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Adventure Tourism

Adventure sports in India have a lot to offer to enthusiasts who want to go to any limit to experience the thrills of the sport. The varied terrain of India, from the Himalayas in the North to its seas in the South, its rivers and rapids, deserts and forests provide an exciting fare which raises the spirit of adventure in every sports enthusiast. Whether it is water sports or rock climbing, desert safaris or aero sports, there are marvelous opportunities available in India that would make sporting a pleasurable experience.

 
  Tourist taking pleasure of paragliding adventure sport

The Himalayas offer some of the toughest and most exciting river runs in the world. River sports in the rapids are the most popular throughout the summers and can really get your adrenaline pumping. The innumerable fresh water streams and lakes in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are ideal for angling and trout fishing. The coastal regions provide excellent opportunities for water sports like water skiing, wind surfing, yachting, snorkelling and scuba diving. Further south you can enjoy water adventures along both the west and the east coasts of India. The islands of Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Indian Ocean are virtually untouched and are some of the best spots for scuba diving and snorkelling.

The beaches of Goa and Kerala also offer other sporting opportunities like water skiing, wind surfing and sailing.

The West coast offers sailing in Mumbai, Goa and the lakes around Pune. White Water Rafting, Kayaking, Snorkelling or Scuba Diving, if there is a concept of water sport in adventure you can find it in this country. Along the length and breadth of the country the water bodies-be it the rivers, lakes or the seas, present themselves as treasure troves of adventure, waiting to be explored.

 
  (L) Tourist having boat ride in Indian Ocean; (R) A traveller cycling in hilly area

Water Skiing in Kashmir is available at the Dal & Nagin Lakes in Srinagar. The site has Bathing Boats which hire out motor launches, water-skis and trained instructors. Nagin Lake is more popular among water sports lovers for its cleaner waters. Another good water skiing option is Manasbal Lake, with a mirror like sheen on its surface becomes an attractive water sports resort, approachable from Srinagar by road. In Kashmir from May to the end of August, water of the lakes remains pleasant for water sports.

The best beach haunts for water skiing are in Goa, where various beach resorts and hotels offer well-equipped and up to date facilities that are required for water skiing. Besides surfing, this is one sport that is catching the interest of beach lovers a lot and with the high safety standards and low risk factor people are more drawn towards this water sport. Beside the beach sites of the Indian mainland, there are the beaches of India’s tropical islands too, especially Andaman & Nicobar where Water Sports Complex at Diglipur and Island Water Sports Club at Port Blair, offer Water Scooters, Speedboats, Jet Skies, Tube Ride, Wake Board Ride and Knee Board Ride.

Rafting and Kayaking

 
  (L) Tourist group engage in water rafting sport activity; (R) Travellers climbing the mountain top in Uttarakhand

Many a river in the country, specially the North Indian Rivers, presents themselves as a collection of the best white water in the world within a small geographical location. A number of lakes in the Kumaon Region of Uttrakhand and the Ganga with its upper tributaries (Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and various other smaller tributaries) can be hailed as the Queen of the White Water Rafting Industry. River Rafting on the Teesta in Sikkim can be the most adrenaline pumping adventure ever. Meandering down the rough and rugged mountain river is a great way to enjoy both nature and adventure.

The riverbanks have deep forests, with some patches of terraced cultivation, and small Villages. Plenty of white sandy beaches exist, offering good camp sites.

MOUNTAINEERING

If you are passionate about mountaineering, then India is the place to be. It has a wide range of mountains to choose from the Himalayas, the Aravallis, the Sahyadris, the Vindhyas and many more. The pulsating climbs are at Bhimashankar and others sites in Maharastra, Satpura in Gujarat, Manali in Himachal Pradesh, the Beas Kund region and lower reaches of Hanuman Tibba.

