Last Updated: November 14, 2019 Nidhi Singh
Rafting has emerged as one of the most popular water sports in India, hasn’t it? Steering through the unbridled water and passing through precarious rapids, a rafter who is an adventurer at heart realizes what adrenaline rush actually is! If you haven’t yet got the chance to experience this utterly exciting water sport or you are already hooked to it after going on a weekend trip to Rishikesh or Kundalika and wondering where all you can go for rafting in India, then this is the right place you have set your eyes on. We encourage you to read till the end, so that you can choose the best rafting destination in India for yourself. Without further ado let’s GO with the FLOW!
River Ganga, Rishikesh
Mighty and whimsical, the River Ganga certainly offers the best white water river rafting experience in India. Rafting on the Ganga can be enjoyed at Rishikesh which is nestled in Garhwal Himalaya in Uttarakhand. The emerald water that looks calm when watched from a height has its pleasant speed and adventure as one ascends from Rishikesh, the river becomes more challenging. At Rishikesh, there are four rafting stretches namely, 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 grades of rapids lie between I and IV’; amongst the popular rapids of grade IV are The Wall, which falls between the Kaudiyala and Marine Drive stretch and is apparently the most difficult of all; Roller Coaster is another major rapid that falls between the Marine Drive and Rishikesh stretch. Other than these, there are many exhilarating rapids with interesting names like Daniel Dip, Three Blind Mice, Return to Sender, Golf Course and Double Trouble. The stretches are well-defined and one can easily choose a rapid best suited to one’s capabilities.
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
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 Arunchal Pradesh.
Kali/Sharda River Rafting, Kumaon
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
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
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
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
The 150kms stretch of Bhagirathi is exemplary for river rafting in Uttarakhand.The river offers an action-packed expedition down to Devprayag, where there is a confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda, While on the one hand, the intrepid rafters are thrilled with the whirling and gurgling rapids that range between Grade III and IV, on the other hand, the course of the river takes them through gorgeous valleys and pass through two parallel mountains; one on each side of the rushing stream, offering a glance at some of most exquisite landscapes. The major rapids that are encountered here in Bhagirathi are Elephant rock, The Chute, Sharp S and Confluence rapid.
Yamuna makes for an incredible rafting hub that is suitable for both amateur and skilled rafters. The river is ideal for rafting, especially the stretch where it passes through Nainbagh and Juddo. There are two stretches – Nainbagh to Juddo and Yamuna Bridge to Juddo that are favorable for amateur rafters, who seek to either spend some exciting time with family or friends. The rapid grades range between I and III; the rapids offer just the right amount of challenge that can be dealt with little effort.
Let us raft amidst the most spectacular nature! Spiti River that flows through the magnificent Spiti Valley is the perfect place for rafting. At a short distance from Paldhar’s Plain at Kiatoe is the starting point of rafting on the Spiti River. The end point being Sumdo, one can expect to spend at least 6 days in the river. Right from the lofty glaciers to the pristine villages, you will be able to witness the spectacles of Himachal Pradesh. Spiti River has a number of Grade II and III rapids that whirl and sway the raft as if you are floating in nothing but air. The major rapids of the river can be encountered near Sumdo, where the river becomes turbulent and offers a good spin to the rafters.
Rafting in Indus River is nothing less than an adventure! Known as Singhe Khababs or Out of the Lion’s Mouth, Indus is one of the best places to go rafting in India. Offering mesmerizing views of Zanskar and Ladakh Ranges, the rafting expedition at Indus makes for one unforgettable experience in India. There are a number of stretches – Phey to Nimmo, Upshi to Kharu, Phey to Saspol, Kharu to Spituk, and Saspol to Khaltsey that one can pick from. Whereas Phey to Saspol and Kharu to Spituk stretches are recommended for amateurs and beginners, Phey to Nimmo and Upshi to Kharu are for adventurers with some experience of rafting. It is only the Saspol to Khaltsey stretch that welcomes veteran rafters where challenges multiply. It may take up to 5 days in the river to complete the exhilarating stretch; however one can choose to take small stretches at a time or as per the convenience.
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!
Flowing through Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh, Kameng River is one of the best destinations for river rafting in India. Cascading to the state of Assam, Kameng River is also an important tributary of Brahmaputra River. Kameng challenges even the old hands at rafting by offering unbridled rapids of grade IV right in the beginning of the expedition. As the feeling of adventure settles in, expect Kameng to become more and more notorious with each passing kilometer. The ride becomes bouncy when you paddling through a gorge and further the river increases in volume when Bichom River joins in. At this confluence, rafters encounter several hair-raising grade IV rapids. At Kameng the thrill never ends; the whimsical river indeed has the caliber to fill one with extreme exhilaration!
“So, how many rafting expeditions have you pursued in India? Not enough right? Well, it’s time that you should! Give us a call at + 91 – 9212553174 /75 or drop us an email at email@example.com to help you plan a wonderful river rafting expedition in India. We at Tour My India create holiday packages keeping in view the requirements of an individual, so that each one of you can enjoy the tour to the fullest!”
Published: 04 Oct, 2014
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.