Nestled in the midst of striking natural landscapes in the midst of the majestic Himalayas, bounded by the abundance of vivid Himalayan flora lies the sacred Hemkund Sahib, now considered the fifth dham of the revered Hindu shrinesâ€“ a unique star-shaped structure adding a feather to the cap of the natural beauty throughout. Further, one can follow the trail of the Valley of flowers & relish in the sprawling greens shaded with the hues of the vivid flowers & breath-taking views of the Himalayan & Zanskar ranges. It is indeed the perfect combination â€“ indulging in the spiritual essence of the sacred shrine of the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara & witnessing the splendour of the Valley of flowers. Continue reading God’s Abode in the Midst of Natural Bounty: Hemkund Sahib Tour
Jammu and Kashmir government has relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime to enable foreigners to visit restricted areas in Leh district of Ladakh, a decision which is expected to increase the footfall of tourists and give considerable boost to the local economy.
With this decision, foreign tourists would now be permitted to visit a number of unexplored areas like Panamik, Phukpochey, Hargam, Taksha, Sasoma, Chaglung, Kobet, Aranu, Khemi, Warshi, including Yarma Gompa/ Yarma Gonbo Monastery of the Nubra Valley in Leh.
A guide to lesser-known scenic hill stations and treks in the Himalayas
Ninety per cent of visitors to the Indian Himalayas keep visiting the same 10 per cent of places, over and over again. Pilgrimages aside, the hill stations and treks attract those looking out for genuine Himalayan adventure.
West of Lahaul along the Chandrabhaga river, which becomes the Chenab, is Kishtwar. Now due to the political troubles there, it is not easy to reach there and a thorough knowledge of prevalent conditions is a prerequisite. To climbers, it offers treats like Brammah I (6416 m), Brammah II (6425 m), Sickle Moon (6574 m) and Hagshu (6300 m). It is one of the most challenging and difficult areas if ones entry and exit is safe.
Ladakh is sometimes called ‘Little Tibet’. It has a landscape and culture similar to that of Tibet. Caravans used to pass through Leh on the way to and from Central Asia. Almost all the valleys of Ladakh are now open to foreigners. The area of Panggong lake has Kakstet peak (6442 m) and the highest unnamed peak in the world (6725 m).
In south east Ladakh, in the Rupshu valley there are peaks as high as 6600 m around the beautiful lake of Tso Morari. The highest amongst them is Lungser Kangri (6666 m) neighbouring, Chhamser Kangri (6622 m).
Entire barren valleys of Zanskar, south of Ladakh were once inaccessible. But now a road runs through its centre. Hundreds of trekkers cross over to Padam in Central Zanskar. This is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most popular trails.
For serious climbers there are high peaks like Nun (7135 m) and Kun (7087 m). For the others are peaks like Zanskar 1 (6181 m) and Zanskar 2 (6175 m). All these peaks arouse interest and excitement.
The valley of Kashmir was known for centuries for its beauty. Caravans passed through it. In recent times, trekkers and campers flocked to it. Early climbers attempted the small peaks in the south. For instance, Kolahoi (5425 m) and Haramukh (5143 m). A large area around Sonamarg was visited by British climbers. The Climbers Guide to Sonamarg published by the Himalayan Club is an excellent reference book.
The valleys in the extreme north of India are those of the Eastern Karakoram. These form a special group in the Great Karakoram Range. It has some very high mountains, many of them still unclimbed some climbed only in recent years.
Records reveal that this area was visited in 1821. Dr. T.G. Longstaff went there in 1901. From 1914 to 1922 several Italian and European expeditions climbed here. Col J.O.M. Roberts undertook explorations in 1946. After this, the area was closed for many years. In the 1970s different Japanese teams crossed over from Bilafond la onto the Siachen glacier and climbed peaks like Teram Kangri I (7462 m) amongst others. The Japanese mountaineers were very active here, and climbed many difficult peaks. Then, once more, the area was closed to all for many years.
