KempuHoLe River


The river runs in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. It loses a lot of gradient (~800m) in a span of about 150km before it meets the ocean. The first 700m is lost within 20km. This is a serious and continuous class IV (V) river.

Getting there:

On the Bangalore-Mangalore highway (NH 48), after Sakleshpur the ghat road starts. About 30km after Sakleshpur you can find a dam on the river. The river runs along the highway for about 20 km and then turns south.

Stretch 1:

From the Kempu Hole Dam project until Gundya

Put in:

About 0.5-1km after the dam, after the river gets back its water. There are several places to put in. Some portage will be necessary.

Take out:

Again several options. During this report it has been about 8kms downstream before a big class IV+ (V) rapid (Sharp and evident U turn of the river).An ideal take out can be at the Gundya bridge.

Distance on river:

About 12 kms till the bridge.


class III+, IV+ (V)

Permissions required?:

Yes, this river runs through reserved forest. The forest guard was very friendly though, during the writing of this article.

Elevation profile:


Stretch 2:

Downstream of Gundya

Put in:

At the Gundya bridge

Take out:

Several options, the road runs close to the river for about 12kms.

Distance on river:



Mostly class II rapids. Lots of fun waves at good levels. Lot of flat water too. Good for beginners.

Permissions required?:

Yes, the stretch falls under KempuHoLe reserved forest and Gundya reserved forest. We did not take permissions when we ran this section. It is recommended now.

Places to stay:

Stream of Joy home-stay is about 30 mins. Other options at Sakleshpur or Nelyady.



Mono rail (to be run yet...)

Kempu dream

Stay scared! (class V? be run yet)

Boof Lab in high flow

The turkey step


From June to September it will be in high flow.The upper stretch is recommended to expert paddlers only at that time.
Oct-Nov-Dec may be good levels. It drops very low after that, but still carries some water to be runnable.