The Ultimate Travel Destination Checklist For Sports-Lovers In India
Endowed with a varied topography and diverse natural beauty, India is the perfect country for adventure-sports. The towering Himalayas in the north and the pristine waters in the south, the labyrinth of caves in the east and the sand dunes in the west, and the rocky peaks in the centre – there is a sense of thrill and adventure in the air anywhere you go in this country! Craving for a heart-stopping dose of adrenaline rush? Explore these options in India for the best adventure holidays without spending big bucks!
1. Paragliding at Bir, Himachal Pradesh
A place that hosted the first-ever World Cup of Paragliding in 2015, Bir-Billing is a wonderful spot in Himachal Pradesh that lets you glide over the beautiful snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and green valleys of Himachal. Experience the meaning of the phrase ‘bird’s-eye-view’ while flying solo or in tandem, as you soak in the breathtaking vistas of the Dhauladar Range below.
Located in the Kangra district, the take-off site at Bir-Billing is located at a height of 8000 feet from sea level and is said to be the 2nd best place for paragliding in the world. With no prior training required, paragliding is one sport which people of all age groups can enjoy.
2. Scuba Diving at the Andaman Islands
Dive headlong into the sea of adventures at the Andaman Islands and experience the joy of swimming amidst beautiful coral reefs. The Andaman Islands feature a host of popular diving sites like the Cinque Island, Dixon’s Pinnacle, Havelock Island, and Fish Rock that allow you to take the plunge and explore the jagged rock formations, exclusive marine life, sunken ships, colourful corals, and the picturesque underwater world. November to mid-April is the best season to go scuba diving in Andaman. If you are not interested in scuba diving, then snorkelling is also quite a popular activity here.
3. Cliff Diving and Bungee Jumping at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
With a plethora of activities like Bungee Jumping and Cliff Diving on offer at Rishikesh, it is one the of most sought-after destination among adventure junkies in India. Located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh has the highest platform for Bungee Jumping in the country, standing at a height of 83 meters. Cliff diving is also one equally exciting experience for the adrenaline junkies visiting Rishikesh. In this activity, you just have to take a plunge from atop a cliff into the icy-cold water, without any harness!
4. Trekking and Biking at Ladakh, Jammu Kashmir
Boasting of a stunning barren and unpredictable landscape, Ladakh is full of snow-clad crags, high-altitude deserts, blue lakes, and glaciers. The treks in this mountainous region are extremely treacherous and definitely not for the faint-hearted – the trekkers have to battle altitude sickness, low levels of oxygen, erratic weather conditions, and extreme temperatures.
The frozen Zanskar River trek (Chandar Trek), The Stok Kangri (6153 meters), Snow Leopard (4100 meters), and Kang Yatse and Dso Jongo (5200 meters) treks are some of the extreme and difficult treks that are popular among adventure-lovers. Likewise, mountain biking at the Khardgung La pass, the highest motorable road in the world, is also a popular activity among adventure-junkies.
5. Skiing in Auli, Uttarakhand
Some of the finest snow-white ski slopes in the Himalayas can be found at Auli in the state of Uttarakhand. The best part about this skiing adventure is the magnificent view of the peaks like Nanda Devi, Dunagiri and Kamet that you are treated to while making your way down these slopes. The elevation here ranges between 2500-3050 meters and is a paradise for adventure sport-freaks.
6. Hiking in Himachal Pradesh
The stunning natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh and the presence of the ample number of valleys, mountain passes, and forests make it a popular hiking arena in India. From the mysterious Roopkund trek where your walk is accompanied by human skeletons to the snowy Hampta Pass trail, there are hikes of various difficulty levels passing through several topographies and landscapes that are suitable for people of all age groups and expertise levels.
Easier treks like Chandra Tal trek (4300m), Triund Trek (1100m), Bhrigu Lake trek (4270m), the Kheer Ganga trek (3000m) as well as challenging treks such as the Chobia Pass trek (5029m), Hanuman Tibba trek (5932m), the Sar Pass Trek (4220m), the Kinnaur-Kailash trek (5242m), the Pin Parvati Pass trek (5334m), and the Pin Bhabha Pass trek (4908m) make Himachal Pradesh a sought-after trekking destination.
7. Flying Fox in Kerala
Enjoy the magnificence of Kerala’s lush green plantations and untouched backwaters from high up in the air by participating in the Flying Fox activity in this southern state of India. Strap yourself up and zip down the long steel lines from one elevation to another. Also popularly known as ziplining, this sport is a popular adventure sport in Kerala.
8. Sky-Diving at Mysore, Karnataka
Haven’t we all fantasized about skydiving ever since we saw actors Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, and Hrithik Roshan do it in the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? While it is not practically possible for all of us to go to Spain for such an adventure, we can still fulfil that dream at Mysore in Karnataka. Experience the thrill of plummeting to the ground at a neck-break speed and let yourself loose! Embrace your fears and take the plunge and watch as a world of clouds flies past you as you make your way towards the green valleys below.
9. Spelunking in Meghalaya
Spelunking or caving is a relatively unknown sport in India. It is a one of its kind adventure sport that involves exploring remote caves and making your way through a nexus of caverns. The north-eastern state of Meghalaya is one of the best places to go spelunking in India owing to the presence of plenty of difficult to access caves nestled amidst forests and waterfalls.
Meghalaya houses some of the largest and deepest caves in the entire South Asia region like the Mawsmai Caves, Krem Liat Prah, Krem Mawmluh Cave and Bat Caves which are perfect to go caving. Do not forget to carry your safety gear while visiting these caves!
10. Dune Bashing in Jaisalmer
Dune bashing or desert safari is an activity of exploring the desert in an SUV. Drive into the sunset through the sea of golden sands of the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer to amp up the excitement quotient of your next Rajasthan trip. This exhilarating trip takes you along the pits and falls of the Sam Dunes and lets you experience the best of the Golden City.
11. Rock Climbing in the Satpuras, Madhya Pradesh
The Satpura mountain ranges of Madhya Pradesh are ideal for rock climbing sojourns due to the cracks in the sedimentary rocks that act as perfect fingerholds and footholds. Pachmarhi, Chanderi, Orchha Gwalior, and Jabalpur are few of the preferred spots in Madhya Pradesh that host good facilities of rock sports. Strap yourself up, flatten your body against the vertical face of the cliff and start making your way towards the peak!
Ready for the excitement and adventure? Pack your bags and off you go!