India’s vast geographical diversity a wealth of outdoor adventure, All tastes are catered for -from the gentlest to the fast-paced, and there is something for every level of competence-the beginning and the expert. Not only does India have an immense variety of outdoor thrills, but prices here are extremely low by international standards.
In summer the focus is on the mountains in the northern boarder states. Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh all lie in the lap of the great Himalayan range. The trekking season in the first three states roughly spans from may to mid-October. The right period for Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is from October to December.
The majority of trekking trails in India are well outside the ‘inner line’ and hence did not require permits. In the rare event that a trekker wishes to cross the inner line, prior permission must be obtained.
Trekking is a popular sport in these states and equipment can be easily hired. These include kerosene stoves, carry-on mats, tents, and personal items such as waterproof jackets. Would-be trekkers need only bring trekking boots, sun screen lotion and a camera in addition to specialized equipment, if required. Hiring of ponies, poters, guides and cooks can readily be arranged at the starting point of the trek.
Also in focus all through summer is river running in precisely those states which offer trekking. However, the most popular stretch for this sport is on the Ganga near Rishikesh. Here again, specialized agencies offer guides, trained personnel and the hire of equipment that includes inflatable rats and crash helmets, camping arrangements range from the modest to the luxurious and are included in the services provided.
The advantages of making arrangements through an agency that specializes in river running are manifold. It completely obviates the necessity of carrying bulky equipment to India; routes are well-planned and grades of difficulty for the river are precisely marked. The best season for river rafting is from April to September.
Kashmir in the summer offers a series of soft adventure sports in famed settings. Water skiing on Srinagar’s Dal and Nagin Lakes is a popular pastime. Equipment can be hired along with a motor and driver. For the novice, instructors provide guidance. Water trekking is calculated to delight anyone wanting to explore valley of Kashmir in a boat.
A gondoal, known locally as a shikara, takes sightseers on a five-day route along rivers and lakes. Nights are spent in tents in convenient camping sites along the way. Trout fishing is a delight in kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The fishing season lasts all through summer. Rods and reels can easily be hired, and flies purchased wherever fishing is possible-‘catch and release’ being the norm for nature care.
Winter sports are centered sroung Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, Skiing usually starts by the end of December and lasts till the end of March. Gulmarg in Kashmir, Auli in Uttar Pradesh, and Narkanda and Manali in Himachal Pradesh are transformed into multitudes of snowy ski slopes of a variety of gradients, Each of these places is services by ski lifts, and equipment is always available on hire.
Skiing has become a prime attraction in recent years because India provides the cheapest ski holiday anywhere in the world. Complete beginners are given individual or group coaching and have a variety of gentle slopes with short ski runs to choose from. On the other hand, there is much for the advanced skiers as well. Gulmarg’s gondola cable car provides an exhilarating run of several thousand feet of steep slopes.
Heli skiing in Manali and Kashmir Valley provides an enormous variety of ski runs and routes as complicated or as straightforward as the individual can tackle. A helicopter takes a group of advanced skiers up onto any one of Nemours peaks that surround the resort from where they make their descent.
For six months of the year between October and March, India’s coastline, thousands of miles long, provides perfect beach holidays. These range from secluded, seldom-visited beaches ideal for those wanting a quit holiday, to internationally renowned resorts, complete with several luxury resorts to choose from, and yet others where the accent is one water sports.
Each of India’s coastal states, Gujarat, Maharashtra. Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa have a choice of beaches. Those in Goa are all popular, any offering luxury resort hotels on the beach itself, wind surfing and yachting often being part of the resort’s facilities. Gopalpur-on-Sea in Orissa, Chorwad and Ahmedpur Mandvi in Gujarat are but two examples of relativity quit beaches. Lakshadweep offers excellent wings surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving in the crystal clear waters of the lagoons which surround each island.
The desert state of Rajasthan offers an exotic counter with the outdoors in the form of camel safaris. The thar desert in western Rajasthan is the locale for an age-old adventure. Camels-one per rider-are used as a unique form o sightseeing which can last one day, leaving early morning and returning by nightfall. Camel safaris can be undertaken over a period of several days in which case camping equipment is necessary.
Whatever the duration, agencies in Jaisalmer organize trips to wind-sculpted san dunes, ornate Jain temples and tiny village in the middle of wilderness. Charges include the hiring of a guide (Absolutely necessary), and camping equipment. Camel safaris are commonly organized in the relativity cooler months of winter.