Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River

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Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River

Dandeli is a rafting destination in South India. Located at a distance of 465 KMs from Bangalore, this destination is a favorite spot for adventure seekers. Most of the rapids in Kali river are of grade 2-3. But, there are a couple of grade 4 rapids as well. The rafting stretch is of 9 KMs. Dandeli river rafting can be a fun activity in Karnataka.

I tried Dandeli river rafting when I was in Goa. One fine Saturday morning, I left with my friends for Dandeli river rafting as the sun scattered the overnight fog away! We had already booked our Dandeli river rafting session.

Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River
Enroute Dandeli River rafting

It took us 2-3 hours to cover the distance of approximately 140 KMs from Panjim. We checked in a lodge with basic amenities. The travel agent with whom we had booked the rafting, gave us our time slot. We were waiting for the next morning to arrive, so that we can challenge the current of river Kali in Dandeli and enjoy the much anticipated Dandeli river rafting expedition.

On the same day, It was around late evening. We got the news that our rafting session might be cancelled. The travel agent was apparently arrogant about this. We held him responsible for spoiling our fun. But, we missed the real reason behind our rafting slot being cancelled.

The real reason was the Supa dam. Before river Kali passes through Dandeli, it crosses Supa Dam. The flow of the river thereafter depends on the Supa Dam gates and so does river rafting in Dandeli. If the flow of the Kali river is not massive, Dandeli river rafting is not allowed. If rafting is performed in meager flow, the chance of raft hitting the rocks increases. In our case, the travel agent was not sure if the Supa dam gates will open during our slot. However, we understood his helplessness and spent some time playing mafia & savoring Maggi. We finally slept, waiting for the next morning to bring some good news. We hoped our Dandeli river rafting session to get scheduled again.

Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River
Waiting for the next Morning in Dandeli

The next morning, to our pleasant surprise, the Supa Dam gates were open and there was adequate river flow for a successful rafting session. We were excited and apologized to the travel agent for our seemingly rude behavior. We had reacted with anger when we heard cancellation of our Dandeli river rafting session. All psyched, we embarked upon the journey that would take us to the spot from where rafting would start.

We were assigned a leader who would guide us through the rumbling Dandeli river. We followed him and took charge of raft to venture into the mighty river. Before the rapids started, our leader forced us to jump in the calm parts of the river. This was to drain out a single ounce of fear before we plummet into the rapids. Luckily, our life-jackets didn’t ditch us and we were finally equipped with the courage to enter the rapid zone!

“Left, Left, Right, Right” were the words our leader kept on repeating. He had taught us how to steer our raft along or against the current. When the rapids would approach, we were supposed to take control of ourselves by sticking our feet in the raft. This was to avoid being toppled.

The first rapid approached. It was a grade 2 rapid. But, it looked like the waterfall they show in Indiana Jones movie! Some of us were trembling with the fear of being toppled off the raft and hitting a rock. It was our first rafting experience after all!

Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River
Approaching the first rapid during our Dandeli river rafting expedition

Left! Left! Left! Our leader wanted us to get the raft straight before we plunge in the rapid! He yelled! We steered! But, the raft was not completely straight and it swept along with the river force, tilted. But, to everybody’s relief, we had crossed it with success. It took us a minute to realize that. The realization was followed by happy and loud cheers, shooting through the silence of Dandeli forest. We had not stopped rejoicing from our first success and the 2nd rapid had already approached! The Dandeli river rafting expedition was turning out to be great fun!

For the 2nd we were equipped with confidence and courage along with excitement. We successfully conquered the 2nd rapid as well. However, not everybody was on the raft this time!

Our leader had been toppled! He was nowhere to be seen. We were all scared. The next rapid was going to be a grade 4! Without the leader, how were we supposed to navigate through the most difficult rapid during our Dandeli river rafting expedition?

Finally, we spotted him on a rock. He had drifted towards the shore and had caught hold of a rock. Another raft leader helped him on board our raft again. Once he was on board, we were ready to face the mightiest rapid of our Dandeli river rafting expedition!

We gathered courage and headed towards the fiercest rapid! With loud cheers, we were approaching the roaring fall. Finally, we were to experience the highlight of our Dandeli trip!

There was a loud roar and we were submerged in the waters. For a moment, it felt like my heart stopped beating. We kept plunging downwards measuring the depth of Kali river. But, we erupted back, with loud cheers! We had crossed the fiercest rapid in Dandeli! However, One of my friends had toppled over the raft. Luckily, he was not injured and climbed back, yelling in excitement.

Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River
After the most fiercest rapid of Dandeli river rafting expedition

The rapids finally subsided and we were in the calmer river belt now. But to keep things exciting, we raced along with other rafters. The rafting session ended with a gentle of river stream passing through sky scraping trees and pin-drop silence. I spotted a white snake slithering beneath our raft and it made me smile. The beauty of nature made me smile.

After the session ended, we relaxed in the calm river near the shore. It was blissful. All our fears and inhibitions from water evaporated into the serene environment.

Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River
Relaxing in waters after successfully completing Dandeli River Rafting expedition

We were both exhilarated and relaxed while returning back to our lodge. We lazed around and captured the moments on celluloid. It was time for us to frame Dandeli in our memories. We left Dandeli, reminiscing a wonderful experience.

Dandeli River Rafting – Traversing through the Kali River
Exhilarated & Relaxed. Just before leaving Dandeli


Umang Trivedi
Last Updated : Jan 15,2021
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