| 140 km from Mumbai, Maharashtra
Even with all its charm, the city cannot convince you to spend yet another weekend with her. Like always, the options for many are the tourist populated regions of Lonavala, Khandala or Matheran. By now, you know that you can walk faster than the mini-train and that the corn bhajiyas at Lion Point are overpriced! Consider the town of Kolad, an undiscovered find located on the foothills of the Sahyadri Mountains. It is almost 140 km from Mumbai and a two hour drive from Chembur. The river Kundalika originating from Bhira flows through Kolad into the Arabian Sea. Kundalika is fed excess water from Tata Power’s Mulshi Dam Project, which then flows to a number of smaller dams. The water is released every morning at about 6 am and reaches Kolad by about 10 am. This schedule has made the Kundalika riverbed the perfect circuit for river rafting throughout the year. The length of the rafting circuit is roughly 14 km and about 105 minutes are needed to cover the entire stretch. The rafting is carried out with a high degree of safety and professionalism by Foliage Outdoors.
Each raft typically carries 8 people along with a qualified instructor. Every rafter is provided with training, a life-jacket, helmet and paddle. Rescuers splash around in kayaks alongside the rafts in case of capsize. There are several adrenaline stimulating drops, turns and rapids along the course which need to be conquered to get to the finish line. The last 2 km stretch sees the river regain its composure. The evergreens along the banks join forces with the water body, making for a tranquil and an enjoyable setting. The thrill seekers are allowed to swim and have fun in the water, though remaining close to the raft the whole time. The charges for the trip are Rs. 1240 on weekends and bank holidays and Rs. 775 on weekdays.
Once you’re out of the water, there are several resorts in Kolad where you can let your hair down and relax. Pooja Farms at Sutarwadi stands out because of its originality and uniqueness. Their aqua cottages (built on stilts!) are heavily in demand throughout the year. The views from the aqua cottages are unparalleled, with mango and melon plantations on the horizon. The aqua cottage accommodates 7 people and the tariff is Rs. 800 per person per day, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner (veg and non-veg). They don’t serve alcohol so it is best to carry it along if needed. Other stay options include the Manchan cottage, the glass house or spacious tents.
Best time to visit: Monsoon (June – Sept)
River Rafting Booking: www.kundalikarafting.in
Pooja Farms (Mumbai Office):
Mr. Dinesh Tawate
Dinesh Stores, Shop No. 1, Ganesh Nagar, Lalbaug Market, Lalbaug, Mumbai – 400 012
Tel: 2471 0101 / 0202
(Bookings for River Rafting can be made here)