I am nowhere close to what can be termed as an adventurous person. So when my friends wanted to go for a Rafting trip, I was still quite unsure whether I should go or not. Next day at work, I googled ‘Kundalika river Rafting pics’ and what showed up was quite scary for me. I was still dwindling between should I or should I not because by then it had started raining heavily in Pune.
Finally the D Day arrived and with groggy eyes at 5 am in the morning we started for Kolad, Maharashtra in a car. It was going to be a 140 km ride.
So, there are 2 batches on Saturday and Sunday , one at 9 am and another at 2 pm. I would suggest taking the morning batch as that looked less crowded and also the sun is not that strong. The rafting charges are 1400 of which 50% you have to pay online and 50% on reaching there.
One raft typically carries 9-10 people plus the lead. Depending on the number of people in your group , you might have to team up with others who are there. Once you are done with the registration, you are led to a place that has a pile of helmets, shafts and life jackets. Pick one of your choice and you are set for the 15 minute instruction by a Nepali guide who can barely speak English.
Once you have been ‘trained’ on the basic rules, it’s time to push your own raft down the river. I have Aqua phobia by the way, fear of deep/rapidly moving water. And there I was in an open raft, holding a shaft on one hand and a plastic rope tied to the raft on the other. The first few minutes was terrifying and I did not know what to expect, I even fell over the person sitting opposite to me once. In the next 10 minutes that followed, I learnt how to shift between following the guide’s instructions and holding on to the raft, basically how to keep myself glued to the raft and not go flying up in the air!!!
The Rafting stretch is about 12 kms and took us around 2 hours to cover that stretch. There are stretches when it was like the lazy river ride I took in an amusement park as a kid, where you just sit or lie down on the raft looking up at the sky and the slow moving current of the river just pushes the boat forward. But there were also places where the currents were scary and at one point( which the guides have amusingly named ‘double fucker’) , you have to duck down inside the raft while water splashes on top of you. The two hours of rafting had alternate periods of heavy rain, light drizzle and sun shining hard on us, nature and its weird ways of enthralling its lovers!
We ended the journey with a hot cup of tea and onion fritters from a dhaba at the finishing point.
Rafting tips! (Preparation for first timers/ amateurs like me :))
- Do not drink the night before. You need your muscles strong and awake if you actually intend to raft.
- Wear clothes that would dry off easily.
- Wear shoes that are water proof. Slippers might flung off .
- Carry a change of clothes as of course you’re going to be drenched at the end of it.
- Last but not the least, let go off your fear! You’ll survive this one!
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