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Turbulent Waters: Top Rafting Destinations in India

Rafting is the perfect means to experience an ‘adrenaline rush’. Struggling to keep yourself on the raft, while using all your strength to manoeuvre the rapids leaves you exhilarated and wanting more. Whether you’re a pro or a rookie, when it comes to destinations, you know you’re spoilt for choice in India.  The country, resplendent with water bodies attracts a lot of adventure enthusiasts.

With Rishikesh’s waters being the most popular, here’s our pick of other top locations to enjoy your next rafting adventure-

Tons, Uttarakhand

Lower-Tons-06 Rafting
Image: Aquaterra Adventures

Tons, a tributary of the Yamuna, is one of the most challenging rafting destinations in India, The whole stretch is about 40 km, from Gyunhatti to Tiuni. Upon reaching Lunagad, somewhere in the middle, the river’s starts dropping at about 32 feet per kilometre. The last 3 kilometres has a drop of about 75 feet per kilometre. The rapids here are classifiable as Grade 3-4. They can sometimes even be Grade 5, because of the unpredictability and turbulence.

The whitewater on this stretch is of excellent quality and separated by very small interludes of flatwater. Finish off your adrenaline filled days with leisurely afternoons in the alpine forests surrounding the area.

Teesta, Sikkim


Just when you though the beautiful Sikkim couldn’t get any more inviting! The rugged Teesta’s confluence with the Rangit River produces a perfect hub to try rafting. Rangit, the tributary of Teesta, offers turbulent rapids. These can be enjoyed by experienced rafters. Teesta’s rapids are rated as Grade 4.

The river is dotted with beautiful white sand beaches. How about setting up camp here after your expedition?

Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

Image: Travel Themes

If you’re a thrill seeker, you cannot possibly gift yourself a better holiday than one at the glorious Spiti Valley. Spiti offers one of the wildest patches of nature in India. The stretch from Tuting to Pasighat is more than 170 km. Witness the beautiful glaciers, high ridges, pastures and elevated lands, nestling the peaceful villages of Himachal Pradesh, as you raft on the Spiti River. The entire adventure that can be enjoyed for a period that covers to more than 5 days.

Descend down over 100 km of the river during the expedition. Spiti has several monasteries too, some of which are more than 1000 years and very alluring to the cultural explorer.

Kundalika, Maharashtra

Image: Mumbai Hikers

Kundalika in Maharashtra’s Kolad region is one of the fastest rivers South of the Himalayas. Owing to the presence of a dam in the vicinity, that controls the turbulence, it has become quite a hotspot for rafting enthusiasts in Western India. Situated in the lap of the Sahyadris, in the Raigad district, the river stretches over 15 km. The rapids on this river are rated as grade 3 and 4.

River rafting at Kolad can be enjoyed as a quick weekend getaway. The best time to enjoy white water rafting here is during the monsoons, when the water rises considerably.

Kali, Karnataka

Image: Jungle Lodges

Dandeli in Karnataka is a sought after hub for whitewater rafting in the South. River Kali in Dandeli is known to quite unruly and offers rafters very challenging Grade 3 rapids. Like most other natural adventure spots, the lush forest region of Dandeli also offers several other activities like kayaking, rappelling and trekking.

The rafting stretch is about 12 km. Additionally, a rafting vacation at Dandeli can be combined with a trip to Karwar, which is known for its endless beaches, treks and dolphin sightings.

These places are an excellent challenge for the experienced rafter. However, if you’re just a beginner and don’t feel like you want to take on rapids that are grade 3 and above, here are some perfect places for you to start:

Indus, Jammu and Kashmir

Image: Peak Adventure Tours

Indus river, known as ‘Singh-e-Khababs’, which means ‘out of the Lion’s Mouth’, has basic rapids that are only Grade 1 and 2. It is thus ideal for beginners to try their hand at rafting and have a smooth experience. The entire run is about 25 km. It not only makes for a thrilling experience, but also gives rafters the opportunity to view the astounding splendour of Ladakh.

Betwa, Madhya Pradesh

rafting (1)
Image: Orchha

Betwa River in Orchha starts from the Vindhyas and goes up till the Yamuna. Its 6 km stretch offers Grade 1 rapids. The rafting run that goes from Kanchana Ghat to Shiv Ghat is extremely mild. Explore the ancient Betwa fort as well, which is located on an island off the river. In addition, the water itself is clean enough to take a dip during warm days.

Beas, Himachal Pradesh

Image: Indian Holiday

The rafting experience in Manali is quite mixed. The Beas River itself offers rapids that range from Grade 1 to Grade 3. However, on an average, the difficulty level for rafting here is quite basic. Thus, novices looking to explore the activity can attempt it. The rafting stretch is from Pirdi to Jhiri, which is about 14 km long.

Convinced that rafting is what you want to experience this vacation? Go ahead and book an adventure here

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