Rafting is one of those adrenaline pumping adventures that allows you to face off your fears and brings forth the most enriching outdoor experience, if you love challenging your mind and body through extreme recreational activities. The rush of flowing cold water hitting your face while you are making your way through the curves and the feeling of falling off the raft amidst a waterfall, however big or small, is what most of the rafting enthusiasts seek. 

It will be an add on treat if you venture into this sport in the mighty, and scenic beauty of Kashmir. This valley accommodates rivers like Lidder, Sindh, and Zanaskar, that are well-known for hosting this adventure sport. 

Before you plunge in for more information about these places, lets get a brief about what this sport is about.

What is River Rafting?

Rafting is a water sport wherein a team of rafters uses the double blades to move the inflatable raft to reach the destination first as compared to their competitors. This race takes place on rough or white waters of different degrees. It can be enjoyed by an individual as much as it is done by a team. The participant whose raft touches the finishing line first is declared as the winner. River rafting has 6 levels or grades of difficulty as it is said – Easy, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and Extreme grade.

Easy grade is the beginner level having low risks and least obstructions. Novice is also easy and can be attempted by the starters who have never done river rafting before. The challenges get tougher with intermediate grade as you should expect strong waves during the race and be able to control the raft while you row through that turbulence. 

Advanced grade is one step up the intermediate hence more difficult and you got to be skilled at rafting, and experienced enough to face lot of roughness of the water waves. Expert grade requires you to deal with uncertain risks whereas the last and most demanding level is Extreme grade where the threats are higher and there is no scope for error. 

Gender barrier does not exist in this sport. However, one should be above 12 year old because river rafting in Kashmir is very advanced and difficult than other parts of the country. This is the age limit decided by the authorities conducting this activity.

Best places for River Rafting in Kashmir

You can enjoy rafting in Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and Kargil which host Lidder river, Sindh river and Zanskar river respectively. A composed and calm mind with a healthy body to row the raft from the beginning towards the end in the presence of cold water attacking your body and the uncertain waves challenging your moves throughout the race.

Rafting on Lidder river

Lidder stretches from Langabal to Gameshpora covering approx. 12 kms of distance and situated amidst a scenic greenery and rocky terrain of Pahalgam. It has all the four grades available for the participants. However, Lidder river is well-known for its sharp turns with highs and lows that makes it considerably the toughest spot to explore river rafting. 

The stretch is further divided into three lengths:

  • The Lider Joy Ride (2.5 km) that is between Varganpal and Yaneer Bridge and has rapids ranging up to III. This is appropriate for beginner level rafters. 
  • The Lider Long Ride (5 km), that is between Varganpal and Ganeshpora and has rapids ranging up to III. This can also go for beginners. 
  • The Lider Xtra Long Ride (12 km), that is from Langabal to Ganeshpora and has rapids ranging up to IV. This length is considered to be perfect for expert rafters. 

Summer season is the best time to visit Pahalgam for river rafting since the temperature is around 16°C to 22°. The place has a warm temperature, blessed with clear blue skies and cold evenings. However, this is also peak season of tourism so it could be crowdy in Pahalgam. The rivers are gushing with water and summers offers ideal weather for river rafting in Pahalagam. 

Pahalgam is just 90.8 KM distance from Srinagar. It is also the base camp of the holy Amarnath Cave Yatra and has several hotel accommodation, that offer safe and secure stay in summers as well as winters.

Rafting on Sindh river

Sindh river, flowing through Sonamarg, offers similar level of difficulties alike Lidder river. Its harsh terrains, coupled with rapid turns, amplifies the adventure. Indus is considerably risky because of its fast rush and white water. The rocky surface makes it harder to row the raft in the intended direction.

This stretch is divided in three lengths : 

  • The first and the easiest Sindh Joy Ride, is approximately 3.5 kilometers and is suitable for beginners. 
  • Next ride is about 7 kilometers and can be experienced by novices. 
  • The most adventurous ride is the Sindh Extra Long Ride, almost a distance of 24 kilometers and has rapids ranging from II to IV and would be perfect for intermediate to expert level rafters. 

It is recommended to visit Sonamarg for rafting in transition months between Summer and Monsoon which commences in the region from June and lasts till the end of September.

Rafting on Zanskar river

If you are taking a trip to Leh, then you might as well consider rafting in Zanskar, that is reviewed as the toughest terrain to experience this adventure sport. Likely, you are supposed be expert in rafting and open for difficult challenges that come up during the sport. It is situated on the Leh – Kargil route, near Ladakh Union Territory. 

In the 24-kilometer section of the Zanskar River, there are around twelve rapids and a few whirlpools. There is a shorter, and gentler one of about  8-12 kilometers long and has only 3 or 4 rapids. The lengthier one is full of excitement and adventure. However, as the rivers include rapids ranging from level 1 to level 4, you may select the rapid based on the amount of difficulty you are ready to tackle. You can visit Zanskar for river rafting during summers.

Safety measures to take during River Rafting

Rafting is a demanding water sport, both physicallyn and mentally. Even the high skilled rafters should consider following precautions during the sport : 

  • Never remove the life jacket 
  • Go through the instructions given by authorities properly 
  • Wear comfortable clothes and sports shoes. Avoid wearing any kind of jewelry during the race. 
  • Stay hydrated always 
  • Keep your hands on T-grip 
  • Visit the places according to the recommended weather for rafting since it will be good for your health and you can thoroughly get the best out of sport. 
  • All the life-saving equipment will be provided by the coaches and organizers. Keep it safe and secure. Avoid wear and tear of those equipments. You don’t need to buy anything on your own prior to the visit. 
  • Anyone with a Serious Medical Issue like Asthama, Heart Problemand differently abeled people are not eligible for Rafting.

Frequently asked questions about River Rafting in Kashmir

  • What is the price for river rafting in Kashmir? 

The estimated cost of rafting is usually anywhere between Rs.1800 to Rs.3500 in Pahalgam and Sonamarg. Depending on the duration of the trip and the difficulty you have selected, the prices will vary. Rafting can be even more expensive if you visit the Zanskar Mountains course for the most difficult rafting trip in the entire valley. The prices are clearly above Rs.4000 or more.

  • What is the duration of river rafting session in Kashmir? 

It depends on the distance you are covering and weather condition of that day. It can take anywhere between 30 minutes to even 2 hours depending upon these factors. 

You can enjoy these thrill rides and also pay a visit to other scenic beauty present around these spots. Pravas has best affordable packages that can show you all around and give you a great experience to cherish forever. Click here to know more Kashmir packages and contact us if you want to book a trip for you!