River Rafting in Kundalika
River rafting on the Kundalika river near Kolad ( about 2
hrs from Pune ) is an experience that everyone will enjoy. This is a good example
of how man creates recreation from a routine event like release of water from a
dam. River rafting activity, which starts at 8AM coinciding with the release of
water from a nearby dam,is not seasonal and is carried out almost throughout
the year.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Watching the released water fill the approach canal is
itself a very intimidating sight. The stealth with which the water level rises
is something to see. This is followed by the rafting guides dividing the
visitors into groups. The members of the group are required to wear the safety
gear comprising of a helmet and a life jacket and given a paddle. The guide
demonstrates the method in which to secure the harness and straps just like the
air hostesses in a plane. Next are the safety and the command response instructions
which are repeated till everyone is clear about them. Once that is completed
all members are required to lift the raft and take it to the water. First
lesson in team work !!
Once in water, the guide will ask all to practice the paddle
movements and get used to his screaming of instructions. From a distance you
can see the increasing force of the river as the water level rises. After a few
practice runs in still water and after waiting for the rest of the rafts to
fill and complete their practice, you are cleared to go. Generally, a couple of
rafts go together as a safety precaution.
The experience of entering the gushing water is multiplied
as soon as you hit the first rapids called the Buddha. The raft goes in a spin,
water rushes into the raft and quickly disappears. It is then that you
appreciate the instructions given by the guide. You see a few nervous smiles
all around and laughter of false bravado. The guide ensures that you remain
calm and enjoy the experience.
After a couple of rapids, you get used to the instructions
and work as a team to ensure that the raft does not topple. There are long
periods when the raft just bobbles over the water taking the course of the
water downstream. This is when the guide gives you information
about the surrounding areas and shares his knowledge of ornithology by pointing
out a few birds.
Finally, in the last 2 Kms of the 12 Km stretch, he encourages
you to jump into the water. It is quite safe as everyone has the life jacket
on. You get into the river and the slow flow of the water takes you forward. The
guide in the raft keeps an alert eye on all the members in the water. This 2 hour thrilling experience comes to an
end after reaching the shore at the destination point and pulling the raft up
the slope. Simply put…Worth the experience !!!!