In 1984 members of a Japenese expedition became the first foreign mountaineers to be allowed into this area from the Indian side. They climbed Mamostong Kangri I. The following year an Indo-British team climbed Rimo III and a few other peaks in the Terong Valley. Some peaks on the Siachen glacier were climbed by the Indian Army. There are still several enigmatic peaks in the Siachen Muztagh like Saltoro Kangri I and II.
The second group of mountains in the Eastern Karakoram is that of the Saser Kangri. This particular peak was approached by Col. Roberts and finally climbed from the eastern side by an Indian team. A Japanese team made the first ascent of Saser Kangri II West (7518 m). The eastern peak of Saser Kagri II remains one of the highest virgin mountains in the area.
The third group is that of Rimo Muztagh. The famous Central Asian trade-route over the Karakoram Pass, goes this way. Chong Kundan I (7071 m) was climbed in 1991 by an Indo-British team. Chong Kundan II (7004 m) is still unclimbed.
The valleys of Eastern Karakoram are open to joint ventures between Indian and foreign mountaineers. Permits for climbing are readily available for almost any peak here.
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism bagged the TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Traveller Award 2016, organised by Gill India Group for Best Adventure Tourism Destination at the 10th Annual TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Traveller Awards 2016 held at Taj Palace, New Delhi on Tuesday.
Additional Resident Commissioner, Jigmi Choden along with Resident Tourism Officer, Adong Moyong, Arunachal Bhawan received the award on behalf of Arunachal Pradesh Tourism from Minister of State (IC) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Vijay Goel.
A coffee table book- Ã¢â‚¬ËœGame ChangersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ was also launched in the function.
Lauding the efforts of the Gill India Group in recognizing and acknowledging the leaders of the travel and tourism industry, Vijay Goel added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We should appreciate the best in the industry, which helps to take Incredible India to the far corners of the world.Ã‚Â We must strive to make India an all-season destination.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The award comes in the long line of various awards that the state has received in the recent past and is in recognition of the effort put in by the Department of Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh to boost tourism sector, as a major revenue earner in the state.
Blessed with mountain ranges, beautiful valleys, and numerous rivers, it’s not surprising at all that India has so many options for adventure sports. For the adventure junkies, north, south, east, and west, all parts of our country are places where they can travel to, and get their adrenaline fix.
Here is a list of 8 such adventure sports destinations in India:
Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Famous for its snow-covered mountains and picturesque valleys. Gulmarg is one of the best places in India for skiing, snow sledging and even trekking and hiking. The beautiful mountain ranges when covered in snow, provide the most jaw-dropping skiing experience.
For the ones who prefer the heat, the trek in the summer, once the snow melts is mind blowing as well. The green mountains and vivid wild flowers make this a charming city to visit.
The first thing that comes to our minds when we say Rishikesh is river rafting, but there are plenty of other activities that one can indulge in at this adventure sports destination. From White Water Rafting, Rappelling to Bungee Jumping, Rishikesh is a treat for those seeking a buzz. With every activity having a different difficulty level, you can in a way, pick your poison.
Famous for the hundreds and thousands of shacks and crazy parties on the beaches, Goa is a travellers paradise. But, apart from its epic parties, Goa is also famous for its various adventure sports! The chance to dive deep into the sea and get a glimpse of the natural coral bed, or simply parasailing and enjoying the beautiful landscapes and the gorgeous sea.
For the people who prefer to do it alone, Kayaking is an option that you can explore. But, whatever your decision may be, you will never get enough of this awesome place.
Apart from the mainstream water sports, Kerala offers various other things that can get your adrenaline pumping. You can try your hands at paragliding, mountaineering, valley crossing and a new-age adventure sport called the FlyingFox.
FlyingFox is a sport, that lets you embark on a journey from above the mountains, rivers or valleys with ultra strong steel zip lines. This lets you enjoy the beautiful view of the surroundings mountains.
