Snuggled in the foothills of Himalayas, the Kumaon hills will surely cast a magical spell on your senses as you step into the crisp and fresh air of the region. A 6 hour drive from the capital city New Delhi takes you to the land of wonders. The Uttarakhand state is divided in two divisions – Garhwal & Kumaon.
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.
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 Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges extend from Namcha Barwa in the east to the borders of Afghanistan in the west. Political maps show them as parts of India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A very large section of the Himalaya and an eastern section of the Karakoram, are in India. Broadly the Indian Himalaya consists of Arunachal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Jammu & Kashmir and Eastern Karakoram. Though there are no 8000 m peaks in India except the Kangchenjunga, there are several peaks which are above 7000 m and a few of them are still unclimbed. A large number of peaks between 6000 to 7000 m are challenging and still virgin. Mountaineers in India have plenty of scope for exploration and conquest.
Also known as the Assam Himalaya, much about this area is not known. It streches from Gori Chen in the east to Namcha Barwa. Due to government restrictions not many mountaineers have been there. There are several high peaks like Gyala Peri (7150 m), Kangto (7090 m) and Nyegi Kangsang (7047 m), not many of which have been climbed from the Indian side. Some of them were approached from Tibet and climbed from the north. The only peak which has been regularly climbed from the Indian side is Gori Chen (6858 m). Its lower peak, Peak II, has also had some infrequent visitors.
F.M. Bailey and H.T. Morshead were the first explorers here followed by F. Kindon-Ward in 1939. H.W. Tilman also visited this area and wrote his report Assam Himalaya Unvisited . The book by F.M. Bailey No Passport to Tibet is an excellent reference. These slopes witnessed the full fury of the war in 1962. The Chinese troops came down the ‘Bailey Trail’ almost till Sela pass, which is why the area was closed to civilians for many years.
Sikkim shares a mountainous border with Nepal in the west and north and with China only in the north. All the early (pre-war) expeditions went through Sikkim to cross over to Tibet on their way to Everest. Francis Young husbands famous expedition to Tibet expedition also went through Sikkim.
Doug Freshfield was one of the first mountaineers to visit this area. His book Round Kangchenjunga is a classic record of all the peaks in Sikkim. In west Sikkim, peaks like Kabru (7338 m) were climbed in 1935 by C.R. Cook. Others like Kokthang and Rathong were climbed much later. Even now, many have not been climbed from the Sikkim side, e.g.: Talung.
Northern Sikkim consists of the Zemu glacier valley from which rises the third highest mountain of the world, Kangchenjunga. Paul Bauer and his German team repeatedly attempted to climb it via its western approaches before the Second World War. Ultimately the Indian Army team was successful in doing so, in 1977 and there have been several subsequent repeats. There are many peaks around Kangchenjunga, like Simvu and Siniolchu, which are tempting, open invitation to climbers.
Further north is Pyramid Peak, climbed by the Himalayan Association of Japan (HAJ) in 1993. In the vicinity are peaks like Jongsang and Chorten Nyima. Pauhunri with the pinnacle of Donkhya Ri upon it, is one of the chief attractions on the eastern side. There is a lot climbers can do in the Sikkim Himalaya.
Here are some of our favourite destinations if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re after some serious adventure travel.
Assam: Underrated and not nearly as appreciated as it should be Assam is one of our favourite offbeat destinations for adventure travel in India. The mighty Brahmaputra that flows through the state will let you raft his playful rapids and camp on his river banks under starry skies and by gurgling waters. Majuli Island, the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest river island, will let you explore her cultural and natural secrets and the friendly faces of the Assamese people will leave you with warmth in your heart and wanting to come back for more to this state of many charms.
