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Ride the Rapids: Top 15 White Water River Rafting Destinations in India

River rafting has emerged as one of the most popular water sports in India, offering adventurers the thrill of a lifetime. Navigating through unbridled waters and tackling precarious rapids, rafters experience an incredible adrenaline rush. If you haven’t had the chance to try this exhilarating water sport or are already hooked after a weekend trip to Rishikesh or Kundalika, you might be wondering where else in India you can go for this thrilling experience. You’ve come to the right place. We encourage you to read until the end to discover the best destinations for white water river rafting in India. Without further ado, let’s GO with the FLOW!

15 Best Places for The Ultimate Rafting Escapes in India

  • River Ganga, Rishikesh
  • Zanskar River, Ladakh
  • Teesta River, Sikkim and Darjeeling
  • Brahmaputra River Rafting
  • Kali/Sharda River Rafting, Kumaon
  • Barapole in Coorg
  • Kundalika River, Maharashtra
  • Tons River, Uttarakhand
  • Alaknanda River, Uttarakhand
  • River Bhagirathi, Uttarakhand
  • Yamuna River, Uttarakhand
  • Spiti River, Himachal
  • Indus River, Ladakh
  • Lohit River, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Kameng River, Arunachal

River Ganga, Rishikesh

River Rafting in Rishikesh

Mighty and whimsical, the River Ganga offers the best white-water river rafting experience in India. Rafting on the Ganga can be enjoyed in Rishikesh, nestled in the Garhwal Himalaya in Uttarakhand. The emerald water, seemingly calm when viewed from above, gains pleasant speed and adventure as you ascend from Rishikesh, making the river more challenging. In Rishikesh, there are four rafting stretches: the Brahmapuri to Rishikesh stretch (9kms), the Shivpuri to Rishikesh stretch (16kms), the Marine Drive to Rishikesh stretch (24kms), and the Kaudiyala to Rishikesh stretch (36kms).

The rapids range from grades I to IV. Among the popular grade IV rapids, ‘The Wall’ between Kaudiyala and Marine Drive is considered the most challenging. Another major rapid is ‘Roller Coaster,’ located between the Marine Drive and Rishikesh stretch.

In addition to these, there are many exhilarating rapids with interesting names such as ‘Daniel Dip,’ ‘Three Blind Mice,’ ‘Return to Sender,’ ‘Golf Course,’ and ‘Double Trouble.’ These stretches are well-defined, allowing you to easily choose a rapid that suits your capabilities.

Zanskar River, Ladakh

Zanskar River Rafting

Ladakh is an enthralling land, where you can enjoy multiple activities. On the lovely Zanskar River, one can experience the best of white-water rafting. Rafting is done on the Padum and Nimmo stretch that mainly consist of 3rd and 4th grade rapids. The river, which was originally called Tsarap, snakes between the lofty jagged mountains and adds to the charm of exhilarating rafting experience.

The Zanskar River offer challenges by passing through some tricky terrains. Therefore, one can very well imagine the extent of adventure for expert rafters here. The whirling rapids and the icy cold water thrown in together with beautiful surrounding landscape creates memorable white river rafting expedition in Ladakh!

Teesta River, Sikkim and Darjeeling

Teesta River Rafting

You thought you have seen it all! Well, wait till you tame the unbridled Teesta River in Sikkim. Flowing between the beautiful states of Sikkim and West Bengal, Teesta is considered to be the lifeline of these states. The unruly river after flowing 309kms from the Himalaya joins the magnificent Brahmaputra River before entering Bangladesh. The point where Teesta meets with Rangit River forms a formidable place for rafting for veteran rafters as well.

The starting point of rafting is at Melli which is easily approachable from Gangtok. One has the choice of going rafting in the low waters where the rapids are easy (Grade I to Grade III) or taking up the challenge of rafting over the irrepressible waters. Oar and paddle white water rafting is also the choice given to the adventurers here. Also, not to forget that outstanding beauty of the landscape further graces the rafting experience in Teesta River in Sikkim.

Brahmaputra River Rafting, Arunachal Pradesh


Perhaps one of the most challenging rivers for rafting in India, Brahmaputra enters India through Arunachal Pradesh and offers a piece of thrill! This action-packed river being massive and untamed becomes a suitable river rafting site. The starting point of rafting is at Tuting and the end is situated at a distance of 180kms in Pasighat. It takes approximately a week to cover the entire stretch, thus small stretches are covered each day by the rafting lovers, who also camp along the river at the end of the day.

