Karnataka: In huge boost for tourism sector, kayaking launched at Gokak falls | Hubballi News – Times of India

BELAGAVI: In a huge boost for the pandemic-hit tourism sector, the government has allowed kayaking at Gokak falls in Belagavi district. The falls is a major tourist destination during the monsoon season and the kayaking initiative is likely to draw more visitors, especially water sport enthusiasts.
After the forest and other government departments cleared the project, Explore The Outdoors, a private venture owned by Ayub Khan launched the kayaking service about 10 days ago. More than 350 people have taken kayaking trips since, besides learning about paddling and navigation.
Currently, five kayaks, a jetski and a raft are available for hire. A 30-minute ride on the Ghataprabha river costs Rs 300 per person. Visitors are taught the basics of kayaking — for example paddling and how to ensure one’s balance while seated — prior to the ride.
Khan said all safety measures are in place and staff from the firm are always on hand to help. In the coming weeks, he expects footfall to increase since enquiries are pouring in. He also claimed the sport will continue in summer without any interruption.
“Even in the summer months, water levels will be sufficient for boats to manoeuvre and people can visit,” he said. He said the emphasis is more on training people to handle a kayak instead of mere entertainment so that they could manage emergency rescues during floods. He also stressed safety of participants is a priority and his team members are professional rescuers.
Khan, who has helped with search and rescue operations for the past 30 years and who rescues more than 130 residents stranded in villages in Gokak during the floods in 2019, had sought permission for the venture way back in 2014. An adventure sport enthusiast, Khan has six acres of land on the riverbank adjacent to the falls area from where the firm operates.

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Sagar Biswas

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