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 DateNo of SurveysLocationCountryType of Water bodyNo of SUP tripsPaddle Distance (Only first survey trip distance)
April – 05 – 20151Great Salt Lake Back waters,ChennaiIndiaBrackish Water316
Aug – 23 – 20152Tanjore Cauvery Canal, TamilnaduIndiaIrrigational Canal120
Sep – 18 – 20153Kaliveli – West- ECR – Pondy Road, KancheepuramIndiaBrackish water lagoon26
Oct – 11 – 20154Langkawi Main IslandMalaysiaOpen water – Saline320
Nov – 01 – 20155Dal Lake, SrinagarIndiaWarm Monomictic Lake222
Nov – 08- 20156Madu Ganga backwatersSrilankaEstuary (Mixed water)325
Nov – 14 – 20157Odiyur lake backwatersIndiaBrackish water24
Nov – 29 – 20158River Nuanai & Dhanua river, orissaIndiaMixed water120
Dec – 10 – 20159Maduranthangam Lake, TamllnaduIndiaFresh water lake113
Dec – 10 – 201510Periyaputheri Lake,KancheepuramIndiaFresh water lake23
Dec – 13- 201511Vengaivasaal Lake, ChennaiIndiaFresh water lake25
Jan – 01- 201612Senneri, Kancheepuram, ChennaiIndiaFresh water lake88
Mar – 12 – 201613Kovalam – Island Quarries, ChennaiIndiaFresh water abandon quarry43
Mar – 23 – 201614Lake Kolavai, Chingelpet, TamilnaduIndiaFresh water lake18
Apr – 01 – 201615Sonnallur, KancheepuramIndiaFresh water lake15
Apr – 01 – 201616BOL offshore – Kovalam – ECR, ChennaiIndiaOpen water – Saline54
Apr – 17 – 201617SrikundramLake Ponninyin SelvanFresh water lake158
Apr – 18 – 201618Kayar, KancheepuramIndiaFresh water lake14
Jun- 18 – 201719CITM-2 lake, Asola Wild SanctuaryIndiaFresh water abandon quarry13
Jul – 03 – 201720River Godavari – Pattisema to RajahmundhryIndiaFresh Perennial River332
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Stats
No of water bodies paddled20 waterbodies
Paddle distance – First Survey trip229kms
No of Countries visited3 countries
Total kms travelled (Air, Road, Water)25000kms
Total no of days – Paddle61 Days
Total Duration 05-Apr-2015 to 03-Ju1-201614.5 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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