Sangla Valley, Kinnaur
The beautiful and picturesque Sangla valley is situated 30 Kms away from the Tibetian border. Once you are done trying to take in the beautiful and wonderful sights, your attention will shift to the various sports that you can indulge in. You can go on a trek and explore the mountains or simply camp wherever you like. If walking is not your cup of tea, then the option to go mountain biking will definitely get you moving.
For the ones who need the thrill, you can go tumbling down in a Zorbing ball or just paraglide all the way down the valley, while admiring the beauty of the hills around you.
Situated on the east bank of the river Banas, Deesa is famous for being home to temples, palaces, dargahs and the Banas Dam. But now thrill seekers, are flogging to Deesa for something else altogether – Skydiving.
From Accelerated Free Falls to Static Line Jumps to Tandem Jumps, you have various options that you can choose from. But whatever your choice may be, we are sure that your need for adventure will be truly satisfied.
Located in the foothills of the Mullayanagari range, Chikmagalur is famous for its lush green forests and tall mountains. The adrenaline junkies can go for an off-roading adventure and try to tame the tricky terrains by getting behind the wheel. Whether it’s a fully revved 4X4 or a powerful quad bike, off roading here is an exhilarating experience!
Along with this, you can also treat yourself to an awe-inspiring Kudremukh trek – The second highest mountain peak in Karnataka. Just for added incentive, it isn’t uncommon to spot deer, wild boars, sambars and if you are really, really lucky, then you might even spot a pack of bison.
India is home to some amazing river rafting destinations. Check out the ones you just can’t miss.
Not everything is bad about the summers. It opens up a lot of opportunities for travellers, including the adventure activities that are offered in several destinations across the country. River rafting is one adventure activity that has gained popularity among Indians in the last couple of years. Let’s take a look at the places that offer the best rafting experience in India.
Rishikesh has become almost synonymous with rafting. The moment somebody mentions about a rafting trip, the first place that comes to the mind is Rishikesh. With up to three grades of rapids and numerous rafting camps on the white sand beaches of River Ganga, this holy town in Uttarakhand has become a hot favourite among those who love rafting. Besides, the place provides ample opportunities for other adventure activities, including trekking and cliff jumping.
Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
Yes, you read that right. In case you didn’t know, Ladakh is not just about bikers, trekkers and mountain lovers. The place has a lot more to it. You must have heard of the Zanskar river — the one on which the popular Chadar Trek is done during the winters. It’s the same river on which rafting is offered in the months of July and August. At an altitude of 12,000 feet, rafting is a completely different experience — the river flows between high mountain walls, each of a few hundred feet. The views one gets are stunning to say the least — while on one side you come across remote and unseen areas of Ladakh, it’s a treat to see the river merging into River Indus at the end of the rafting route.
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Orchha offers a unique melange of adventure and heritage. As you go rafting on the rapids of the turbulent River Betwa, you will be charmed at the views of various cenotaphs lined up across the banks of the river. To add to your experience are the lush green environs, making for a soothing locale to enjoy a high adrenaline adventure activity like rafting. The rafting tours are organised by MP Tourism, and starts from the scenic Kanchana Ghat.
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
River Beas offers some of the best rapids for white water rafting in India. The rafting tour in this region starts from Pirdi, at a distance of four kilometres from the town of Kullu, and covers 14 km, before ending at a place called Jhiri. Rafting here enables travellers to enjoy views of the Pir Panjal Range, that covers the entire region of Kullu-Manali. The rapids here range from beginner’s level to Grade 1 and Grade 3.
A popular destination among adventure seekers, especially during the monsoons, Kolad is also a hotspot for rafting in Maharashtra. Located within the depths of the Sahyadri mountain range, in Raigad district, Kolad is home to scenic surroundings, thanks to the lush vegetation of the place. Rafting here is done on River Kundalika, which has several rapids in its 14 km stretch.
Another unlikely place for rafting, the coffee district of Coorg also offers amazing opportunities for rafting enthusiasts. Carried out on River Barapole, the grades vary from one section of the river to the other, thanks to the presence of the beautiful Western Ghats. There are approximately four to five rapids in the upper section of the river, and about six to seven in the lower section, with grade level ranging from 1 to 4. The rafting season in Coorg is from June to September.
