The advent of monsoons brings to life a handful of places especially in and around Pune! Punekars should feel themselves as blessed, owing to the fact that despite being a crowded city, it is still nestled amidst the mountains and a lot of greenery! Water sports activities should feature at the top of your to-do list! What better than rafting? Undoubtedly, the word 'rafting' would bring up images of the mighty Ganges, North Indian destinations, Rishikesh etc. in your minds. Planning a rafting trip up North is difficult, you say? Worry not! Pune is just as blessed with multiple rafting destinations, like Rishikesh.
Here's a quick look at all the fantastic locales at which you could plan your river rafting trip near Pune:
1. Rafting at KoladKolad is a small village located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra and is better known as Maharashtra's very own destination for white water rafting! Kolad is accessible after a 3-3.5 hours drive from Pune. It's fast growing into an adventure destination near to the cities of Pune and Mumbai.
Kolad is situated along the banks of River Kundalika - the fastest flowing river in the Western part of India. The river belt is approximately 15 kms long. When the water from the nearby hydroelectric plants Bhira and Ravalje is released on a daily basis, it causes the river to swell up, thereby making it a perfect place for rafting!
The best time to plan a rafting trip to Kolad is after monsoon sets in and till the time the river has water in full flow, i.e. between June and October. Mind you, visiting this place in summers is not advisable as the heat can be harsh and the water levels of the river low.
Whitewater rafting at Kolad in the monsoons has rapids of Grade 4 (higher difficulty level) giving you a top-notch adrenaline rush. However, this place has a lot to offer for the beginners as well! Rapids of Grade 2 and 3 are present during the not so peak season, making it ideal for first-timers!
You may book your trip through a few notable operators
Pugmarks Eco Tours
2. Rafting at DandeliHeading a little towards the south is everyone's all-time favourite destination of Dandeli (located in Karnataka state). A little under 450 kms from Pune, Dandeli is a heaven for adventure junkies. The rafting here happens in the river Kali, and the river stretch is that of 13 odd kms. This stretch boasts of some problematic rapids ranging in the category of moderate to severe ? Grade 4 and 5. The peak monsoon time is the best season to visit here (October to April). Besides rafting, you can indulge in other adventurous activities like trekking, kayaking, canoeing and nature trails! If you're lucky, you may even get to see a few crocodiles lazing around the river bed!
Dandeli is well connected by rail, but a drive from Pune to Dandeli would help in making your journey wholesome!
Some of the operators through whom you can book:
3. Rafting on the Vaitarna RiverAnother lesser-known rafting destination near Pune would be on the Vaitarna river. This location is about 210 kms from Pune, and the best route to be taken for reaching here would be the Khopoli-Karjat-Shahpur one. The speciality about this place is that it is a river controlled by the dam. The river flows through the rugged terrains near Kasara. Unlike other destinations, river Vaitarna receives water twice a day making it a convenient place to have two batches for rafting!
The participants have to report at Dhapura, from where a jeep takes them to the Savarkut village which marks as the starting point for the rafting! The stretch is of 11kms, and the entire rafting experience lasts for 2 hours.
A few operators to help you plan
Tips before you go rafting!- In case you suffer from any medical condition, make sure to tell your rafting instructor the same, before starting
- Wear light, comfortable clothing - t-shirts and shorts/lycra tights would be ideal. Wearing a saree or salwaar kameez is strictly prohibited.
- Make sure to apply water-resistant and non-greasy sunscreen before you venture into the waters
- Remove and keep your glasses at a safe place
- Avoid carrying any bag along during the actual rafting and other items like jewellery, wallets, mobile phones, cameras etc.
- Bring a spare set of dry clothes and a towel
Follow these, and you are good to go! Luckily, rafting is that one adventure activity which does not require any practice or warm up. All you need to do is follow the instructions given to you, and you will have an experience of a lifetime!
Rafting is not necessarily an activity for the youth. It can very much be enjoyed along with your family! Exposing kids to such adventurous activities early will go a long way in developing their interests and shaping their personality. You can plan to stay overnight at these places, or you may drive back depending on the time you have in hand. An ideal weekend would be the one spent in indulging in the camping experience - complete with a bonfire, barbeque, tents and lots of fun!