Different Rivers in India have different ‘best time’ and season for White Water Rafting. Some, like the Zanskar, are frozen in the winters, and some of the others like Indus are too cold too allow rafting. Getting soaked could lead to a long and perhaps dangerous bout of hypothermia - or worse.
However, as against the common – misleading perception, Ganga, which happens to by far the most popular river in India for White Water Rafting, with thousands of adrenaline pumped junkies and novices alike, coming in flocks to experience this sport between September and June each year – is very winter friendly. Firstly, due to low glacier melting rate during the winters, the water of Ganga is not too chilly (infact, it can be very chilly in the summers). Secondly, Rishikesh and surrounding areas being zero pollution areas, welcome the White Water Rafters with open arms and clear skies, basking with the bright warm sun up there, unlike the foggy and gloomy sky phenomenon that many areas in the plains, including Delhi, UP et al face during peak winter months. For Ganga, while the whole season of September to June is a great time, but experts recommend October to February as the best time. Moreover, since White Water Rafting on Ganga is not a touch and go experience for most adventure lovers, rather it is usually a minimum of two to three days affair – nothing can match enjoying barbeques and lazing around at a rafting camp under that cozy winter sun.
The monsoon brings heavy rain to the lower reaches of the Himalayas, and melting snows in the mountains result in higher waters in all of the rivers. Summers, therefore, though a good time to go river rafting, can be a little unsafe, especially for novices who haven’t travelled on a river in spate. Spring or early summer is also usually suitable for river running.
However, White Water Rafting in Maharashtra and Karnataka (White Water Rafting close to Karjat and Kolad; and on River Kali at Dandeli) is done best in the monsoons since most of these rivers are mainly rainwater and dam fed.
The Teesta is one of the few rivers where river rafting is confined to the winter months, between October and April.