Trekking in India started when the land was inhabited in prehistoric times. There are perhaps as many trekking routes in India as there are Indians. It was in the 1970Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and 1980Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s that trekking started gaining in popularity as a recreational/adventure sport. A number of religious sites and shrines across the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand Ã¢â‚¬â€œ such as Badrinath, Amarnath, Gangotri, Hemkund, Joshimath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi and Yamunotri Ã¢â‚¬â€œ entail trekking for a couple of days in the mountains. Trekking in India has grown in leaps and bounds and the current trekking scenario is very promising, with thousands of Indians and foreigners hitting trekking trails each year.
What India can boast of is some of the most stunning trekking routes in the world Ã¢â‚¬â€œ many of the mountain passes in the Ladakh and Zanskar Himalayas are above 5000m. But there are plenty of gentler and smaller trails, at different altitudes, both in the mountains and in the forests. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking for less arduous hikes, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll find plenty in in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Hills of south India (Munnar and Wayanad in Kerala, Coorg in Karnataka, and around Ooty in Tamil Nadu).
It is possible to rent/buy trekking equipment all over India from clubs and adventure- gear manufacturers. Do thoroughly check all gear before venturing out into the mountains.
1. Small rucksack / knapsack
2. Sleeping bag
3. Lockable duffel bag
4. Karrimat / Therm-a-Rest
6. Personal toiletries
7. Water bottle (at least 2 litres)
8. First-aid kit
9. Camera with spare batteries and film (carry more film than you think you will need!)
10. Headlamp/torch with spare cells
12. Diary/pen/reading material
13. Sewing kit
14. Swiss Army knife
16. Sunscreen Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with high SPF (at least 30, to better protect you from harmful UV rays)
17. Lip salve/ChapStick
18. Sunglasses with retainers/spare prescription glasses
20. Emergency rations/goodies
21. Parachute cord
23. Rope (for high-altitude treks)
24. Plastic bags and Ziplocs for packing gear
Best season in India
May/June and September/October for Garhwal, Kumaon (Uttarakhand), Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh
June/July and August/September for Ladakh and Zanskar (Jammu and Kashmir)
One can trek in the foothills of the Himalayas from October through till March
Trekking destinations in India
1. Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh, Zanskar)
2. Himachal Pradesh
3. Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon)
4. Sikkim and Darjeeling
5. Northeast states (Arunachal Pradesh)
6. Western Ghats
7. South India (Nilgiris, Coorg)
2. Clothing / staying warm (Ã¢â‚¬ËœCover your head if your feet are cold gentlemenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is an old English saying)
3. Packing a rucksack
4. Pacing yourself on a trek
5. Timing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬ËœStart early and arrive earlyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is the cardinal rule of trekking
6. Porters and guides Ã¢â‚¬â€œ A guide, or guide-cum-cook, is important on routes that are remote, tougher and relatively less trodden. Porters, with the option of ponies, will come in extremely handy on longer trips, especially if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re carrying lots of provisions.
7. Mules and horses on the trail
The lovely dales of Kullu have been a major attraction area for those who prefer to climb difficult but low peaks. The south Parvati area has peaks like Dibibokari, Pyramid, Papsura and Peak 20,101 (6127 m). This area too, is open to all climbers with peaks like Mukarbeh and Indrasan (6221 m), and has a lot to offer hobbyists and serious climbers alike.
Kinnaur lies north of Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh. The National Highway leads through Kinnaur to Spiti. Recent changes in policy allow visitors entry to the area west of the road without official permission. Which means, high peaks like Jorkanden (6473 m), Manirang (6593 m) and several others are now easily accessible.
Above the eastern valleys of Baspa, Tirung and Leo Pargial (6791 m) rise many peaks above 6000 m. Kinnaurs architecture, its people and customs could each attract curious minds, interested travellers.
