Doing something that you have never done before or less likely to do very often is very exciting. That was an excitement of our second day on Kundalika trip.
Kundalika has all season whitewater rafting, making it a paradise for those who love water adventures.
After an amazing first day in Kundalika and a good night sleep, we rose early, and by 7.30 AM, we took a short trip to the starting point of whitewater rafting facility.
Kundalika Cottage was close to the ending point of the rafting route. But the starting point was further away. Though it was shorter via water, we had to travel about 15 km by road to the starting point.
At 8.00 AM, when we reached the starting point, we met the employees of Himalayan Adventures (the company manages the Kundalika Rafting).
The river looked rather serene to me at first. But we were told that the dam shutters would open by 8.15 AM, and the river would have enough flowing water within 10 minutes. We eagerly waited and enjoyed the scenery.
Before 8.15 AM, we slipped in lifejackets and helmets. While the water seemed still, the excitement was at peak.
Rain became the final assurance that the dam authority would surely release water. Rarely, the water won’t be released, and rafting won’t be possible. The natural river flow is not enough for real rafting.
By this time, there were over 200 people gathering here for rafting. 25 rafts with various colors were ready to plunge into the river.
The siren was a message to villages surrounding the area to be aware of water releasing. It sounded exactly at 8.15 AM. The lifeguards gave us the instructions, and we were ready to go.
While other teams cautiously rowed their raft slowly from the side of the river to the middle, we took our chances directly at the fast flowing water. And man, it was accelerating!
The Kundalika Rafting is about 2 hours rundown of 14 km furious stretch of water released to Kundalika River from Bhira dam. There are about 10 rapids with grade II and III difficulties promising the rafters a wet and wild run. I was in the front right seat, the most exciting one, which hit every rapid first and up front.
The story behind the toughest rapid is really funny. The gentleman who started rafting in this place long back, John, was not able to raft through this rapid. He used to carry his raft on the shore to pass this before starting his rafting again. Hence the name, “John Carry” ?
It was indeed adventurous than all other rapids. One of the rafts that was behind us toppled and threw everyone in that raft in the rapid. Thanks to lifejackets and helmets, everybody was safe and back to their raft after the rapid. Writing about this, I still recalled the woman’s face who fell into the rapid. Her face was dead pale when she was washed along the fierce current. She must be so thankful to have her life back.
At last 2 km, the flow was slower. Our guide told us that we could jump into the water and swim. It was a wild suggestion, but we did what we’re told. Many rafts flowed slowly around us now. And having the lifejacket and helmet on was ensuring. The flow became very calm as it reached the backwaters of the next dam. Just thinking about being in the rapid turmoil and safe now made us proud of ourselves.
Our guide was very good, giving proper guideline and stories about rafting. His “Forward” instruction with typical American accent is still in my ears.
Rafting is an immediate and real experience for both mind and body. This time I couldn’t get the photos during rafting as we did not carry camera onboard. I’ll go back and capture all in the action next time :).
Picture by me & Abhijeet. Thanks, Abhijeet for these awesome pictures 🙂
See you soon,