Where there is a will there always is a waterway

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Most of us turn to nature for truth – perhaps that is how the Universe intends it!

To me it was water… as if the water bodies were conveyor belts to greater worlds. This unexplainable yearning could arguably be an occupational hazard for a Geologist that I am. Experiencing 25000 Kms of water in India, Srilanka and Malaysia on a paddleboard, bagging a slot in the Limca Book of records, scoring through 20 different water bodies, finding and riding the waves along the way has been a transformation from a limbless state to finding feet.

 

Survey Date No of Surveys Location Country Type of Water body No of SUP trips Paddle Distance (Only first survey trip distance)
April – 05 – 2015 1 Great Salt Lake Back waters,Chennai India Brackish Water 3 16
Aug – 23 – 2015 2 Tanjore Cauvery Canal, Tamilnadu India Irrigational Canal 1 20
Sep – 18 – 2015 3 Kaliveli – West- ECR – Pondy Road, Kancheepuram India Brackish water lagoon 2 6
Oct – 11 – 2015 4 Langkawi Main Island Malaysia Open water – Saline 3 20
Nov – 01 – 2015 5 Dal Lake, Srinagar India Warm Monomictic Lake 2 22
Nov – 08- 2015 6 Madu Ganga backwaters Srilanka Estuary (Mixed water) 3 25
Nov – 14 – 2015 7 Odiyur lake backwaters India Brackish water 2 4
Nov – 29 – 2015 8 River Nuanai & Dhanua river, orissa India Mixed water 1 20
Dec – 10 – 2015 9 Maduranthangam Lake, Tamllnadu India Fresh water lake 1 13
Dec – 10 – 2015 10 Periyaputheri Lake,Kancheepuram India Fresh water lake 2 3
Dec – 13- 2015 11 Vengaivasaal Lake, Chennai India Fresh water lake 2 5
Jan – 01- 2016 12 Senneri, Kancheepuram, Chennai India Fresh water lake 8 8
Mar – 12 – 2016 13 Kovalam – Island Quarries, Chennai India Fresh water abandon quarry 4 3
Mar – 23 – 2016 14 Lake Kolavai, Chingelpet, Tamilnadu India Fresh water lake 1 8
Apr – 01 – 2016 15 Sonnallur, Kancheepuram India Fresh water lake 1 5
Apr – 01 – 2016 16 BOL offshore – Kovalam – ECR, Chennai India Open water – Saline 5 4
Apr – 17 – 2016 17 Srikundram Lake Ponninyin Selvan Fresh water lake 15 8
Apr – 18 – 2016 18 Kayar, Kancheepuram India Fresh water lake 1 4
Jun- 18 – 2017 19 CITM-2 lake, Asola Wild Sanctuary India Fresh water abandon quarry 1 3
Jul – 03 – 2017 20 River Godavari – Pattisema to Rajahmundhry India Fresh Perennial River 3 32
20 61 229

 

Stats
No of water bodies paddled 20 waterbodies
Paddle distance – First Survey trip 229kms
No of Countries visited 3 countries
Total kms travelled (Air, Road, Water) 25000kms
Total no of days – Paddle 61 Days
Total Duration 05-Apr-2015 to 03-Ju1-2016 14.5 months

 

The vital force that water is miraculously finds its way through you and gradually becomes you.

My expeditions are my humble calls of attention to some cold reality which bears a stark contrast to the kindness of the water I paddle through.

Gurgaon is home! It has cradled me for a decade now and it is my slice of home- well hurrah to the phenomenal growth this semi-arid region has witnessed in the last two decades and its makeover from a dusty small district headquarters to one of the business hubs of India. It is ironic that when it’s Financial (the third highest per capita income in India) and Industrial topography is flourishing, the water table is continually depleting.

I am looking for serene water bodies around Gurgaon when the rest of the city is busy tackling water problems or is blissfully unaware of it – and as the wise would say ‘ Where there is a will there always is a waterway’ .

I was not going to settle for anything less that a breakthrough and boy what a breakthrough it was!

Nature did what nature does best – it revealed. I had a bucket list to choose from before I knew it. Courtesy: Google maps, Topo sheets, blogs, Archive videos and news articles
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  1. Sultanpur National Park Lake – Bird Sanctuary, ideal for bird watchers, best visited in winters, haven for migratory birds, popular national park, 25-30kms from Gurgaon (Sikandherpur metro). This wetland remains bird watchers paradise and that’s it! I do not recommend an attempt to paddle
  2. Damdama lake – 30kms / 50mins drive from Gurgaon, Reservoir in Sohna, one of the biggest lakes in Haryana, fed by the monsoon pouring through a trough. Thumbs up for the story and the abundance of water…thumbs down for this being a Paddleboard destination
  3. 3. Abandoned Quarries – Man always takes like it was his birth right? – was he meant to be a parasite? …the trend hasn’t changed much since cavemen days.

We came, we saw and plundered all forms of nature alike- ocean, sea, waterfall, mountains and hills. Let’s talk about ‘Hills’ that eventually became ‘deep mined quarries’. These quarries were shamelessly abandoned after being robbed ruthlessly off its wealth.

And Nature does what nature does best – gives and forgives

These crates, through several monsoons gather water and transform gracefully into ‘forsaken lakes’ – these are more symbols of revival than those of abandonment.

They were rightfully termed Lake Oasis.

  1. Badkhal lake – 28kms / 35mins drive from Gurgaon (Sikandherpur metro).

Then: A beautiful lake Now: A dried up representation of what it used to be

 

Abandoned Quarries were our destination.  Paddleboarding experience in Lake OASIS

From the above four water bodies, I picked the lakes that used to be deep mined quarries. Thanks to the monsoon showers which filled these few hundred feet deep quarries and turned few of these gigantic meteroic- impact- crater like spaces into fresh water lakes. This Precambrian terrain is remnant of one of the world’s oldest hill ranges- “Aravali”. These forest trails are frequented by enthusiasts of cycling, short treks and bird watching and my partner in crime for this expedition was Varad Sabharwal, a friend, a Petroleum Engineer, cyclist, photographer and a seeker.

From Inflate- submit to nature-deflate, it was a beautiful day of exploration at the lake Oasis and this reinstated my craving to conserve water bodies and continue to paddle.

‘Where there is a will there always is a waterway’- even in the vicinities of a coast less, seemingly concrete jungle that Gurgaon is construed to be.
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Varad & Nadine inflating 10ft Naish paddleboard
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Few strokes in the middle of glassy water surface – “Walk on Water experience”
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