Rafting in Tattapani - Detailed blog!
Rafting at Tattapani is something everyone in Shimla has heard off, but with little or no relevant information available online, we decided to go for the ride ourselves and help everyone out by sharing our experience!
Tattapani means Hot (Tatta) Water (Pani), which is the name given to this town at the bank of the mighty Satluj for its famous hot water springs. Naturally boiling water seeps in and creates patches of warm water. Unfortunately, with the construction of a dam downstream on the river, the natural hot springs were flooded over and the hot springs are now limited to an artificial pool at the Hot Springs Hotel (sourced directly with pipes filling the pool).
The short duration of the river hardly had any big rapids, ideally if you reach the start point early morning then you are able to ride the release of the water from a higher dam.
The longer duration has better rapids, the guide assured us, but we only did the shorter stay!
The Satluj is icy cold, and we mean it! If you have done rafting in Rishikesh, then you know the water is cold. But this one was a little too much. We jumped in the water and it was already post sunset, maybe that made us feel colder than usual. But would we do it again? Yes. But only if the sun is out to dry us or it's in the middle of the summers!
Rafting Equipment Condition
One big disappointment was the condition of the rowing equipment and lifejackets. Most were torn, broken, and in shambles, but in a working condition. Maybe we got the discarded pile as we were in the last raft of the day, but we did inform the rafting people to work on it.
When and What time?
Rafting is open throughout the year (Sept - May) except the monsoon months (June - Oct).
Some dates/months might also be closed due to excess rain/snow water or lack of water (peak summer). A pre-booking is recommended.
You have to reach a place before Tattapani (depending on your guide/rafting agency), where the guide will meet you and take you to a point where you wait to be loaded into a small carrier, which then drives you to the starting point.
The Nilaya (Mashobra) to Guide Meeting point (Near Basantpur) - 1 hour
Basantpur to Pick-up point - 20 mins
Pick up point - You have to wait here for rafts and their carriers to come pick you up. We waited here for 60+ mins.
Pick-up point - Rafting starting point - 30 mins (Shorter strech). The longer stretch would take atleast 60+ mins from here.
The Good Part:
There are 2 stretches of rafting -
14kms - You cover this in about 60-120 mins in the water
36kms - You cover this in about 3-4 hours in the water
Varies from 800 per person to 1500 per person depending on season, guide, and additional packages like lunch, boating, jet ski etc.
The rafting is a wonderful experience, but the level on the river rapids is too low for an adrenaline junkie. However it is perfect for first timers, families with elders and kids, and those who are scared of water and want to take a shot at rafting.
The services can be improved for sure of the equipment and life jackets, and that should depend from guide to guide, since we saw many people with perfect equipment too :)
If you start early, you can be back to Mashobra by the evening.
The Nilaya arranges rafting trips for guests starting from the hotel and getting back to the hotel.