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Monday, December 26, 2011

Rafting in India

Krishna Srivatsa Nimmaraju

Rafting is considered as one of the best adventure sports all over the world. Rafting or white river rafting is done using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. White water rafting can be a dangerous sport, especially if basic safety precautions are not observed. 
Grades in Rafting:
Below are the six grades of difficulty in white water rafting. They range from simple to very dangerous and potential death or serious injuries.

Grade 1: Flat water, little current. (Skill Level: Very Basic)

Grade 2: Bubbling current, small rapids, some rough water, maybe some rocks
(Skill level: basic paddling skill)

Grade 3: Technical & Exciting, needs trained guide, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. (Skill level: experienced paddling skills)

Grade 4: Big rapids, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop.  (Skill level: whitewater experience)

Grade 5: Large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop (Skill level: advanced whitewater experience)

Grade 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous as to be effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment.  

In India there are very few Grade 5 and Grade 6 rapids. You can find Grade 4+ rapids only in north India on the rivers like Ganga, Brahmaputra.

Rafting on Ganga, Rishikesh:(Grade 3+ rapids, one 4+ rapid)
Rishikesh is considered as the best spot for rafting in India. Most of the rapids in rishikesh are above 3 and they are few 4+ rapids too. There are four start points for rafting in Rishikesh. First is Kaudiyala(35km, 5hrs), Marine drive (27km, 4hrs), Shivpuri (16km, 3hrs), and Brahmapuri (9km, 2hrs). For beginners, rafting from shivpuri and brahmapuri is best suited and for experienced rafters(non swimmers), who has capability to row the raft for 3hrs can opt for rafting from Marine drive. For experienced rafters(swimmers) can opt for rafting from Kaudiyala. In this rafting stretch we will hit adventures rapids like Black Money, Cross fire, Three Blind mice, body Surfing ,cliff jump, Return to sender,  Golf Course and Club House., Double trouble, Hilton and terminator etc.  Enjoy body surfing & cliff jump on this section to add some extra fun to your rafting trip. 
Rafting from Brahmapuri costs around 500, from Shivpuri costs around 600, from marine drive costs around 800. These costs includes transportation to the starting point from the camp.

The only 4+ rapid in this stretch is 'The Wall Rapid' and we can face that rapid, if we start from Kaudiyala. There are 100% chances of getting off the raft while passing through this rapid. 

Rafting on Upper Alakananda, Chamoli: (Grade 3-5, Rafting Expedition)
If you are interested in rafting expedition, then Chamoli(uttarakand, near devprayag) is the best place to start with. The rafting expedition will start at Chamoli and lasts for 3-4 days and distance covered will be around 150km. This rafting is not for first timers, non swimmers. For more information about the rafting expedition on alakananda, please visit,

Rafting on Brahmaputra, Arunachal pradesh: (Grade 3-5, Rafting Expedition)
Rafting on Brahmaputra river is very challenging and only experienced rafters can do that. The expedition on the great Brahmaputra begins at Tuting, where Tsang Po, the name given to it in Tibet, takes on the name Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. Rapids such as the ‘Pulsating Pulsi’, ‘Toothfairy’ at Cherring will give you more than enough adrenaline to tell the folks back home. This self-contained river run offers an amazing journey through tropical forests, gorges and a window into a rich culture, unlike any other. The Great Brahmaputra is for anyone who is looking for an exhilarating rafting and kayaking expedition and will be rewarded with an experience that will give you goose bumps whenever you think about it. 
For more information about rafting on Brahmaputra, please visit:

Rafting on zanskar river, Ladakh: (Grade 3-5, Rafting Expedition)
This is one of the most exotic rafting expeditions in the world. Rafting expedition starts from Padum ( 11,450 ft ), which would qualify as the highest rafting put in locations possible on the planet. The river journey flows through deep gorges and traverses across harsh inhospitable geography of Ladakh, in one of the remotest and sparsely inhabited regions of the world. The expedition on the Zanskar river is completely self supported, and passes through the steep gorges carved out by the river over countless years. The Zanskar gorge has been referred to as the 'Grand Canyon' of Asia by many explorers. The river is graded as Class IV, and it passes through very remote and difficult to access terrain of Ladakh. The river's water is very cold ( around 7 degrees Celsius ), and cold water gear like wet suits etc are necessary. In the winters, the Zanskar river freezes, and the local inhabitants use it for accessing the outer world.
For more information about the rafting in Zanskar river, please visit:

Rafting on Kali river, Dandeli: (Grade 2 -3 rapids, Best Time:September - January)
Dandeli is located at a distance of 500km from Bangalore. Dandeli is famous for the Jungle lodges and also equally important for the rafting in kali river. Rapids in kali river are graded between 2-3, best suited for the beginners. But rafting in dandeli, depends on the water release from the Supa dam. Rafting in kali river costs around 1250 for 9km stretch.
Rafting on Kundalika river, Kolad:(some grade 3 rapids, Best Time:June - January)
Rafting in Kundalika river is held at kolad, which is located at a distance of 120km from mumbai and 100km from pune. Rafting costs around 1300 for 11km. There are few Grade 3 rapids in this stretch. The best way to book rafting in kundalika river is through online. Please refer the links below for booking. , ,

Rafting on Beas river, Kulu: (Grade 2 -3 rapids, Best Time:April - August)
Beas river in kulu valley of Himachalpradesh is one the best places to raft, because of the surrounding mountain ranges. Beas river has rapids ranging from 2-3, some times in summer, one can experience 3+ rapids. One can find many rafting camps on the road side, while traveling from Kulu to manali. For 7km rafting, organizers charge around 400-500 and 14km rafting charges around 700-900. Water in beas river will be very cold throughout the year and if you want to enjoy the rafting max, then please get off from the raft and try body surfing in the chilled water.

Rafting on Cauvery river, Bhemeshwari:(Grade 1 -3 rapids, Best time: July - December)
Bheemeshwari is located at distance of 100km from Bangalore. Rafting is one of the major attraction at Bheemeswari. The distance covered in rafting is about 9km and the organisers will charge 1250 for rafting alone. As most of the rapids in the cauvery are below Grade3 range, rafting here is considered as best for beginners.
For more information visit ,


Rafting on Barapole River, Coorg (Karnataka): (Grade 2-3 rapids, Best Time: June- september)Coorg or kodagu is situated at a distance of 250km from Bangalore. Being located in Dakshina Kannada (southern part of the state of Karnataka in India), this area is naturally endowed with the topography that is conducive to the south-west monsoon effectively finding their way into rain-fed streams and rivers, which in turn is ideal for rapids suitable for white water rafting. Upper stretches of the Barapole River, known as Kithu Kakathu River pours into a small gorge where the first section of good rapids ‘ Morning Coffee’, ‘Wicked Witch’ & ‘Grasshopper’  which can become rather difficult in higher water levels. 

Rafting on Sita River, Hebri (Karnataka)(Grade 2-3 rapids, Best Time: June- september) Hebri is situated at a distance of 35 km from Udupi, in the foot hills of agumbe ghat. For bookings contact:

Important Links for rafting in India:

Krishna Srivatsa Nimmaraju / Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.


  1. awesome information...

  2. super thanks for all the details

  3. Citec
    Nice article with awesome photos of experience of rafting in rishikesh.Thanks for sharing with us .!Rafting in Rishikesh

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