In the words of Siya Zarrabi “Maybe the best moment of your life will be on your next big adventure”. With this thought, me and my travel partner, Nikita decided to make good use of the monsoon weekends to indulge in adventures that we haven’t done before. Now, the moment we talk about adventure in Maharashtra, the first thing to strike is trekking. There are numerous peaks and needless to say we have scaled the heights of many so far. So that idea was immediately stroked out. Then there were waterfall rappelling, paragliding (not advisable during rains), scuba diving sessions etc. But, the best part was an activity we zeroed upon, which was always on top of my bucket list, was to raft. Yes white water rafting in Kolad.
Kolad a small fishing township located on the beautiful, scenic Konkan strip of Maharashtra is home to the Kundalika River, an important source of water not only for the villagers but also hydroelectric plants around the region and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Every morning, the Rawalge dam water is released into the Kundalika River that creates strong rapids. Kolad falls on the Mumbai Goa National Highway No. 17. Located at a distance of approximately 150 kms from Mumbai, reaching Kolad isn’t that strenuous while the trip provides some exhilarating white water rafting experience. My friends booked a trip with Travel Trikon, an adventure tour & travel company which is been a very cool organizer for rafting tour.
The plan didn’t take long to be finalized upon as we contacted a travel group of Mumbai (who organizes treks, adventures and activities all year long) to loop us in. It was 3rd July, Sunday, we reached our meeting site, Dadar by 8.30 AM to catch up with 8 other thrill seekers along with our trip leader. The weather clearly indicated that’s a long rainy day is ahead of us. With courage in our heart and adventure in our soul, we stepped in to our minivan and got started. Our trip leader had some amazing ice breaker games ready for us – Virtual Volleyball, Offline Mafia and the good old favourite Antakshari. While humming the melodies of Dil Chahta Hain and Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara, we reached our destination at 10.30 AM.
Because of heavy rainfall, we were informed that the dam would be opened around 2 o’clock so we had the morning time off to indulge in other activities. The place had a set up for doing physical activities and we all thought it to be a good idea to warm up before hitting the water. We indulged in Burma Crossing, Commando Training, Tarzan Swings, Rifle Shooting and Volleyball (yeah this time not virtual but a real one).
After a quick lunch, we headed for the main excitement of the day. Before starting we had a 20 minute session on safety gear and rafting rulesconducted by our rafting instructor.We all got excited as we finally boarded the raft.A quick team shout and last minute reminders and we were off. Initially, everything seemed calm but as the water level started rising because of the rains, some of us were getting a bit fidgety. Needless to say all of us could literally hear our heart thumping louder and louder as we paddled our way ahead. A while later, we faced what we expected; we were right at the centre of a huge rapid. With forward stroke, huffs and puffs we crossed the first hurdle. And it was just the beginning of a great adventure!
We would paddle forward and backward to face the rapids while stopped in between just to enjoy the amazing view of the jungle, mountains at a distant with waterfalls from all sides. I mean all this was nothing less than a dream. Our instructor was constantly acknowledging that we were the most enthusiastic and that we were doing just great; primarily to motivate us. Unique way of remembering the rapids that we covered were that all were named. Names such as ‘Fisherman’s Clove’, ‘Morning Headache’ and ‘Johnny Walker’ were assigned based on their difficulty. It was not much of a surprise that ‘Johnny Walker’ was the toughest of them all. ‘Morning Headache’ also preceded the rapid ‘Johnny Walker’. Keeping the raft in control was a big difficulty with quick continuous rafting. Credit of control of the raft should be truly given to our instructor who has been employed at Kolad only for the monsoons, prior to which he used to raft on the rapids at Manali and Rishikesh which are of Grades 5 and 5+. The final leg of 2-3 kms of the stretch, our group decided to swim with the strong current as a measure of relaxation and dwelling on what we experienced.
Overall, the experience was exhilarating and high adrenaline pumping one. The picturesque route along the banks of river Kundalika offers the rafters a relaxing and calm environment to loosen up their tired limbs and get refreshed. The natural beauty of the region makes the rafting trip truly rejuvenating and helps the rafters to distress by simply taking in the magnificent sights that surround them. I am happy to finally tick it off my bucket list but that is also letting me add yet another one in the list and that would be conquering the rapids up north in India. Athrilling day finally came to an end when we reached back to the city at 11.00 PM.
Exact Location: Kolad is located on the Sahyadri Mountain range in Raigad at a distance of nearly 140 kms from Mumbai
Nearest Towns: Roha, Indapur, Mangaon, Nagothane
Rapid Length: About 14 kms
Total Time Taken: Approx. 2hrs from start to end
Call a couple of agents for a good deal
It is advised to book at least a day prior
Carry spare clothes, obviously! There are decent mobile shower rooms with changing facility
Wear comfortable closed shoes to balance yourself well
You can add kayaking and river crossing to your trip for more fun
Best Time to Visit: All Year Round