Bored with regular travel? Want to do something different? Try the various adventure sports opportunities offered by these select states that made it to the nominations of the Outlook Traveller Awards 2015.
Winner of Outlook Traveller Awards 2015 in the category for states offering the best adventure tourism options, Himachal Pradesh has something for everyone, round the year. Relaxed day treks to river rafting, para-gliding, skiing including heli-skiing, rock climbing, mountain cycling – the list is endless. There are training sessions for amateurs and beginners too for the various sports - Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali; an Adventure Sports Hostel at Dharamsala (Kangra), an Aero Sports Complex at Bir, etc. For more details, see www.himachaltourism.gov.in/.
Jammu & Kashmir
Two most popular treks in Jammu and Kashmir, to Vaishno Devi and to Amarnath, are often seen as pilgrim journeys but they are not any less adventurous. Besides, the district of Ladakh adds a unique dimension to the state’s appeal as a place for adventure tourism. From trekking to mountain climbing, rafting to skiing, there are lots of options. For more details, see www.jktourism.org. Northern Escapes will be holding the Manali-Khardungla Cycling Championship 2015 between July 25 and August 4; details: http://www.northernescapes.in/.
Karnataka offers opportunities for both hill and coastal trekking. Soon after the monsoon, the green hills of the Western Ghats are ideal for exploring. Go for the coastal Golden Trek from Karwar to Gokarna. Ashram Surf Retreat (www.surfingindia.net/) near Mangalore offers activities such as surfing, stand-up paddle, kayaking, body-boarding, wake-boarding, etc. Netrani Island is known for snorkelling. Jungle Lodges and Resorts’ (www.junglelodges.com/) Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature Camp on the Cauvery River is excellent for a family adventure outing.
If you thought all caves are same, try venturing into those located in Meghalaya’s Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills (www.megtourism.gov.in). There are over 150 known caves, of which the more popular ones in Siju, Mawsmai, Mawsynram and Syndai contain stalactites and stalagmites, dramatic flowstones, vaulting chambers, etc. Krem Liat Prah in the Jaintia hills is said to be the longest natural cave in India. Caving is a relatively new sport in India and amateurs must be well-prepared. Meghalaya’s terrain is also good for hiking and trekking. The Sohra River is a place to try out your river canyoning skills. For a relaxed and family outing, one can try the various water sports facilities at Umiyam Lake (sailing, water-skiing, canoeing, etc).
Despite its size, the tiny state of Sikkim packs a real punch where adventure tourism is concerned. Trekking and rafting are two of the most popular activities. Between March and May, one can go on the Rhododendron Trail to enjoy the spring flowers. You can also enjoy para gliding and mountain biking. May to October is the ideal season for climbing Sikkim’s alpine peaks. Rafting is held on the rivers Teesta and Rangit, which have rapids of various strength. For more details, see www.sikkimtourism.gov.in/ and www.sikkimstdc.com/. Foreigners require Restricted Area Permit to visit Sikkim
Uttarakhand is one state whose adventure tourism potential never needed any publicity, thanks to the mountaineers and pilgrims who have been visiting the Himalayan ranges since eons. Today, it is one of the major destinations for adventure tourism. From climbing the many peaks to skiing at Auli to sailing in Nainital Lake to river rafting along the Ganga, there are plenty of opportunities to suit everyone’s liking and level of skill. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam also offers rafting and skiing courses of various durations (www.gmvnl.com/newgmvn/). The Kumaon region has many trekking options (www.kmvn.gov.in). Besides, to recover from the deadly floods and landslides that resulted from a cloudburst in 2013, the state tourism is trying to promote new avenues of adventure tourism. For example, the 44-sq-km Tehri Lake and its adjoining areas are being developed for adventure sports such as sailing, jet-skiing, paragliding, etc. It is expected to be functional from summer, 2015.