Dare or die! Is what describes the adventure of India in the truest sense. India has been a destination for the all the adventure buffs since ages. The adventure sports here offer a break from the very obvious try out-shopping and sightseeing.
For all those who are ready to fight the tide can go for Rafting in India. The snow of the Himalayas melts down and flows fiercely in to the rivers, thereby proving to be perfect for the rafting lovers. Being one on one with the gush of the currents and the riotous waters gives the rafters an 'ultimate' experience.
Destinations - Ganga in Uttaranchal, Teesta in Sikkim, Beas in Himachal Pradesh, Kaveri –in Karnataka and Braham Putra in Assam
The highest mountain range on earth – the Himalayas – forms 3500km (2200 miles) of India’s northern and eastern frontiers. The spectacle of the snow- capped peaks, glaciers, pine-forested slopes, rivers and lush meadows of wild flowers cannot be equaled. Peninsular India offers natural beauty of another kind, clothed in green woodland and fragrant orchards. While trekking one comes to behold the scenic beauty of the mountain apart from the general ruggedness that one encounters. Trekkers also enjoy the day camping, cooking food by the fire and gazing at the stars from the tent roof at night. The trekking season varies from region to region. In general, it runs from April to June and September to November.
Destinations - Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Ladakh, Darjeeling and Karnataka
Out of 8,600 Bird Species (about 30,000 if subspecies or geographical races are taken into account) the Indian subcontinent affords suitable living conditions for more than 2,400 Birds (Species and subspecies) of which, over 300 are winter visitors. The winter visitors are chiefly from Arctic region to the North. India thus offers unparalleled opportunities for watching a large number of bird species in their natural habitat. Even a cursory glance at the Indian countryside will reveal roughly 150 very common species, ranging from the ubiquitous House Sparrow and Indian Mynah to such birds as the Red-vented Bulbul, Black Drongo and White-breasted Kingfisher. Common raptors include Black and Brahminy Kites, Honey Buzzard, Shikra and Egyptian Vulture. Water birds also offer quite a spectacle, especially in the winter, when the migratory waders arrive. Common resident species are White-breasted Waterhen, Indian Moorhen and Black-winged Stilt.
The best time for birding is the months between October and April as, in addition to the variety of resident species, migratory waterfowl, raptors, starlings & other passerines and a host of other species are also to be seen all around the Indian countryside.
Destinations - The Kumarakom and Thattekad Bird Sanctuaries in Kerala, The Great Himalayan National Park, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary in Haryana, Jim Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary in the west are some of the best places to indulge in Birding in India.
The Himalayas, a dream for any mountaineer and the most cherished mountain system in the world that also is the home to the highest peak on the planet runs from the extreme north of the country and extends all the way up to the eastern most state, Arunachal Pradesh. The biggest adventure playground in the world - the Himalaya provides ample opportunities for the adventure enthusiast from all over the world to try their luck and immortalize their names by climbing some of the toughest and highest peaks. With more than 100 peaks above 6000 mtrs (some of them yet unclimbed) the Himalaya promises every climber their share of adventure, which lures them to the mountains.
Destinations - Mountaineering experience is at its best when done in Manali, Ladakh or Sikkim.
Rock climbing in India can be an enriching experience- quite apart from the exhilarating experience of climbing on virgin solid granite. In India, as in the other parts of the world, it started off as training for mountaineering. Some of the areas are superb and can easily be compared to some world class climbing areas. The climbing areas usually being close to interesting historical sites and unique monuments can provide a pleasant distraction.
The availability of good climbing rocks not too far from the city gets greater access and participation from professionals as well as from the amateurs alike.
Destinations - Ramanagaram (the setting for the Hindi blockbuster Sholay), Savandurga, Thuralli, Kabbal, Raogodhu, Badami in Karnataka, Kambakkam, around 100 kms from Chennai, Hampi in Karnataka, Kanheri, Mumbra Boulders, Manori Rocks Karnala and Matheran in Maharashtra, Pavagadh in Gujarat, Dhauj in Haryana, Uttarkashi, Areas around Nainital and Mukteshwar in Uttaranchal and Gangotri Gorge 400 km. north of Delhi. In a 300 kms radius adjoining Kolkata, there are some climbing destinations such as Purulia, Matha Bura, Jai C Chandi and Susunia hills. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute offers courses in mountaineering at Gobu and Tenzing Norgay Rocks.
