When it comes to locations, some of the best places to go rafting in India would be in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Depending on your experience level in white water rafting, the rapids are divided into five grades. Grade 1 requires very basic paddling skill; grade 2 requires basic paddling skills; grade 3 is more technical and requires experienced paddling skills; grade 4 is considered intermediate level with medium size waves and few rocks; while grade 5 is suited solely for advanced rafters due to intense current with a high drop rate.
Rishikesh is widely recognized as the River Rafting Capital of India and is a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts seeking to indulge in rafting tours in Rishikesh. The city boasts of four main starting points for river rafting, including Kaudiyala, Shivpuri, Marine Drive, and Brahmapuri, with the stretch from Shivpuri to Lakshman Jhula being the most popular. This 16 km stretch is rich with whirlpools and features about 13 grade 1 to grade 4 rapids, making it an ideal location for both amateur and veteran rafters. However, the grade 4 rapids require expert maneuvering skills, as the currents are incredibly powerful and can suck you in for several seconds.
Due to its proximity to Delhi, Rishikesh attracts a large number of tourists every year, particularly during the summer months when adventure sports are at their peak. The city is well-connected by road, with regular bus services from Haridwar, Delhi, and Dehradun, and is also accessible by air and rail. It is advisable to hire a cab to reach the river camp and explore the religious hotspots in the area, such as Haridwar. The best time to visit Rishikesh is between September and June, when the weather is pleasant and the white sand beaches along the picturesque Kumaon Mountains are at their best. Visitors can enjoy camping along the river banks at night and indulge in rafting during the day for a truly unforgettable experience.
Zanskar River, located in the remote region of Ladakh, offers one of the most exotic and breathtaking rafting expeditions in the world. The river arises from the confluence of the Tsarap and Stod Rivers near the border of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Rafting down the Zanskar provides an unparalleled opportunity to discover the spectacular landscape with hillside villages, hilltop monasteries, lofty snow-capped peaks, deep gorges, and glimpses of exceptional wildlife. The Padum-Nimmu run is a popular 10 to 14 days trip with grade 3 and 4 rapids that is suitable for fairly experienced white water rafters. Padum, at an altitude of around 12,000 ft, is the highest rafting location in the world, and the sheer walls of deep gorges that rise thousands of feet above the river bed are renowned as the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Asia. The Phey-Nimmu run is an easy 36 km run with mostly grade 2 and 3 rapids, situated at the confluence of the Indus and the Zanskar Rivers. July-August is the ideal time for river rafting in Zanskar, and cold water gear is compulsory due to extremely cold water (about 7 degrees Celsius), even during these months.
Teesta River Rafting, Sikkim & Darjeeling
Teesta River is a great place for rafting and kayaking. It’s a river that flows through Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong Hill Region. The river has fast rapids that are perfect for experienced rafters. But if you’re new to rafting, you can still enjoy it for half a day on the calmer parts of the river. The Rangit River, which is one of Teesta’s tributaries, has even more challenging rapids for experienced rafters. You can reach Teesta River by taking a cab from Gangtok. The best time to go rafting on the river is from October to April when the weather is cool and you can camp on the beaches.
Brahmaputra River Rafting, Arunachal Pradesh
The Brahmaputra River flows from the Greater Himalayas and is known for its dangerous rapids, deep trenches, and gorges. The river rafting expedition begins at Tuting and lasts for 13-18 days, covering 180 km of rapids, and ends at Pasighat. The river has grade 3-5 rapids, including the Roaring Rikor, Zebra Rock, Moying Madness, Toothfairy, and Pulsating Pulsi, and is only suitable for expert rafters. Rafters will see gorges, tropical forests, hillsides, tribal settlements, Ganges river dolphins, rare migratory birds, and stunning scenery. To reach the Brahmaputra, take a flight or train to Dibrugarh and then a ferry to Pasighat before hiring a cab to Tuting. The best time to raft on the Brahmaputra is between November and March.
Dandeli River Rafting In Karnataka
If you are an adventure lover looking for a thrilling river rafting experience, then Dandeli, located around 125 km from Goa, is the perfect destination for you. The majestic Kali River, located on the borders of Goa and Maharashtra, serves as a splendid white water rafting site for beginners and experienced rafting enthusiasts alike.
The swift Kali River, with rapids graded between 2 and 3, offers a 9 km run for beginners and a 14 km run for experienced rafters. The area is bordered by lush tropical rain forests and is situated at an elevation of around 1,800 feet above sea level. The region receives rainfall almost throughout the year, resulting in a superb climate all year round that attracts tourists in large numbers.
The first two rapids of the Kali River, Adi’s Beard and The Stitch, are the most crucial ones. Other rapids, such as Stanley’s Squeeze and the Smugglers’ Trove, also offer an exciting rafting experience. Besides rafting, visitors can also enjoy Overnight Camping, Rappelling, Bird sighting, and Jungle Safari in the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.
To reach Dandeli, visitors can easily travel by rail or road from Bangalore (470 km) and Pune (465 km). The nearest airport is located in Goa. The ideal season for rafting in the Kali River is from October to May when periodic water release from the Supa dam occurs.
Kolad River Rafting, Maharashtra
Kolad, situated at a distance of 100 km from Pune and 120 km from Mumbai, is the place for you. It is home to the fastest river in West India, the Kundalika, with an exceptional 13 km stretch of rapids ranging from Grade 2 to 4, making it the perfect destination for rafting enthusiasts. Set amidst the stunning Western Ghats and nestled in the virgin forests below the Bhira and Mulshi Dams, the Kundalika white water rafting site is an idyllic place to start your rafting adventure.
Accessible by train, bus, and air, Kolad is a convenient weekend getaway destination for denizens of Pune and Mumbai. The nearest airport is Lohegaon Airport in Pune, and the closest bus stand is Murud.
The ideal time for rafting on Kundalika is from June to January, the monsoon season, as the water levels are high, and periodic water release from the Mulshi Dam occurs. However, the best time to go rafting in Kolad is during the monsoon season as it offers an exhilarating experience. Rafting on Kundalika is an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling both thrilled and energized.
Apart from river rafting, Kolad offers other adventure activities such as rock climbing, river rappelling, parasailing, and kayaking. Visitors can also explore nearby attractions such as Tamhini Falls, Ghosala Fort, Kuda Caves, and Tala Fort.