The 180kms of stretch constitutes one of the most adventurous and unpredictable waterways and renders adventurers a memorable expedition experience. The rapid levels are mostly of grade IV and most famous among them are The Zebra Rock, Roaring Rikor, Moying Madness, and Tooth Fairy. Camping at the various sites during the rafting expedition makes one well aware of the life, culture and traditions of Arunachal Pradesh.

Kali/Sharda River Rafting, Kumaon

Kali River Rafting

Come to Kumaon region of Uttarakhand for an exciting rafting experience. River Kali or Sharda that originates in the Pithoragarh District is a suitable river for white water rafting in Uttarakhand. Kali constitutes the eastern boundary of India and Nepal and thus one can expect the riverside to be impeccably gorgeous and pristine. This river is one of the lesser known contenders for rafting in India; however, it is indeed one of the best rafting destinations that you can find in the country.

While you raft in the immaculate water, you shall appreciate the natural beauty of thick woods and variety of birds and animals. Rafting can be pursued at any time of the year, except in the harsh winter, from two points (Jauljibi/Jhulaghat in March and April and Pancheswar in May to November). The expedition usually begins from Pancheswar and ends at Boom (Tanakpur), during which the rafters face a number of grade II and III rapids. There is only one grade IV rapid named Chuka. This enthralling expedition takes at least 3 days to finish.

Barapole in Coorg

Barapole Coorg River Rafting

South India has its own chunk of thrill ready for adventure freaks. The Barapole River that crosses through Coorg is ideal for some adventure. Unlike north India, for rafting in south, one has to wait till the monsoon; however, it is worth waiting for it! The rafting stretches are basically divided in two parts- the upper section of the river and the lower one. The grade of rapid ranges between II and IV; the upper section has4 to 5 rapids and the lower section has 6 to 7rapids.

Amongst the most hair-raising rapids are Morning Coffee (Grade II), Grass Hopper (Grade III), Ramba Samba (Grade II) , Wicked Witch (Grade III) and finally Big Bang (Grade IV). The turbulent river passes through the scenic valley in Coorg, where at every short distance the rafters face whirling rapids that seem to skillfully play with the raft; while the raft tries to escape the rapids, the strong currents give it a good chase!

Kundalika River, Maharashtra

Kundalika River Rafting

The Sahyadri River is perfect for white river rafting in Western India. Kundalika enters Kolad, where a dam is constructed that majorly controls the gradient and turbulence of the river and thus forms an ideal location for river rafting in Maharashtra. Kolad has become a popular spot for adventurers to gather over the weekends as it is merely 140kms from Mumbai and 110kms from Pune. Amateurs can go rafting here as well as most of the rapids are of Grade II and III. Monsoon is the perfect time to go rafting in Kundalika.

Tons River, Uttarakhand

The tributary of River Yamuna, Tons flows through the state of Uttarakhand and is considered to be one of the most challenging rivers for rafting in India. Voluminous, turbulent and yes whimsical! Tons make for an incredible rafting experience for veteran adventurists. The challenging rapids range between grade III and IV, which signals that Tons only call the brave hearts; those who have tamed other turbulent rivers. The major rapids in the river are On the Horns of the Tons, Tons Squeeze, Khuni Gad Rapid, Confluence and Tuni Bazaar. As the river meanders through remote areas, one also gets an opportunity to learn a lot about the core culture and traditions of Uttarakhand.

Alaknanda River, Uttarakhand

Alaknanda River Rafting

Adventure freaks brace up! Alaknanda River is here to give you a good dose of thrill and shrill! Cascading from the Garhwal Himalaya, Alaknanda River meanders through rough terrains and becomes difficult to raft when it runs between Chamoli and Devprayag. Indeed challenging, it takes 6 days in the river and a rafter has to survive through erratic Grade IV and V rapids before the expedition comes to an end at Devprayag. This expedition demands immense strength, skill and patience; it also makes one realize about one’s caliber.

The major rapids in Alaknanda River are Hillary Fall, Karnprayag Confluence, Kakar Fall, Confluence of Rudraprayag, Bagwan Rapid. The river is offers opportunities to learn, each time you set your camp along the riverside; you will be able to grasp more about the life and culture of Uttarakhand. Thus, by the end of your expedition not only will you be replete with excitement but knowledge as well.