Shitidhar around the source of the Beas River and the Deo Tibba are basics climbs. There are numerous peaks that are suitable for diehard climbers and also many unscaled above 10,000 feet to conquer. Uttarakhand is flanked by the Himalayas in the north that offers some of the challenging mountaineering and trekking opportunities. Hatu peak is easily accessible and offers panoramic view. It is a 7km walk through dense jungle to the mountain top route not easily forgotten that is of alpine, evergreen walnuts, yews, cedar trees, flowers that bloom in the shade, butterflies with umpteen patterns, ferns and birds catch your imagination.

TREKKING

 
  (L) Tourist group getting ready for rock climbing adventure; (R) A man helping in skiing to a traveller

India is the ultimate destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from short and easy excursions to the long challenges of the snowy peaks, invoking visions of the spectacular Himalayas, the lush meadows, green woodland and fragrant orchards. The captivating landscape, with an incomparable diversity of flora and fauna: India is regarded as the ‘trekkers’ paradise’ and, indeed, is a refreshing treat to the trekkers.

You can trek for one day or one month; backpack all your gear and wonder off in the wilderness or stroll comfortably with just a shoulder bag, water bottle and camera whilst animals transport your camping gear, heavy baggage and logistic loads. You may set a challenging pace and go over difficult grades and high passes or just amble along, enjoying the wild flowers, magnificent scenery, uncomplicated lives of people staying close to nature, stopping when you please, chatting with your companions, forging new relationships and hoarding a fund of fascinating memories to cherish. Sikkim offers some of the finest trekking experience in the Himalaya. The trek to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary passes through forests of silver fir, hemlock, magnolia and rhododendron with a view of the Kangchendzonga peaks in the background.

The Dzongri Goecha La Trek is the most popular trek in Sikkim. The trek to Green Lake, the base of Mt. Khangchendzonga on the Zemu glacier in North Sikkim is the most enchanting of all treks in this area with a variety of flowers such as rhododendrons, primulas and blue poppies. Kullu-Manali region in Himachal Pradesh, along with Lahul and Spiti areas, offer the best soft, medium and hard trekking opportunities. Some popular treks in the Kullu-Manali valley include Raison-Malana-Chandra Khani-Raison and Manali-Bhrigu-Rohtang. The Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttrakhand too are nature’s finest expressions of a land blessed with natural beauty and trekker’s paradise. Plenty of trekking routes have been opened in the Darjeeling area to savor the breathtaking beauty of the eastern Himalayas.

ROCK CLIMBING

The first stage of rock climbing is constantly increasing its tribe of enthusiasts. Himachal Pradesh’s steep rocky cliffs and mountain sides of Manali valley offer much to explore and conquer. Bangalore is in the centre of a number of rock climbing destinations like Ramanagaram, Savandurga, Thuralli, Kabbal, Raogodhu and others. Badami, a five hour drive from Bangalore, is also a good place for rock climbing. Kambakkam, around 100 km from Chennai, provides good climbing in many grades while Hampi in Karnataka has some of the best granite rocks in India providing the climbers ample opportunities to rest their skills. In a 300 kms radius adjoining Kolkata, there are some rock climbing destinations such as Purulia, Matha Bura, Jai Chandi and Susunia hills. In Haryana, Dhauj is the Mecca of Rock Climbing with some of the best rock faces with various grades of difficulties graded and marked by the Indian Mountaineering Federation.

There are several good rock climbing destinations near Mumbal like Kanheri, Mumbra Boulders, Manori Rocks Kamala and Matheran.

SKIING

Winters is a time to bundle up in front of a roaring fire with a pot of hot coffee brewing on the stove, after you have been out enjoying the cold. The vast open spaces above the snowline have flung open to the skiing enthusiasts, a plethora of ski locales in Jammu and Kashmir, the hills of Kumaon, Himachal Pradesh and the eastern states.

The awesome height and spread of the snow clad mountains, with the added advantage of powdered snow are tempting enough to magnetize the adventurous spirits of the avid skier, providing all the thrill and excitement attached to the game. Realizing the immense prospect for tourism, India has developed some of the most modern and also the cheapest ski resorts in the whole world. Solang valley has good 1 skiing slopes equipped with an excellent lift, offering views of glaciers and snow capped mountain peaks. Kufri offers skiing facility during the season.

