Give routine activities a break; pump up the adrenaline this summer| Last Updated: May 9, 2012 at 12:39 PM
A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short. Bertrand Russel, British philosopher
It is summer again and the mountains beckon those who are looking for some thrill and adrenalin rush. India is a diverse country and like with everything else like textiles, cuisine, religion and culture, it offers a plethora of options for those wanting to sweat it out.
From the usual white water rafting and high altitude treks to new-age fancies like bouldering, India offers it all. Though some of the activities are limited to limited places, others can be enjoyed all across the country. With their easy reach, facilities and equipments at par with international level.
Travel.india.com lists four activities to do this summer. Read on…
White Water Rafting
White water rafting, though a sport, is not for the faint hearted. It means pitting your will and skill against nature as you negotiate the rapids, swiftly float along gorges and break into sparkling surf.
Several rivers, especially the ones originating in Himalayan Mountains are perfect for white water rafting. Upper reaches of Saryu and Kali Ganga in Uttarakhand, Sutlej near Shimla, Beas near Kullu, Ravi River near Chamba and Chandra in Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh provide the best river rafting experience.
Laddakh, which remains inaccessible for most part of the year, opens up during the summer months. Its rivers – Indus and Zanskar – offer the rafter great challenges as the river flows through deep gorges and water remains cold even in summer.
The Ganga, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers, Teesta and Rangit Rivers in Sikkim and the mighty Brahmaputra, which flows through Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, are the other popular white water rafting hot spots.
March-April-May and September-November are most appropriate for river rafting. Rivers in India offer good grades of rafting ranging from Class 1 to Class 3+. While the upper reaches of the rivers where the water flows down at great force and open only for professionals. The lower reaches, where the river flow becomes relatively calmer, are open to amateurs.
The expeditions are organised by experienced operators and the facilities are at par with best in the world. Some tour operators even provide tented accomodation on the banks of the rivers which heightens the river rafting experience.
It is the closest man would ever come to flying without the help of machines. Riding the thermals, soaring over mountains and valleys, gliding over tree tops and getting a bird’s eye view tof the landscape below; the experience can be provided only by aero sports like hang gliding, para sailing and paragliding.
Despite its risks, the sports are safe if practiced without violating safety guide rules. Hang gliding and paragliding can be practiced any time of the year except monsoons.
Solang Valley, Billing in Kangra district, Bundla Dhar near Bilaspur and Intkali in Pabbar valley near Rohru, Marhi and Fatru in Himachal Pradesh, Kamshet in Maharashtra, Kamakhya Hills and Haflong near Guwahati, Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Harwan near Srinagar and Baderwah near Jammu provide ideal conditions for aero sports.
Most of the sites generally provide two types of flights – tandem flights for inexperienced fliers and solo flights for professionals. In tandem flights, inexperienced fliers are accompanied by a pilot on the flight. It allows the flier to enjoy the flight while the pilot takes care of the maneuvering.
The months from February to June and September to November are the best seasons for aero sports. There are some restrictions on those who can enjoy paragliding. Only those above 15 years of age and weighing between 45 to 85 kg can paraglide.
“Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach.”
John Muir, naturalist and author
With the increase in temperature and consequent melting of ice, a trip to the Himalayas seems irresistible more than ever. The treks would not only guarantee an album of memories to cherish forever, the experience would also provide you with an opportunity to be one with nature and rediscover your spiritual side.
Trekking to Rupshu Valley trek, through Zanskar and Markha Valley in Ladakh, Manali to Chandratal via Hamta Pass in Himachal Pradesh, trek to Kanchenjunga Base Camp and from Yuksom to Goecha La in Sikkim are a must for trekkers.
Ladakh district, also known as Little Tibet, is a starkly beautiful high altitude region known for its gentle mountain ranges and scenic lakes. Part of Laddakh region, Zanskar lies south of the Indus valley and north of the Great Himalayan Range. Zanskar remains cut off from rest of the country for most parts of the year and can be reached only during summer. Entering the hallowed portals of Karsha and Phugtal monasteries is the best reward the trek can offer.
The trek to Kanchenjunga or Kanchenzonga right up to Goecha La Pass traverses through elevation of 5000 m and offers unmatched images of Kanchenjunga (8535 m), the third highest mountain in the world.
While some are easy treks, the trek to Kanchenjunga is a strenuous trek which involves high levels of physical fitness and endurance.
Bouldering is different from other activities listed. A style of rock climbing, bouldering is undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad. Typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms, it may also be practiced on larger rock faces.
Unlike in the West, bouldering in India is still nascent. Bouldering hot spots in India are Chhota Shigri, Chhota Dara, Kyara, Kalath, Vashisht, Chhatru and Miyaar valley in Himachal Pradesh, Hampi, Ramnakaram rocks and Badami in Karnataka and Borivali, CBD Belapur in Mumbai and Zanskar in Jammu and Kashmir.
This summer, opt one of the activities this summer and make it a memorable one. The experience will not only leave you with a trunk full of memories but also help discover a new side to yourself.
First Published: May 8, 2012 at 11:58 PM