Paddling Through The Ganges Solo. Rency Sets Record.


Rency Thomas G has possibly become the first to have sailed alone the full length of The River Ganges on  a human powered boat, from the source Gaumukh to the Ganga Sagar Island, mouth of  the Ganges, without any motorised assistance.

The arduous 2750 KM long, source to sea adventure across five states of  Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,  Jammu Kashmir and West Bengal included 1930 KM of kayaking alone on the river. Rency says, it began with 23 KM trekking from Gaumukh to Gangotri followed by 800 KM mountain  to Devprayag, where the confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers forms the Ganges.

 The gruelling white water kayaking from Devapriyag to Rishikesh on grade 4 waters put Rency’s skills to test.

A flight pilot aspirant and a mountaineer, Kanniyakumari born Rency made this expedition his mission after he was turned down for his dream career due to his Arthritis that limited his mobility in a couple of hand fingers and some body parts. He often  suffers excruciating pain but the spirit of adventure helps him to overcome. He also runs Live360 an adventure sports company in Mumbai.

Rency paddled a 17 foot long kayak for this record. Talking about his routine over the 95 day expedition, he told “I spent 6 to 7 hours alone in the waters non stop every day. Sitting in kayak with my arthritis legs stretched  for long hours would turn them numb”. There were other challenges too. “Imagine burnt bodies floating” he added. Low visibility was often a challenge on the river and even satellite maps wouldn’t help particularly amid “fake channels”. He would carry packed lunch and energy bars and a pee bottle.

As Rency took to waters up to 7 hours a day, a four member team including his wife Ponni worked behind the scene on logistics, scouting places for pitching their tents daily and food.

While Rency remained in the waters, his four member  support team comprising his wife Ponni A Nath, a Miniature Artist and three friends travelled on the road taking care of logistics along the river. They would get the place of their daily night stay at least three hours before Rency would reach. “We took care of the ration, scouting for a camp site to put up our three tents for the night, obtaining permission for the stay and open cooking” said Ponni. Two of the tents were used for their stay and one used as an eco friendly toilet. Ponni  also documented  the expedition and managed their social media. 

The team has got his amazing expedition video recorded. Rency had a Go Pro camera strapped on to his helmet. “I’d love to do a documentary on this beautiful journey. He is also pitching for recognition by  Guinness and Limca Book of World Records. 

For Ponni the exploration showcased  India’s beauty and its diverse culture. Asked for his larger message, Rency says “Dream big, work hard, commit yourself 200% and you can do it”. Ponni adds, “Yes, the universe would work for us”.


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