How about rafting this monsoon?
As the rivers of Kerala started overflowing after heavy rains, new dimensions of sporting also have emerged in the state. Rafting is actually not a new thing in India. The water sport is so common in the rivers that originate from Himalayas in the northern part of the country. The same is gaining momentum in Kerala too under the shades of monsoon.
Our journey was in rain from Kozhikode to Pulikkayam near Thamarassery. Mobile started ringing as I reached Thamarassery. Call is from Pulikkayam. Dinesh and team are waiting for us with a raft. From Pulikkayam, I travelled to Kurumkayam via Ilanthukadavu bridge, the exact spot where the team is waiting with raft and guide.
It was little challenging to step into water from the road. Amit and Dinesh got into water quickly with raft. Both are professional rafters, and have experience in challenging furious Himalayan waters in the rivers of Uttarakhand.
The rapturous waters of the monsoon, flow patting the blackish rocks and the shrubs that bent down into the rivers.
We are going to step into this miraculous beauty of nature called ‘Malabar Express’, the rafters' pet name for the waterfalls in the river.
A prolonged preface was given to the participants by Dinesh, as we were going to be exposed to danger. The instructions include how to row, what to do next if fell off the raft. For an instance, I felt like, the instruction is pulling us back from the attempt out of fear. However, the instruction is an anticipatory bail like thing. If something goes wrong during the journey, no complaints should be raised saying that we didn’t know.
While rafting, life jacket shouldn’t be too tight or too lose. In the first case, rafter will find difficulty in breathing. In the latter case, when fll into water, jacket will raise and block your breathing. Also at times, to pull someone into the raft from waters, the rescuer holds on to the jacket. The instruction described how to hold the rope thrown into water to save the man falls off the raft. Like jacket, helmet should be correctly worn.
In the boat, rafters sit at the side edge placing legs forward and backward. The oar has to be held safely, placing the T part inside the hands. While rowing, strain must be transferred to hip instead of hands.
The thrill of rafting lies rowing through the water that flows among rocks. Raft flows jumping over the rocks and quivering in the rushing water. At times, drifting beneath the shade of forest trees and gliding calmly besides the branches of trees.
Dinesh had already wet everyone by throwing water with his oar from the river. It helps to be fearless and to get rid of first hesitation against the chill.
The boat passed a torrential flow. Our enthusiasm raised as an cheerful uproar among the rafters.
While moving winging and shuddering in the water, the raft once sat above a rock in the water, stable. Rowing didn’t move her. Dinesh got off the boat and settled the issue and proceeded.
As we reached Elanthukadavu bridge, an instruction said those who want to jump into water can do so. It was a deep water area of the river. However, with help of jacket, I remained at the surface of water, floating. There was another team waiting to start their adventurous journey at the bridge.
Rafting is conducted in Iravanjippuzha and Chalippuzha in Kozhikode. The sporting journey begin at Parapatta in Chalippuzha and Kurumkayam in Iravanjippuzha. The locations are liable to change depending on the current of water. Rafting is not possible in high torrential flow. It is advisable to make sure this before you set out for the journey over phone.
For a 45 minutes rafting, it costs Rs 600 for a person. Costs vary up to Rs 1000, 1400 and 1600 according to the distance of the journey.
People arrive here to learn kayaking. Training for kayaking is given by Malabar Sports Centre at Pullurampara. Per day costs Rs 4500. Contact: 95446 72402, 94000 56753
To raft at Tejaswini River Rafting, one has to reach Cherupuzha. It is 30 kms bus journey from Payyannur Railway station. Here, Rs 1250 is charged per person. Contact: 94953 25669