Travel Dhamaka

KOLAD

Riding The River

“The first river you paddle runs through the


rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and ed-

dies to remind you who you are,” - Lynn Noel


in his book ‘Voyages’.

Every river in the world has its own unique

identity or personality. More so, rivers are

considered as the national treasure of any


country. Even India is blessed with numer-

ous rivers, flowing through the country’s


length and breadth, rising and falling with

the seasons. In the olden days the Maharajas


of India had harnessed the power of the riv-

ers for transporting their armies and materi-

als. The numerous rivers in India meant that


rafts were one of the earliest modes of mass


transport. Today, rafts offer the thrill and ex-

citement of literally riding the river.


Like many other rivers emerging and flow-

ing through the mighty Sahayadri ranges and


flowing towards the western coast of India,


Kundalika is a small, perennial yet beauti-

ful river in western Maharashtra. It has its


origin in Pune district and flows through the

Raigad district via Revdanda, finally meeting

the Arabian Sea. This, along with the fact that

the river is fed by excess water from a series

of hydroelectric projects and dams, makes it

ideally suited for white water rafting. This is

an adventure sport activity using an inflat-

able raft to navigate a river or other bodies


of water.

Earlier, the nearest facility to enjoy water

rafting was in the state of Karnataka, but

now it is available at the Kundalika River in

Maharashtra. Rafting on Kundalika started

around six years ago and very few adventure

enthusiasts were aware about it. The activity

started with only three rafts in the beginning

and such has been the increasing demand

that there are now available more than 50

rafts, making this river a hot spot for such an

adventure activity. Rafting on the Kundalika

is considered Grade III level because of its

limited technical rapids.


The stretch for rafting is 14 kilometers which

starts from a village named Saje, located a few

kilometers away from the Bhira Dam. After

the daily water release from the power plant


project at Bhira, the water gushes through


the channel, entering the river base and fill-

ing it up, the sight of it being enough to hike


up your adrenaline and enthusiasm levels.

Ending the rafting session in a village named

Kamath, rafting on the Kundalika comprises

10 white water rapids to enjoy through. The

amazing part about the Kundalika is that it is

the only river in India where water rafting is

possible throughout the year, thus making it

an all-season site.

Tackling the Rapids

The most exciting rapid called ‘John Carry’


and the longest rapid termed ‘Rajdhani Ex-

press’ add that extra element of fun. The first

one is so named because of John Pollard,

an expert rafter who claimed for the first

time that water rafting can be done safely on

the Kundalika River. Interestingly, even he


wasn’t able to cross the difficult rapid after

repeated attempts and had to carry his raft


around the rapid, hence the name ‘John Car-

ry’. The name ‘Rajdhani Express’ is quite self-

explanatory as it is the longest & fastest rapid


on Kundalika. Meanwhile, the excitement

level on the other rapids like Butterfly, Pump


House, Boom Shankar, etc is also unmatch-

able. During the monsoon, the river acquires


the same kind of an aura as you would find in

a typical Amazon basin with continuous rains

and thick lush green woods on both the sides.

And in winters the early morning fog on the

river adds an extra dimension to the beauty

of Kundalika.

More Than Rafting


Along with all the fun, thrill and excite-

ment one can also enjoy the avian charms


of the river due to the presence of such spe-

cies as Common Kingfishers, Little Cormo-

rants, Crested Serpent Eagles, Pied & Great


Hornbills, many of them hovering or mov-

ing around with you while rafting. Once the


rapids are done, even the still water offers a


fantastic body surfing session which the non-

swimmers enjoy a lot. With your life jackets


on, you can enjoy the experience of floating in

a river. The session of Kundalika rafting ends

with a final stretch of strong rowing till you

reach Kamath. The feeling at the end point is

more like “Kundalika Conquered”. And if you

ask me what the risks are, the biggest of them

all is that you could fall in love with rafting,

the river and the surrounding nature so that

you would want to keep coming here again

and again.




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