This trip of ours to Ganeshgudi (Dandeli) was planned with the plans of river rafting in Kali river. The schedule was fixed, tickets booked but rafting participation was not confirmed as the unseasonal rains left us praying with crossed fingers.
On our 2nd day of stay, we got a surprise call from the JLR staff, Parshuram who conveyed the good news that rafting was on and our session was confirmed for the morning. Rafting in Kali river is only possible when the water is let out from the Supa dam that flows into the 3 different dams constructed at lower levels. Due to unseasonal rains, the water let out from Supa had been stopped over the previous few days just before our visit. The season of rafting is between October to June conducted by the Southern River Adventures (Wild River Adventures) in partnership with Jungle Lodges and Resorts who have the maximum no of permits for rafting. The other resort that conducts rafting is the Bison River Resort.
(the rafters all excited and ready in the rafting gear... helmets and life jackets are compulsory)
Me, Raja and Guru were clubbed with 3 other people and this being our first experience, we were all excited. Me and Guru are non swimmers and can easily drift away in flowing water. Kali river has some good rapids and rocky terrain ideal for River rafting. We were briefed about what to do and how to perform and were given helmets, life jackets and an oar. The helmets are to protect your heads in case you fall of the raft and the life jackets to keep you afloat in the water (secure for non swimmers too...). The life jackets are secured very tight because in case 1 person falls off, he/she is pulled back holding the life jackets. Oars are given to all the steer the raft forward and backward. Here teamwork ensures the raft moves ahead in the direction as required and not to drift away and sometimes get out of the sticky situations when caught between the rocks!
(the raft with us on board heading towards the rapids...)
Me and Raja sat in the front to get that adrenaline rush with Guru and others seated behind us. The first rapid was the most exciting with the raft going on a roller coaster ride and all of us drenched with the Kali water (we had somehow stayed dry till now and avoided jumping in to the water). Me and guru being averse to jump, we were coaxed into throwing ourselves into Kali from the raft (remember the life jacket ensures you stay afloat and your head above the water always).
Standing on the raft and then Splaasshh...! down you go and up you pop up, the feeling was something never experienced before, the whole body floating and your head always on top with no fears of drowning... ah I loved this! Soon all the reluctant people gaining confidence seeing others jump were in the water all excited like kids and enjoying themselves...
The Rapids were moderate but exciting enought for first timers like us (just imagining how rafting in Hrishikesh would be...!) and we enjoyed thoroughly every bit of it, it was pure fun. I would anyday recommend this activity to anyone who loves adventure, its just be there, take part, forget your fears, enjoy the moments... you never know they may never come again :)
(Approaching a rapid... all excitement and fun)
Well, thanks to JLR staff Parshuram and the WRA (Wild Rafting Adventures) team in realizing one of our most cherished dreams that hopefully would just be the beginning for us... :)
http://www.junglelodges.com/ (Old magazine house, Ganeshgudi or Kali River camp, Dandeli)
If you reach Dandeli, there are numerous private people who can organize rafting, but finally all of them have to go through JLR as they have the maximum no of permissions for rafting.