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The Locals | Nepal & India

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.

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