Kushalnagar: Adventure lovers who have been pining to get some adrenaline rush are heading towards Dubare and Barapole in Kodagu district for whitewater river rafting and rappelling in the rapids. Rafting in the Cauvery and at Barapole is an exhilarating experience. Rafting usually starts once the inflow into the Cauvery and Barapole increases and the level rises. A raft is a rubberised, inflatable boat with different carrying capacities.
A 7-kilometre journey at Dubare will take about one-and-a-half hours while it is shorter but adventurous at Barapole’s 4.5-km rafting. The tranquil water may be a deceitful thing along the course of the Cauvery and Barapole as one hits the rapids (a section of the river where the water moves very fast particularly over or bisecting the rocks).
If one is tired of their mundane schedule and wants to try something adventurous with friends then river rafting is one of the perfect and thrilling options that one can opt for. The thrill, however, is not without a certain amount of risk. However, the risks are what enhance the river rafting experience for many adrenaline junkies.
At Dubare, rafters will get to experience two rapids and swimming is allowed at two places. Barapole has more than nine Class 2 Class 4 rapids and is set on the banks of the Kithu Kakathu River (KKR). The river is a turbulent one all along its route as it flows through the Brahmagiri hills to the Arabian Sea via Kerala.
While June to the end of September is the ‘whitewater’ season, October to December or January is a ‘stillwater’ season. After which, the water level depletes. Whitewater is formed in a rapid when a river’s gradient changes enough to generate so much turbulence that air is trapped within the water. This forms an unstable current that froths, making the water appear opaque and white. Stillwater is part of a stream where no water current is visible.
The response for rafting is pretty good with over 2,000 rafters during weekends and over 250 rafters daily. At Dubare, there are 70 rafts and 70 guides while Barapole has 9 rafts and 9 guides. Soon, 10 more rafts will be added to the existing fleet at Dubare as there is a huge demand.
Safety is of paramount importance here and all the guides are well trained. Life jackets are worn by all the rafters and the guide and at Dubare, each life jacket can withstand a weight of 180 kgs and there is little chance of drowning. Rafting at Dubare costs Rs. 600 per person and Rs. 1,200 at Barapole. Each raft can carry six rafters and one guide.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Pavan of Coorg Water Rafting Sports and Adventures, Barapole, said that the response is good. “Only those who are passionate about rafting and adventure come here and we have many regulars. It is quite challenging and tests the adventure spirit,” he said.
Need changing room for ladies
C.L. Vishwa, raft owner and former President of Dubare Rafters Association, said that they desperately need a changing room at Dubare for ladies and girls and also there is a need to establish a drinking water facility.
“If the District Administration wants to attract more tourists to Dubare, then a hanging bridge is a must for tourists to reach the Elephant Camp from one side of the Cauvery river. Unfortunately, the tourist-friendly project has been shelved by officers without a vision,” he added.
Rules and regulations
The Kodagu District Administration has came out with a 23-point formula to ensure safety. The operators must secure permission from the Departments of Police, Forests, Fire Force and Tourism, and employ trained guards to accompany the rafters. Every one of them should have ID cards issued by Tourism Department and should be trained in first-aid methods. Smoking and drinking is prohibited during rafting. Rafters should also obtain permission from the Karnataka Inland Water Transport Department.