Monsoon Reverie in Goan Hinterlands - Rafting, Rains and Lush Greenery

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Soaking wet in pouring rain, I stood on the banks of a wild Mhadei River trying to soothe my frayed nerves. But, with every word John uttered, my knees shook more violently than before. John was giving instructions on what to do should we fall into the water or get swept away by the strong currents. Looking at the raging brown waters of the river though, I felt falling into the water is not going to end well no matter how “well-instructed” we were. John was our instructor and we were about to go rafting on a swollen muddy river surrounded by the mist-covered peaks of Western Ghats.

Monsoon Rafting in Goa, on Mhadei River
Monsoon Exclusive - Rafting on a swollen Mhadei River
Here’s the kicker, I’ve never rafted before!

I’ve spent weeks around beaches, lakes, rivers and waterfalls but have rarely gotten into water. I’m a mountain person and I tend to get extremely nervous around water. Yet, the lure of an exclusive monsoon rafting adventure in my favorite Western Ghats wasn’t beyond me. With my knees shaking still and heart in my mouth, I sat on the edge of the raft and off we went into the brown waters.

When we hit the first of rapids, I braced myself for a violent jerk. Surprisingly and thankfully, it didn’t feel as rough as it looked. But my feet were still very firmly stuck under the straps inside the raft, so much that the rough edges were piercing into my skin. But I couldn’t care less as I was trying very hard not to fall into the water. After getting over the initial fear and anxiety, I began to relax and enjoy the pristine surroundings of Chorla Ghats. It helped that our guide was John Pollard, the person who pioneered the first commercial rafting operations in south India, by charting routes down the Kali, Kundalika and three other rivers down south.

Having trekked, camped, cycled and road tripped my way through the Ghats before, rafting through the heart of the forest brought forth a brand new perspective. Hiding behind a veil of mist, the lush forests of Mhadei National Park surrounded us in every direction, drenched in the spell of a monsoon-induced greenery. Where the river widened, it calmed down and so did I. Gentle drizzle and a warm breeze kept us company as we floated over the muddy Mhadei River, the milder waves lapping gently against the raft. Despite the sights that enthralled me, I would be lying if I said the fear of falling into the water disappeared entirely from my consciousness. It’s hard to let go of our fears, no matter how irrational they might be. But the thrill of overcoming such irrational fear is no less fun either. I waited with bated breath to celebrate my first rafting session until I reached the shore almost 90 minutes later. There’s nothing more awkward than celebrating victory before winning, now is it?

Driving back to Miramar from Valpoi where we had met John earlier that afternoon, I realized it was not the thrill of rafting that stayed with me but rather it was the uniqueness of the circumstances that entranced me more. The visible currents, the insanely fast flowing river, the muddy water and the lovely Ghats on a rainy day in a place as stereotyped as Goa, made my first rafting experience an unforgettable adventure. After all, we only came across three class 3 rapids, which is pretty mild come to think of it. However, to put this uniqueness into better perspective, do a quick Google search on rafting and tell me if you’ve seen any picture where the scenery is like this. Monsoon rafting on flooded rivers doesn’t sound very inviting to begin with but it’s half as scary and twice as exciting! I, for one, couldn’t have asked for a better way to start with rafting than with Goa Tourism on the flooded Mhadei river; it included three of my favorite things - Monsoons, Western Ghats and exquisite Outdoors!

Make it happen!
Monsoon rafting over Mhadei River is a monsoon exclusive and the rafting sessions operate only during a short window of 10-12 weeks between June to September depending on the flow of water. It costs Rs.1800 per person and takes about 3 and 1/2 hours starting from Valpoi in north Goa. Call up ahead and confirm if the rafting is in session for the day. For bookings, visit or email at or you can call at +91 7387238866 or +91 8805727230. More information here.
(And for more monsoon ideas, follow Goa Tourism's facebook page.)

Other essential “Monsoon in Goa” reading

And if rafting doesn’t lure you to experience Goa in Monsoons, perhaps these pictures might?
A quaint Church in the hinterlands of Goa

Lush greenery brought forth by the monsoon season lasting between June to September

On the banks of Mondovi, a flooded river and a forest draped in a carpet of greenery

The stunning countryside of Goa during monsoons
Have you ever been to Goa during the so called "off-season", the monsoons?

P.S – This trip was sponsored by Goa Tourism Department.

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  1. This is so freaking good! I would love to do it anyday...and I also think falling in water might actually be fun :) :) :)

    1. Ha ha, falling in that fast flowing muddy waters wasn't too much fun. But that's probably just me! :D

  2. I have experienced the rapids of Dandeli and it was fun

    Rathina's View Space

    1. I'm sure rafting is fun, not for me. Not yet at least. It was fun but equally scary too.

  3. Super cool experience Neelima. I have neither done rafting before, nor do I know swimming. Still, I would love to jump into this raft.

  4. Neelima, you mentioned Mhadei, Chorla and it made me miss my heartbeat :) Glad to read all thrilling moments you had where I usually spend my wild moments tracking birds and reptiles. This is paradise!!

    1. It surely is a paradise, next time I'd love to explore on foot though. :)

  5. Hi Neelima,

    Your blog is super awesome! Nice clicks!

    And thank you very very much for this post, just at the time when i needed it the most!

    I'll be going Goa in august and due to rainy/off season i was worried about what fun things i'll be able to do there. I was thinking about visiting beaches, old goa, dudhsagar falls since 1-2 weeks but yesterday i found a post by Shivya Nath about what to do in goa in monsoon where she mentioned kayaking and today i reached here, my one day task is planned now, yesss! :-)

    You go girl!

    1. So did you get around to rafting in Mhadei then? :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Yes I did it :)

      Me and my friends had an unforgettable experience on Mahdei river on 19th august 2015.

      Hari (very gentle guy), Shankar & Meghraj were very supportive and informative, especially we had great fun with shankar, the guide who lead our boat and made the adventure more exciting with his talk and gestures, he was very informative. I learnt some really good tips for rafting on river.

      Even though this year goa had very less rainfall and rafting could be more exciting fun if there was more rainfall in the season as John told me. But we all were first-timer for rafting so we had really great fun even in slow water and small rapids. I fell down while chasing last rapid and went underneath the boat in water from one side for 4-5 seconds and then somehow got out of water from the other side of boat, that was so fast that i could not understand but in the end it was super exciting fun.

      That was something i would love to do each time when I visit Goa!

      I've mentioned you and this post link in a reply to John's email asking me that where I've found goarafting on internet.

      Thanks once again for the post which given me a chance to experience a thrilling adventure!

  6. My goodness! What a experience! Last year I had to face the same on Padma River in Bangladsh.

    1. Makes my heart skip a beat, rafting in flooded rivers. Hope you had fun though! :)

  7. Hi Neelima,
    Whoa, rafting amidst luscious green covers in ‘Goan Hinterland’ (“Monsoon Reverie in Goan Hinterlands”). A mix up of fantasy and awe!

    Mwaahh for your ‘anatomy of an adventure’ (“Wander Tales#3”).

    Share your travelogues on our global platform. Own this space on Sulekha for the Indians living abroad.

    Sulekha.US would be glad to present your nomad’s stories by all means.

    It’s all yours and you’re going to own an exclusive Travel blog with Sulekha to share your travel posts along with their back links.

    We would promote it across our wall and social media.

    Please spread your traveler’s instincts amidst us!

    “I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.”
    - By George Bernard Shaw

    Thanks & regards,
    Hamida, Content Manager, Sulekha US

  8. ohh no.. I can't swimming .. :(
    attractive clicks


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