and that feeling of sitting on a kayak was magical moment: I knew that I wanted to become a kayaker. Now it's been over 10 years of a breath-taking journey of me paddling across India, Nepal and few European countries such as Iceland, Germany and Spain, being a professional whitewater kayaker and rafting guide.
In countries like India and Nepal it's not easy to pursue what you love and kayaking being quite an unrecognized sport in India/Nepal made it a little hard for me. But I believe when you're passionate about something, you should follow your dreams! I consider myself very fortunate as I have made my passion a profession. It wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't had strong support from my family, mentors and friends. Kayaking across so many rivers in India and Nepal gave me a lot of experience and exposure and after few years working as a raft and kayak guide I got the chance of working as a raft guide in Iceland.
Whatever I am today is because of my family, my well-wishers and of course the unique river Ganges. I am also really grateful to be under the guiding light of the Indian legend kayaker, Shalabh Gahlaut and the Nepali legend kayaker, Anup Gurung.
Bonus Information | River Ganges
The Ganges is a great river, big volume, extremely wide and absolutely stunning. The river originates from the Gangotri Glacier of western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows South and East through the Gangetic Plain of India and Bangladesh, eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal. When the ice of the Gangotri Glacier melts, it forms the clear waters of the Bhagirathi River. As the Bhagirathi flows down the Himalayas, it joins the Alaknanda River, officially forming the Ganges River. There are solid rivers around to kayak and enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas.