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This spectacular river is only available for those undertaking an expedition. The scenery on both the trek and river is unrivaled and unspoiled. The Upper Arun is one of the most powerful and respected rivers in Nepal, cutting through the Himalaya with deep and awesome gorges, lush valleys and superb riverside beaches. The powerful current and large water volume ensure huge and impressive rapids are encountered the length of this river journey. The rapids can be challenging and technically complex. The Arun is an excellent choice for a long trip for those seeking real adventure and the thrill of encountering huge rapids in an idyllic setting. It is the first choice for those wanting an expedition into the wilderness.
The Arun is respected as one of the most mightily and powerful rivers of Nepal. Its source is on the Tibetan Plateau, to the north of Kathmandu and it then swings in an easterly arc for some 200 km, drinking the Northern slopes of Everest and Makalu before cutting south through the Himalayas and into Nepal. It cuts through the Himalayas in some deep and awesome gorges that have fascinated explorers, join the Sun Kosi shortly before the Indian Plain. The gorges and gradient ease off near Chandanpur as the valley opens out and the hills get lower.
L. R. Wager, a mountaineer and geographer, explored these gorges on the upper Arun and as a result, in an article in the Geographical Journal in 1937, he suggested the now accepted theory of antecedent drainage- that these major rivers had developed before the Himalayas and that they had maintained their courses by cutting progressively deeper gorges as the mountains were uplifted. In more recent years the river has been the subject of 'Arun iii', a proposed huge hydroelectric project that thankfully this has now been shelved.
The river and its tributaries drain a huge watershed and the river carries a high load of sediment and glacial silt- colour varies between a milky brown to a granny. The deep gorges of the upper river have granite canyons clad in overhanging jungle and a wide variety of plant and animal life - very beautiful, but at times damp and gloomy. Mainly Bhotia people, many of whom still practice the old Bon Po religion, sparsely inhabit this upper valley. In the old days one of their main sources of income used to be trading goods to and from Tibet as the main trail up valley used to be an important trade route through to Tibet.