In winter, Gulmarg in Jammmu & Kashmir acquires a new persona-that of the countries premier skiing resort. Gulmarg has slopes varying between 8,700 and 10,500 feet with the highest ski runs in India. Meant only for beginners, Gulmarg ski-lifts and chair-lifts provide basic utilitarian facilities with a simple link-up. In Gulmarg you will be able to hire snow-boots, mufflers, woolen socks, windproof jackets and caps.

HELI SKIING

 
  People waiting for heli skiing activity in frozen glaciers

Heli Skiing has come to stay in India. It is practiced in the area bound by Hanuman Tibbaa, Rohtang Pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani Pass near Manali.

AERO SPORTS

Goa, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai and certain parts of Orissa, Manipur and Delhi have facilities for Parasailing. In Goa and Thiruvananthapuram, it’s almost totally an aquatic sport, whereas in Manipur it’s land-based. In Orissa, parasailing is done on both land and sea. The ideal place for Parasailing is North Guwahati.

In Rajasthan, with its open, sandy countryside putting all the machinery in place and enjoying Paragliding, riding the warm thermal currents of the air on a Para glider is perhaps the closest man has ever come to sailing the skies as free as a bird. In perfect weather conditions you can stay aloft for over three hours and can soar to heights more than 3000 meters. Famous for glaciers and snowcapped mountains and winter festival, Solang Valley and Deori Ghat provide just the right kind of slopes for paragliding during summer. A combination of hang gliding and parachuting, India has immense paragliding possibilities with the Himalayas in the north and the Sahayadri ranqes on the west coast.

These sites have conditions for both ridges, thermal soaring and ideal cross country routes almost all the year round, except during the monsoons. The gigantic Dhauladhar range extending for about 160 Kms and rising to a height of approximately 4000 meters from the Kangra valley provides an excellent launching pad for the thrilling sports of para gliding.

SAFARIS

 
  Travellers taking camel safari in Rajasthan

Camel Safari is the ideal way to spend time exploring rustic Rajasthan. A camel safari moves through the golden sands of the savage Thar desert passing through remote villages. The fortified cities of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner are the best areas for camel safari. The adventurous can take an entire trail combing Shekhawati, Pushkar and Bikaner. Tiger Safari offers a full experience of Indian wildlife through India’s famous national parks like Bandhavgarh, Sariska, Corbett, Kanha and Ranthambhore. The Periyar Tiger trail is an exciting trekking programme through the deep forests in the Periyar river valley, near Thekkady tourist resort in Idukki district, Kerala.

 
  A tourist taking Yak safari in Sikkim

Yak Safari is a safari with a difference. A Yak Safari is organized from Dzongri ‘onwards by Sikkim Tourism on prior booking. A two day Yak Safari can be done while trekking from Yuksam situated 5,800 feet above sea level to Dzongri at 13,800 feet. Either take a Yak or trek along the spine of the Singelila Range to the 4572 meter high Dui-La, the pass of the Devil.

 
  Travellers having fun of elephant safari on their Indian tour

It is a domain of yaks and their lonely herdsmen, lakes, glacial valley, gurgling streams, cascades chiseled snow peaks, meadows, forests, Rhododendrons, wildlife, birds, and breathtaking views of 6000 to 8000m high peaks of the Kunchenjunga and Mount Everest group. Relive the good old days of the sahibs and shikaris by trying an Elephant Safari. Elephants might seem like huge, intimidating beasts but they are quite gentle really and one can soon get used to the swaying motion of the elephant’s gait. Travel through the hills and wide river valleys of the Corbett National Park. Elephant Safaris are popular in the various wildlife sanctuaries scattered all over India. Kerala offers a wide array of activities to its tourists, and you will never get bored no matter where you are if you happen to be near a major tourist spot in this state. The elephant ride was once a widely practiced adventure and recreational activity in the state where tourist get a chance to have their ride.



(For full stories read SAFARI INDIA)