River Bhagirathi, Uttarakhand

Bhagirathi River Rafting

The 150-kilometer stretch of the Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand offers an exceptional river rafting experience. This river expedition takes you from Bhagirathi down to Devprayag, where the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers converge. While intrepid rafters are thrilled by the whirling and gurgling rapids ranging between Grade III and IV, the river’s course leads them through stunning valleys between two parallel mountains. These mountains flank the rushing stream, offering breathtaking views of exquisite landscapes. Some of the major rapids encountered along the Bhagirathi include Elephant Rock, The Chute, Sharp S, and Confluence Rapid.

River Rafting At Yamuna Bridge Near Mussoorie

Yamuna serves as an extraordinary rafting destination, accommodating both novice and experienced rafters. The river provides an ideal rafting experience, particularly along the stretch as it meanders through Nainbagh and Juddo. Two specific stretches, namely Nainbagh to Juddo and Yamuna Bridge to Juddo, cater to amateur rafters seeking thrilling moments with family or friends. These stretches feature rapids graded between I and III, striking a perfect balance of challenge that can be managed with ease.

Spiti River, Himachal

Let us embark on a rafting adventure amidst the most spectacular nature! The Spiti River, which flows through the magnificent Spiti Valley, is the perfect place for rafting. The starting point for rafting on the Spiti River is located a short distance from Paldhar’s Plain at Kiatoe. The endpoint is Sumdo, and you can expect to spend at least 6 days on the river. From the lofty glaciers to the pristine villages, you will witness the spectacles of Himachal Pradesh.

The Spiti River boasts several Grade II and III rapids that whirl and sway the raft as if you are floating in the air. The major rapids of the river can be encountered near Sumdo, where the river becomes turbulent and offers an exciting experience for rafters.

Indus River, Ladakh

Rafting in the Indus River is nothing short of an adventure! Known as Singhe Khababs or ‘Out of the Lion’s Mouth,’ the Indus is one of the best places for rafting in India. Offering mesmerizing views of the Zanskar and Ladakh Ranges, a rafting expedition on the Indus provides an unforgettable experience in India. There are several stretches to choose from: Phey to Nimmo, Upshi to Kharu, Phey to Saspol, Kharu to Spituk, and Saspol to Khaltsey.

The Phey to Saspol and Kharu to Spituk stretches are recommended for amateurs and beginners, while the Phey to Nimmo and Upshi to Kharu stretches are suitable for adventurers with some rafting experience. The Saspol to Khaltsey stretch is reserved for veteran rafters, where challenges multiply. Completing this exhilarating stretch may take up to 5 days, but participants can choose to tackle smaller sections at their convenience.

Lohit River, Arunachal Pradesh

If river rafting in North East India is in your head, then consider the Lohit River. Whether you believe it or not, this lesser known river is one of the most challenging rivers for water sports like river rafting and kayaking. Flowing through Arunachal Pradesh, Lohit is a tributary of the Brahmaputra River. The river is an excellent place to be for those who are looking for a moderate river expedition as the water current in this river remains soothing all throughout the year. Thus, amateurs can also have a good time rafting here.

There are about 6 stretches namely, Kibithu to Walong Hot, Samdul to Peliang, Peliang to Hayuliang, Hayuliang to Paya and Paya to Parsuram Kund that one can choose from. The river rafting expedition in Lohit River fills one with unforgettable memories making one come back here time and time again!

Kameng River, Arunachal

Flowing through the Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh, the Kameng River is one of the best destinations for river rafting in India. Cascading into the state of Assam, the Kameng River is also a significant tributary of the Brahmaputra River. Kameng challenges even experienced rafters with unbridled Grade IV rapids right at the beginning of the expedition. As the sense of adventure takes hold, you can expect Kameng to become increasingly challenging with each passing kilometer.

The ride becomes bouncy when paddling through a gorge, and the river’s volume increases when the Bichom River joins in. At this confluence, rafters encounter several hair-raising Grade IV rapids. At Kameng, the thrill never ends; this whimsical river truly has the capability to fill you with extreme exhilaration!

Have you ever experienced the thrill of a river rafting expedition in India? If not, it’s high time you did!

Published: 06 Nov, 2023

About the author

Nidhi Singh

From the Lake District, Nainital, Nidhi Singh is a travel writer whose love for mountains can be seen in her write ups. Talk about solo travelling, indulging in adventure activities, binging on good food, planning budget trips or the Aurora Borealis and you will get all her attention. It is the wanderlust that keeps her going and if at all she could get one wish granted she would love to live a life less ordinary. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.