Few can turn away from the shimmer and shine of a vast body of water, its promise of a cool breeze, and the temptation for a quick dip. Children beg their parents to go out onto it, be it in a boat or on an inflated tube most adults cannot resist dipping their feet, at the very least. Therefore, when, during holiday travels, the opportunities float up to get into a yacht, gondola, houseboat, shikara, paddleboat, jet-ski, or even an old ferry, hold on to the rail with both hands and jump into the vessel. With a coastline of more than 7,500 km, and many rivers crossing vast plains, natural and artificial lakes, and dam reservoirs, India only recently is coming into its own where water tourism is concerned. Here are five places in India where you can ride on the water.
The Dal, Srinagar, Kashmir
On a trip to paradise on earth, ensure you get on to a shikhara on the Dal, the gem of Srinagar. Shikara rides will keep you close to the water, but be mindful of not rocking the boat too much. Your choice to stay on the houseboat will give you a glimpse of the Kashmiri culture, renowned worldwide for its warm welcome of guests.
On the Ganges, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh
The serene waters of the revered river Ganga in Prayagraj offer many boating and sailing opportunities. One of the many is a multiple-day trip down the Ganges from Allahabad to Varanasi. As you swish past the venerable temples that line the historic ghats of the river, if you are lucky, you may spot the elusive Gangetic dolphin revelling in the holy waters.
The state of Odisha has a lengthy coastline. It is also home to many river gorges and lakes, the largest among them being the saltwater lake Chilika, which is technically a lagoon. You can choose from boating experiences amidst basking crocodiles and exotic birds in the canyons of Satkosia Gorge, through which the River Mahanadi flows. In western Odisha is the Hirakud Dam on the same river. Here you can enjoy paddle boating, and many water sports too.
Situated along the coast, Mumbai is surrounded by the waters of the Arabian Sea, which are ideal for all water-based tourism activities. From day-long trips to short ones lasting a couple of hours in yachts, sailboats, catamarans, and ferries, there is no shortage of options if you want to be on the water. There are jetties for tourism-related activities at many points across the city.
Leave alone the beautiful coastline of Kerala, and look towards its interiors to the Idduki Dam on the River Periyar. The reservoir is set between two mountains, Kuravanmala and Kurathimala, and has regular on-boat sightseeing tours. Many yachting competitions are held here, and tourists can easily rent a yacht, sailboat, or rowboat.