One has to go back to 1858 to chart the history of rowing as a sport in India. The Calcutta Rowing Club is in fact, one of the oldest in the world. Rowing today is one of the most established disciplines in the Olympics. India has never won a rowing medal in the Olympics but claimed the gold in the 2010 Asian Games, in the individual category.
Rowing as a traditional sport in the subcontinent goes back millennia. Today we are familiar with the Onam races – the historic and famous Vallam Kalli. The annual snake boat race is held in the backwaters of Kerala and the most famous tournament is the Nehru Trophy. There are different categories of boats. The longest one is close to 150 feet long and accommodates 110 rowers. One can imagine a race of 20 boats, a spectacle of 2200 rowers competing at the same time.
Another famous boat race is held in Dawki, Meghalaya, on the clear waters of the Umngot River. The annual affair happens in the months of March or April. Manipur is also home to a rich rowing tradition. Heikru Hidongba is a festival that has been celebrated in the Imphal valley for more than a thousand years. One of the major highlights of this festival is, you guessed it, a boat race.
Where can we row in Karnataka?
If you want to experience rowing in Bangalore, the main organizations that facilitate competitions and workshops are the Karnataka Amateur Rowing Association and the Trishna Yacht Club.
You can also indulge in an adrenaline-raising rowing experience in the wild. There are Kabini River resorts where visitors can learn the basics of this sport and negotiate the currents of the rivers. Rowing in the river would be a perfect team building activity for a corporate day outing. The sport tests the participants’ stamina and coordination. The beautiful scenery around the waters certainly helps add a memorable background to this occasion. You can enjoy some competitive rowing or you can just learn the paddling techniques and enjoy a few rounds on the currents.
A rowing experience in the wild would start with safety tips and instructions from an expert. Once you are ready to go, you will get a chance to row along the curves and multiple currents of the river, as you work with your fellow boat members on how to navigate the river.
Some of the other popular boat based adventure activities you can experience in Karnataka include river rafting in Coorg. Many adventurers are heading off to Uttara Kannada district to enjoy the Dandeli River rafting rapids in the lap of the Western Ghats.
Karnataka is a state that boasts some of the most pristine riverine landscapes in India, ripe for exploration. Informed travellers are seeking eco-tourism options as a way to unwind and take a break from the daily grind. Bangalore is favourably located from many eco-tourism destinations. From resorts in Masinagudi to a short stay in Nandi Hills, there is something for everyone, the trekkers, wildlife photographers, and the adrenaline junkies.