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Adventure Sports in India

India’s varied geographical features allow for a wide range of adventure sports. The possibilities are immense: Trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, river running, hang gliding, and skiing in the mountains. Water skiing, surfing, yachting, snorkeling, scuba diving along the vast coastline, camel and horse safaris through the desert and elephant safaris through the jungles. The tourist in search of adventures can have his pick.

The summer months are ideal for the mountains. Trekking in the lower Himalayas and climbing in the higher ranges are possible through May to mid-October. The month of July is avoidable in the Himachal and Uttaranchal. To climb any of the peak it is necessary to get clearances from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. A royalty is charged for every summit climbed. Every expedition has to be accompanied by a liaison officer. The popular summits with the mountaineers are-Num and Kun and the Zanskar range in Jammu and Kashmir. In Kishtawar there are numerous peak up to 6,500 metres that require technical climbing skills. In Himachal Pradesh the areas of Lahaul and Spiti as well as the Kullu valley have several peaks to climb. The Garhwal region in Uttaranchal and the Sikkim region are also open for trekking and mountain climbing.

The mountain rivers play host to river running. The 70 kilometre stretch from Deoprayag to Rishikesh on the river Ganga is the most popular venue for the relatively young sport. Several camps have come up along this stretch organizing trips on the river. The rapids have been graded. Seasoned rafters looking for a greater challenge can tackle the Alaknanda or Bhagirathi as they blast and swirl along their course. River rafting is also organized on the Indus and Zanskar rivers in Ladakh, Sutlej, Beas and Ravi in Himachal.

The upper Himalayan fast flowing clear water streams and high attitude lakes are excellent for trout fishing. Streams feeding the Beas river in Himachal are well known for the brown trout. Dodital Lake in the snow clad peaks in Uttaranchal is ideal for trout fishing. In South India the upper lakes of the Nilgiris Mountains are the best haunts for trout fishing.

Skiing is becoming a major winter sport. Gulmarg in Kashmir is the oldest ski resort in India. In Himachal Pradesh the popular ski areas are Solang and Narkanda. The Garhwal Himalayas now boast of a new resort –Auli. The skiing season is from late December to March. Annual championships and festivals are held in February and March.

And now there is a new mode of exploring the Himalayas-hang gliding and para gliding. Billing in Kangara valley in Himachal Pradesh has been the venue for hang gliding rallies offering excellent opportunities for flying. Kalahatty near Ooty in South India offers up and down and cross country routes in the Nilgiris.

India’s vast coastline provides excellent beach holiday destinations. Wind surfing, water skiing, yachting, snorkeling and scuba diving are offered in resorts like Goa, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Gujarat and Orissa. It is simple and inexpensive to hire the required equipment. Instructors can put you through the first few tentative steps. Ideal time are the winter months.

Professional camel, horse and elephant safaris are also organized through the deserts of Rajasthan and the jungles of Kerala. Again the time for these tours is winter.