Among many other attractions that the Sahyadri belt of Maharashtra is famous for, the Kundalika river is fast gaining prominence as an adventure sports destination among tourists. Set in the serene Raigad district of Maharashtra, Kolad is a vibrant tiny village brimming with natural beauty, especially during the monsoons. Those who seek a bit of adventure, venture forth to experience Kolad river rafting, which is fun, exhilarating, and also challenging at times! Kolad serves as an ideal destination for travelers who like to spend tranquil time in nature’s lap, among the lush green mountains and flowing rivers.
All this is thanks to the river Kundalika, which offers an excellent white water rafting experience. Kundalika is noted as one among the fastest rivers flowing in South India, which makes it ideal for water sporting activities like rafting, kayaking, and rappelling and so on. Aside from water adventures, Kolad also has other attractions for tourists such as ancient forts, majestic dams, and beautiful waterfalls.
The climate, connectivity, and beauty of this place make Kolad one of the top five rafting destinations in India and is the only place where rafting is conducted throughout the year. Monsoon is the best time to visit and experience the beauty of this place. Therefore, this is also the busiest season for tour operators and local guides who can be seen scurrying travelers across the region. While the luxuriance of the place remains unchanged throughout the year, the dewy climate in monsoons adds a special touch to the holidaying and the Kolad river rafting experience.
If you are planning for an escapade to Kolad this monsoon, here is our comprehensive guide for a safe and memorable holiday experience.
Kolad River Rafting: Everything You Need to Know
The ideal time to visit Kolad
As it is set amidst the Sahyadri range of mountains, the weather in Kolad is mostly humid throughout the year. This makes it ideal for rafting at any time of the year. However, most visitors choose the monsoons for a Kolad river rafting expedition, especially between the months of June and September. During monsoons, the water level in the river rises and makes for a thrilling adventure ride during this season.
Although the winters are pleasant too, with a touch of pleasantly cold climate, the greenery witnessed during the monsoons is no match for any other days. Winter is in fact, the longest season for rafting in the Kundalika river. Winter here lasts for 6 months between October and March and offers a pleasantly lush environment without much rainfall for those who do not prefer Kolad river rafting during the pouring season.
Summers are avoidable as it gets slightly hotter and the natural humidity of the mountainous region may dehydrate you during rafting. However, if one chooses to head out to Kolad during summers just to beat the city heat, it is advisable to carry sufficient amount of electrolyte-based fluids to keep your energy levels high. March to June are the peak summer months when rafting is active in Kolad. Irrespective of the time of the year one chooses to visit these majestic valleys, the picturesque greenery, spectacular waterfalls, and the rapidly flowing river, all pack into an exhilarating rafting experience.
Kolad River Rafting Experience
White Water Rafting in the Kundalika river is one of the safest options available in the country today as the river is a controlled flow from the Bhira Dam. The rapidity of the river flow mainly depends on the water released from the dam. The flow offers white water rafting opportunity for over a stretch of 12 – 13 km and the rafting experience typically lasts for approximately two hours. The stretch of the river used for rafting is strictly dependent on the discharge of the dam water and the flow between two dams, making it a completely safe rafting avenue as there is no possibility of sudden water rises or strong undercurrents.
Each tourist who wishes to partake in Kolad river rafting is taken through an introductory session on various paddling techniques and safety instructions to be followed in case they fall out of the raft. White water rafting at Kolad can be enjoyed by even those with no prior experience of rafting or swimming due to the safety measures. All of the rafting professionals here are qualified and have had a vast experience of negotiating various rivers of India like Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Indus, Zankar, Bramhaputra, and Kali.
Rafting activity starts at 8 AM in the mornings and the minimum age required to go rafting here is fixed at 14 years. Depending on the rapidity of water flow, the Kundalika river offers two grades of rafting, namely Grade 2 and Grade 3. While Grade 2 requires a basic knowledge of maneuvering technique across the river, Grade 3 is a slightly more thrilling ride with surprises such as sudden drops and raging water flow, requiring significant maneuvering techniques by the rafters.
White Water River rafting at Kolad – How to Visit and Stay
Kolad is well connected by road and rail from several nearby cities. The village is situated approximately 120 Kilometers from Mumbai, which is the nearest and most well-connected city. Once you reach Mumbai, there are multiple ways to reach Kolad – by road (own car or bus) and rail.
If one chooses to reach Kolad from Mumbai by car, it will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach the village. The entire route is resplendent with the scenic beauty of the Sahyadris. All you shutterbugs, get ready to take amazing photographs on the way! One can encounter imposing mountains, splendid greenery, foamy waterfalls, sparkling ponds and lakes along the way.
Kolad is well connected with all major cities within Maharashtra and India through the Konkan Railways. Just like the road route, the train journey to Kolad from any of the nearest destinations is full of scenic beauty and adds to the adventure experience, especially if traveling in a large group. There are two direct passenger trains that connect Mumbai to Kolad on a daily basis. This is the most cost-efficient way to reach Kolad from Mumbai. The train journey takes anywhere between 2-4 hours approximately depending on which train one is taking. Another option to reach Kolad by rail is to travel by shuttle trains from Diva to Roha and take an auto-rickshaw or the local buses plying on the highway from Roha station to Kolad.
Those traveling to Kolad by bus could choose to hop on to one of the Mumbai – Goa bound buses and get down at Kolad as it is en route Goa. There are both Maharashtra state transport buses and private buses available in this route, with both offering online booking options. Travelers could also choose the Mumbai – Ratnagiri route while taking the bus transport to reach Kolad. There are plenty of options available if one chooses to take a bus to reach Kolad. Buses ply on this route multiple times during the day, giving better options for tourists to choose a time of their convenience to reach their destination.
Camping and Staying Options in and around Kolad:
With the growing tourism in this region in recent times, the options for staying in Kolad are plentiful. The choices for stay vary from basic tents and dormitories to luxury camps, farmhouse stays, bungalows, and bamboo/safari cottages. Accommodation types vary from non-AC type to luxury AC types; from single-occupancy tents to properties that can accommodate large groups of people.
All types of accommodations provide all the basic amenities such as bathrooms, toilets, extra accommodation space for drivers (if accompanying the travelers), and food. Each of these accommodations offers a customized tour package inclusive of adventure sports. Apart from camping, picnic and trekking in the valleys, the main water activities at Kolad include rafting, kayaking, river crossing, flying fox, boating, scuba diving, paragliding, trekking, bonfire, barbeque, and fishing.