The area north of the famous Rohtang Pass road consists of the valleys of Lahaul. It has been open to mountaineers for many years now. Around the Bara Shigri glacier rise peaks like Kullu Pumori (6553 m) and Shigri Parbat (6626 m). Towards its north the Chandra Bhaga group (CB Group) has peaks like Minar (6172 m), Akela Killa (6005 m) besides others with different numbers, of around the same height. Phabrang (6172 m) and Mulkilla (6517 m) are the chief draws of the west side. Motorable roads lead to almost all the valleys here and the approached are easy and free of hassels.
Spiti is the most barren Trans-Himalayan area. In the east, the highest peak is the defiant Gya (6794 m), still unclimbed. The controversial Shilla (6132 m) stands proudly above this valley. In the west, are the Ratang, Gyundi and Khamengar valleys. Khangla Tarbo is one of the better known peaks here. Here, too, no permits needed!
Kumaon consists of three different valleys. They lie to the west of Nepal. Kumaon is generally confused with Garhwal. In fact Garhwal was once a part of Kumaon till the British separated it and gave it a different name.
The first valley, in the east, is the Darma Ganga valley. At its head are several peaks above 6000 m, technically difficult to climb. Peaks like Sangthang and Lalla We can be approached from here.
The Central valley in the Kumaon is the valley of the Milam glacier. Beside its eastern branch is an excellent climbing area of Kalabaland glacier. The peak Chiring We (6559 m) rises from the Kalabaland glacier and was climbed only once in 1979 by the Indian team led by Harish Kapadia. To its south, is Suitilla (6373 m) a most formidable and difficult goal. At the head of the Milam glacier are the enciting peaks Hardeol (7151 m) and Tirsuli (7074 m). Nanda Devi East has been climbed from this valley. Panch Chuli is the south eastern valley of this section in the Kumaon. It has five different peaks which were conquered with great difficulty, both from the East and the West.
The western valley of Kumaon is the Pindari valley, flanked by peaks like Panwali Dwar (6663 m) and Nanda Khat. This area is very popular with climbers. The Sunderdhunga valley branches off from the Pindari and leads to the southern foot of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.
The Garhwal is a tract in the center of the Indian Himalaya. For many years mountaineers have visited and climbed in this area.
North Garhwal consists of peaks like Kamet (7756 m) and Mukut Parbat (7242 m). Many high peaks here have not been climbed. The famous Hindu temple of Badrinath attracts many Hindu pilgrims.
The valleys to the extreme west of the Garhwal region house some very easy, gentle peaks. Many students and early mountaineers have trained in these areas. The Swargarohini group can prove a bit troublesome though. Bandarpuch West and Bandarpuch (6316 m) have been climbed a couple of times. For a quick trip from Delhi this area is the most convenient.
Nanda Devi Sanctuary
The area from where the Rishi Ganga starts is the famous Nanda Devi Sanctuary, the centre piece of the Garhwal region. Until 1934 the gorge of the Rishi Ganga was the least known part of the Himalaya. The Nanda Devi range is a long one, about 75 miles in circumference, about 6000 m high, sheltering approximately 380 sq. km. of ice and snow. The Nanda Devi peak (7816 m) is the most beautiful peak in the Indian Himalaya. It was climbed in 1936 by Tilman and Odell and the shoulders of both its peaks were traversed by Japanese mountaineers in 1976.
The other noteworthy peaks on the rim of the Sanctuary, are Changabang (6864 m), Rishi Pahar (6992 m), and Bethartoli Himal (6352 m) etc. The Northern Sanctuary of the Nanda Devi was visited by an expedition from Japan and they climbed several peaks being first in the area after 40 years. The northernmost peak of the inner Sanctuary, Changabang, was climbed in 1974 by the Indo-British team led by Chris Bonington. Four days later, Harish Kapadias team climbed Devtoli (6788m), the inner sanctuarys southernmost tip. In spite of many successful conquests, there are still several unclimbed peaks here, particularly the Northern part of the sanctuary.
For preserving the fragile environment, this area is now closed to mountaineers. Only one army expedition was allowed to enter in the last 15 years. It is not known when and whether anyone will be permitted to climb here again.