Paddling in Meghalaya

Paddling in Meghalaya | Author: Andi Brunner, S2S Pro Team

This year I traveled to Meghalaya in India for the Megha Kayak Festival in India. The logistics there are simple, the festival site at "Whitewater Village" is about 3 hours by car from Guwahati airport.

The festival lasts a total of 3 days. The race course is right next to the camp, so logistically it's super easy, especially because you can also get food and drink at the camp.
There's a timed race and a boatercross at the festival. The atmosphere was good and everything was pleasant, relaxed and well organized.

Meghalaya Road Trip

After the festival, we set off on a 10-day road trip to paddle 6 different rivers. The car journeys in Meghalaya are relatively long and quite bumpy, but you have drivers there and therefore don't have to expose yourself to the Indian traffic stress - except that you are constantly exposed to a honking frequency that my heart wouldn't be able to keep up with even during my sprint training sessions.


Our first river was the Umtruh, a totally beautiful river that you can do in one day. The Umtruh is one of the classics because it is logistically and technically easy in terms of white water. You paddle a lot of flat water at the beginning and end, but in between there is a really cool continuous read-and-run with a few larger spots that need to be visited.

Krih Bla

Then we went on to the Krih Bla. We did it in one day, although it
normally takes two days. We got there quickly and still took 7 hours. It has lots of beautiful steps and drop and pool character.


The next river was our first descent on the Umiam. For being a first descent, it was pretty relaxed. Hardly any portages, a path to the entrance, the road at the exit. Really cool route, definitely a new classic. You just have to be careful with the water level, if there's too much, one of the gorges will probably quickly become unrideable or mega stout because of the boxed-in drops.

Kopili & Lower Kynshi

Then we went to Kopili , another one-day classic with drop and pool style. Blue water and big water rapids. Then to Lower Kynshi, one of the hardest routes we've done. You don't want too much water there because of the gorge. You have quite a lot of flat water to paddle in, then about 6 km of quite heavy white water and then flat water again at the end. We split the trip into two days.


Finally, we paddled the Rymbai , which only runs when it rains. The Rymbai has lots of bedrock slides and is reminiscent of the Store Ula in Norway.

Flora and fauna

The rivers in Meghalaya are usually very far away from everything. But the scenery is really great! Huge gorges in the middle of the Indian jungle. The animals are a bit scary. Spiders, snakes, leeches, and apparently there are also tigers and elephants - but we didn't see any. The water is warm and so is the air, so it's pleasant for the multidays. At the beginning of our trip there was still a monsoon and it was brutally raining. Towards the end it was drier and no longer so hot and humid, around 25 degrees with blue skies and warm water, pretty cool

Flow information

The rivers in Meghalaya are all still very unexplored, as not too many groups have been exploring them. The guide book "Meghalaya Rivers" by Joe and Dan Rea-Dickens is definitely very important to have. It is extremely helpful to plan everything in advance and helps a lot on site to find the entrances and exits.

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