When to visit Kolad
The best season to visit Kolad is the monsoons. Not only will you have a great drive along the Mumbai – Pune expressway, the natural greenery of the place will be at its charming best. Even the river Kundalika swells in the monsoon and you get a better experience river rafting in Kolad during this time. By the time we left, the post monsoon transition had set in and it was extremely hot in the daytime. Uncomfortably hot in fact. Not the best time to visit at all! June to August would be the best time to visit.
Things to Do
The main activity is River Rafting in Kolad. It is a 12 km stretch that has a few rapids and then a free-flowing river. The rapids are formed only when the dam releases water into the river and rafting happens throughout the year, but on weekends only. Other than rafting, the riverside camps provide Kayaking, Speed Boat ride, Banana Boat ride, Zip Lining, Water Ski. A lot of camps can arrange camping, rappelling and mountain biking as well.
Water Sports Experience at Kolad
We started our river sports in the evening due to the hot weather. First up, we did Kayaking which was quite enjoyable. I was in a double Kayak with my colleague and the two of us managed to maintain a rhythm and gather speed. In fact, we once didn’t brake fast enough and rammed into the mangroves! Other than sore upper arm muscles, it was good fun. The next activity was a Water Bed where 2 people lie facedown on an inflatable bed. This gets hooked to the back of the speedboat and you trail after it getting drenched in the spray. While it sounds thrilling, the exhaust fume from the speedboat made it nauseating for me. The last activity we did was Zip Lining where you climb onto a high platform at the river bank and are tied to a pulley that slides on a rope going into the river. All of 30 seconds, it is a nice fun ride!
River Rafting in Kolad
Anyone who has done white water rafting before will agree with me that the experience is exhilarating! The adrenaline rush when you enter a white foamy rapid is just awesome!!! While river rafting in Kolad however, I found the number of rapids too few and the intensity too less at Kundalika. I am comparing this to my previous rafting experiences in Rishikesh on Ganga. Compared to those trips, this one was a bit Meh! Kundalika offers a thrill for the first few kilometres lasting about 30 – 40 minutes only. Thereafter it is up to the guide to engage you. He made us stand on the edge of the raft, jump into the water and float around and even capsize the raft on purpose. The last 200 meters is like paddling in a lake. It is dull and exhausting. Also, you can not carry your cell phones and cameras during this ride so be sure to lock them up someplace secure.
Prices of Activities in Kolad
While the prices vary from camp to camp, the basic rafting trip costs around 1000 – 1500 INR. Other activities like Kayaking and boat riding cost between 150 – 750 INR depending upon the activities. Our group stayed overnight and the cost of the trip was about 3000 INR per person. This included 3 meals, a night’s stay at the riverside camp in cottages and 3 riverside activities in addition to rafting. The prices are not steep at all compared to the prices in other locations like Rishikesh.To sum up, I would say that it is a good place to visit in the monsoon for a short weekend break that does not drain your pocket. If you go in a large group, you are sure to have an enjoyable fun outing. It is not for serious adventure sports enthusiasts or adrenaline junkies though.