Kushalnagar: Adventure seekers yearning for an adrenaline rush head to Dubare and Barapole in Kodagu district for whitewater rafting and abseiling in the rapids. Rafting in the Cauvery and Barapole is an exhilarating experience. Rafting usually begins once the inflow into the Cauvery and Barapole increases and the level rises. A raft is a rubberized inflatable boat with different load capacities.
A 7 kilometer trip to Dubare will take around 1.5 hours while it is shorter but adventurous at the 4.5 km rafting from Barapole. Still water can be a deceiving thing along the course of the Cauvery and the Barapole when hitting the rapids (a section of the river where the water moves very quickly, especially over or bisecting rocks ).
If one is tired of his mundane schedule and wants to try something adventurous with friends, rafting is one of the perfect and exciting options one can choose. The thrill, however, is not without some risk. However, the risks are what enhance the rafting experience for many adrenaline junkies.
In Dubare, the rafters will be able to discover two rapids and swimming is authorized in two places. Barapole has over nine Class 2 Class 4 rapids and is located on the banks of the Kithu Kakathu River (KKR). The river is turbulent throughout its course as it flows through the Brahmagiri hills to the Arabian Sea via Kerala.
While June to the end of September is ‘white water’ season, October to December or January is a ‘calm water’ season. After which, the water level runs out. Whitewater forms in a rapid when the slope of a river changes enough to generate so much turbulence that air is trapped in the water. This forms an unstable current that foams, turning the water opaque and white. Stillwater is part of a watercourse where no water current is visible.
The response for rafting is quite good with over 2000 rafters during the weekends and over 250 rafters per day. In 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 in Dubare as the demand is huge.
Safety is of paramount importance here and all guides are well trained. Life jackets are worn by all rafters and the guide and at Dubare each life jacket can hold a weight of 180kg and there is little risk of drowning. Rafting at Dubare costs Rs. 600 per person and Rs. 1,200 at Barapole. Each raft can carry six rafters and a guide.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Pavan of Coorg Water Rafting Sports and Adventures, Barapole, said the response was good. “Only rafting and adventure enthusiasts come here and we have a lot of regulars. It’s quite challenging and tests the spirit of adventure,” he said.
Need a ladies changing room
CL Vishwa, raft owner and former president of the Dubare Rafters Association, said they desperately needed a changing room at Dubare for women and girls and there was also a need for a water facility drinkable.
“If the district administration wants to attract more tourists to Dubare, a suspension bridge is essential so that tourists can reach the elephant camp on one side of the Cauvery River. Unfortunately, the tourist project has been abandoned by agents with no vision,” he added.
Rules and regulations
The Kodagu District Administration has come up with a 23-point formula to ensure safety. Operators must obtain permission from the police, forest, fire and tourism departments and employ trained guards to accompany the rafters. Each of them must have an identity card issued by the Department of Tourism and must be trained in first aid methods. Smoking and drinking are prohibited while rafting. Rafters must also obtain permission from the Karnataka Inland Waterway Transport Department.