Not many of us know that there is another Seti in western Nepal which is comparatively less crowded and a lot wilder and stunning. The West Seti is tributary of the great Karnali that flows down from Tibet through western Nepal and into the Ganges in India. The lower reaches of the West Seti is narrow and has rapids which makes it a more adrenaline-filled ride. Once the Seti meets the Karnali River, however, it widens out and the landscape morphs into stunningly sheer rock cliffs towering over the waters.
West Seti flows through seldom populated areas unlike other rafting rivers like Trishuli and BhoteKoshi. Villagers come down from the hills to graze their livestock during dry season. Coasting down the Seti, you will witness a glimpse of a of a relatively untouched area of Nepal gliding past. The area is extremely underdeveloped with no roads, lodges or teahouses and people who lead a very primitive life.
Tourism entrepreneurs are hopeful that with better access by plane and roads, rafting in Seti, Karnlai and Bheri will be promoted and bloomed in the coming years. Major hydropower projects are planned on all these rivers which reduces the chance of these rivers remaining natural and pure for much longer. At the present context, the remoteness of the mighty Himalayan rivers protects them. Dipayal is a 24-hour overland bus ride from Kathmandu. Flying to Dhangadi reduces travel time, but it is still a 6-hour journey by bus to Dipayal where the rafting trips start. “Managing logistics is one of our biggest challenges,” says Kamal Thakuri (pic below), a senior rafting guide who runs expeditions on the Seti-Karnali.
“There are enough rapids to keep people excited but they’re not so hard or risky that they’ll be scared”, said Thakuri, who is associated with Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies(NARA). Rapids are classified according to their level of danger and difficulty on a scale of I to VI, with VI being the most dangerous. “There used to be some good class III rapids just above Dipayal,” said Thakuri. “But they have already disappeared because of the hydroelectric project.”
As more reservoir projects like West Seti and Chisapani High Dam, rafting in Nepal’s wild west before the remote part of Nepal alters forever is certainly a must.
Courtesy: Nepali Times