Spiritually dubbed as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dev BhoomiÃ¢â‚¬Â, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Land of GodsÃ¢â‚¬Â, Uttarakhand is a true paradise for nature and adventure enthusiasts. Curvy Himalayan slopes offer electrifying track for trekkers and campers across the globe. People from all parts of the world throng in this Northern state of India to enjoy trekking and other adventure sports. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mystifying treks, especially in the Garhwal region, which lies in the North West part of Himalayas, are simply majestic. Some of those mind-blowing treks are:
Chandrashila Trek: It ranks amongst one of the most demanding and enigmatic treks in the Garhwal Himalayan region. The fun of trekking here simply spruces up during the snowfall season. View of various Himalayan peaks, such as Trishul, Kedar Peak, Nandadevi, Chaukhamba, would make you feel as if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re sitting in the mid of a sea of mountains.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=155
Roopkund Trek: Roopkund is a remote glacial lake nestled in the lap of Jurghati Dhar. This mysterious lake becomes centerpiece at festive times when folks from the villages bring their presiding deity to it.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=50
Valley of Flowers Trek: This is virtually a fairyland busting with swarms of vibrant and vivid wild Himalayan flowers. The park is popular world-over for its stretched fields of alpine flowers and alluring natural beauty. The snow-capped peaks including Nilgiri Parbat (6474 m) stand in bold relief against the skyline.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=52
Dodital Trek: Filled with Golden Trout, Dodital is a beautiful Himalayan lake carrying crystal clear waters. Surrounded with lush green meadows and high Himalaya views, this wonderful site is a real visual treat for nature lovers.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/category.asp?CatID=12
Nag Tibba Trek: An intriguing trek that offers a good trekking option during winter when most of the high altitude treks become out of bound due to heavy snowfall in higher reaches of Himalayas. The trek is studded with typical Garhwali villages and beautiful temples.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=47
Kedarnath Trek: This trek is part of the ancient pilgrims’ trail from Gangotri to Kedarnath in the tradition of vamvrata yatra that begins from Yamunotri and ends at Badrinath , after the paying of respects at the Gangotri and Kedarnath shrines.
For more details:Ã‚Â http://www.shikhar.com/package.asp?PackID=44
Shikhar Eco Foundation has clubbed hands with the Forest Department, WWF India and the Agora village community to clean up Dodital Lake and trek route and discard the non-biodegradable litter left by the end of the tourist season before snowfall. Along the same line, we carried out an intense four-day expedition running from 7th to 11th November 2010. During this drive twenty-five sacks of non-biodegradable garbage was brought to Sangamchatti for recycling purposes. This is the first time concerted efforts to clean up the Dodital lake was carried out with such a vigor.
A team led by Rajbeer Rana, Senior Manager and Passang Sherpa, instructor adventure Department, Shikhar Travels with support from Dr Sanjeev Sharma, Senior Project Officer WWF India (Himachal Pradesh) and Man Singh Panwar, Kamal Singh, Suman and thirteen other village youths from Agora village cleaned the Dodital lake and trek route to dispose off the non-biodegradable litter. Twenty-five sacks full of non-biodegradable waste were brought on six mules hired for this purpose. Fifteen sacks were collected from around the Dodital lake, five from the camping site at Majhi and rest from Bebra and Agora village. The refuse included all sorts of non-biodegradable stuffs, like glass bottles, mineral water bottles, tin cans, polythene and Gutkha packets. The material has already sent to Sangamchatti where it will undergo recycling processes.
The best part of the entire exercise was the involvement of village community into it. This was made possible because of the efforts from Capt. Swadesh Kumar, who during the ATOAI meet in Dehradun two years back, advocated for the inclusion of a villager for encouraging Rural Tourism. Capt. Kumar, the CMD of Shikhar Travels, runs Shikhar Nature Resort at Uttarkashi. He chose Agora, the first Rural Tourism village in Uttarakhand to be funded by Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India for this initiative. However, he went a step further and laid the foundations of Shikar Eco-Foundation. Under this, we had already organized a two-day hospitality-training course for as many as twenty-one youths from Agora, and Of those twenty-one, eleven were lodge owners.
Incidentally, the purpose of Shikhar Eco-Foundation is multidimensional. In addition to keeping the environment clean and green, Capt Kumar also has vision for job creation in the tourism industry. In order to achieve the same, Shikhar Eco-Foundation is also working to ensure jobs for at least twenty youths from Agora before the next tourist season sets off.