India

Get Your Thrills: The Best River Rafting Destinations in India

river rafting

For heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping, mind-bending thrills, embark on an exhilarating river rafting adventure down some of India’s best rivers.

If racing across exhilarating rapids, plunging through foamy rivers and getting drenched in refreshing water sounds like your ideal activity, then river rafting is for you. We’ve narrowed down India’s best river rafting destinations and researched the level of difficulty for each – from Grade I for novices to Grade IV for seasoned pros – so all you need to do is pick your rafting skill level and get ready to experience the thrills of a lifetime.

River Ganga, Uttarakhand

The River Ganga crosses the magnificent Garhwal Himalayas near Rishikesh, the mecca of river rafting. Four exhilarating rafting routes can be found here at a sequence of treacherous speeds: a nine-kilometre route from Brahmapuri to Rishikesh, a 16-kilometre route from Shivpuri to Rishikesh, a 24-kilometre route from Marine Drive to Rishikesh and finally a 36-kilometre route from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh. Since the grades range from I to IV, there is a skill level available for everyone. If you want the most advanced rafting experience possible, The Wall is thought to be the most challenging of them all.

Best time for rafting: September to November.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

Book your Uttarakhand escape here.

Barapole River, Karnataka

Venture off-the-beaten path to Coorg and the Barapole River in Coorg, where the rapids come to life each monsoon season. You’ll find five rapids in the upper portion and seven in the lower. Enjoy the II- to IV-grade rapids with names such as Ramba Samba, Grass Hopper, Morning Coffee and Big Bang.

Best time for rafting: July to October.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

Indus River, Ladakh

River rafting in Zanskar River

The Indus River is not a river for the faint of heart. The river flows through Ladakh and the stunning Zanskar range, where rip-roaring rapids provide once-in-a-lifetime thrills. As you navigate the swift cascades, you can also take in expansive vistas of Ladakh and the snow-capped peaks. Choose the Phey to Saspol route and the Kharu to Spituk segments if you’re an intermediate rapid chaser. If you’re an experienced rafter, try out the adrenaline-pumping Phey to Nimmo and Upshi to Kharu routes.

Best time for rafting: November to March.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

Kali River, Karnataka

With its lush forests, unique wildlife and historic landmarks, Dandeli is one of Southern India’s most beloved tourist destinations. Here, the roaring River Kali snakes through the rugged Western Ghats, providing the ideal terrain for some incredible river rafting in India. There are Grade II and Grade III rapids over the 12-kilometre course, making it ideal for both novices and specialists. Don’t forget to take in some breathtaking vistas of the Western Ghats as you barrel downstream across some exhilarating rapids.

Best time for rafting: October to March.

Difficulty: Moderate.

River Kundalika, Maharashtra

River Kundalika near Kolad is the ideal option if you want to go rafting in Western India. The gradient and force of the rapids downriver are defined by the nearby dam, which guarantees an exciting watersport experience. Kolad is one among Maharashtra’s burgeoning rafting locations, located around three hours south of Mumbai and three hours west of Pune. There are Grade II and Grade III rapids over this 13-kilometre stretch.

Best time for rafting: June to March.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Book your Maharashtra escape here.

River Brahmaputra, Arunachal Pradesh

Every rafter has the Brahmaputra on their river-rafting bucket list as it is one of India’s most powerful rivers. The Brahmaputra is wild and untamed, and you’ll be enchanted by its deep gorges, erratic rapids, rocky nooks, wild stretches and mesmerising views. The 180-kilometre rafting course starts at Tuting and extends all the way to Pasighat. You may opt to travel shorter distances for a day’s adventure, but to complete the entire rafting course will take you a week. The Grade IV rapids include Roaring Rikor, Tooth Fairy and The Zebra Rock, among others.

Best time for rafting: March to June.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

For more India adventures, read Into the Wild: India’s Best Wildlife Destinations.

Suffering from eternal wanderlust and a diehard roadtripper, Varsha believes she’s born to explore the world. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her on the lookout for her next big adventure.