Camel safaris can be taken in the Thar desert and range from one to 15 days’ duration; an ideal way to visit this fascinating region. Riding on a camel's back is always exciting and a unique thing to try out when in India. The Thar Desert of Rajasthan and other places around like Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner grants the tourists with a great opportunity to enjoy the camel safari. If a tourist is well timed and happens to embark a visit to Rajasthan during the Pushkar or Nagaur fair, he can enjoy special camel safaris that are organized at this time.
Destinations – Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ladakh
Wildlife treasure that India boasts of is of unmatched kind. The immense heritage of wildlife in India comprises of more than 70 national parks and about 400 wildlife sanctuaries including the bird sanctuaries. Watching the booming wildlife in India has always been viewed as an activity of great pleasure. The experience of spotting all your favorite wild creatures in their natural habitat, is unmatched. Most of the wildlife parks in India avail the facilities of wildlife watching and bird watching on jeeps, elephants and other vehicles as desired by the tourists.
India has its fair share of Tiger Reserves. India’s National Animal, the tiger happens to be a symbol of strength and speed. India boasts of two-dozen Tiger Reserves. The Royal Bengal tiger is amongst the most majestic species of the tiger. Sixty percent of the total population of the wild tigers in the world resides in India. Amongst the best-known tiger reserves in India is the Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. It is often referred to as the crown in the wildlife heritage of India. Tourists at Bandhavgarh can spot Royal Bengal Tigers, cheetals, leopard, gaur, sambhar, and many more faunal species.
Destinations - Spread across the length and breadth of India, these reserves and forest areas, right from the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan to the Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary in Bihar, from the foothills of Himalayas, the Jim Corbett National Park to six national parks in Andaman; the Indian Wildlife circuit is an Incredible treat, unmatched by any other experience.
Elephant rides provide an amazing way to get close to Indian wildlife. Many of India’s national parks have their own working elephants, which can be hired for safaris into areas that are inaccessible to jeeps and walkers. You might even find yourself just metres from a snarling Bengal tiger. As well as being a childhood dream for most travellers, elephant rides are much less disturbing to wildlife than noisy jeeps.
Destinations - Bihar & Jharkhand Elephant safaris tour, Goa Elephant rides go through spice plantations near Ponda, Karnataka Elephant safaris go to India’s largest elephant reserve at Bandipur National Park near Mysore, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Neyyar Dam Sanctuary near Trivandrum. Panna National Park, Pench Tiger Reserve, Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park, Kaziranga National Park. Rajasthan Elephant rides go to the hilltop fort in Amber. Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) Tigers are spotted on elephant rides inCorbett Tiger Reserve and Rajaji National Park.
Tours to tribal areas are permitted in several parts of India, providing a fascinating window onto the traditional way of life of India’s Adivasis (tribal people). Some tours are quite exploitative but better tours employ tribal guides and try to minimise the effect of tourism on tribal people.
Destinations - Andhra Pradesh Tribal tours go to Adivasi communities around Visakhapatnam, Gujarat Stay with tribal Halepotra people in Gujarat’s Shaam- e-Sarhad Rural Resort near Bhuj. Jammu & Kashmir Travel agents in Leh can arrange tours and treks to tribal areas. Kerala Tours to Mannakudy tribal areas of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. There are tribal tours with the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board in Raipur and Jagdalpur and the Tola Trekking Club in Pachmarhi. You can arrange tours of fascinating tribal districts in the northeast states in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Kohima, Aizawl and Bomdila. There are tours of Bishnoi tribal villages from Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Uttarakhand Visits to Gujjar buffalo herders in Rajaji National Park.
Hot Air Ballooning
For about one hour, take a hot air balloon flight that will offer you breathtaking views of the countryside that will make you see Rajasthan from a completely new perspective. Skywaltz offers a 1 hour balloon ride over the beautiful locales of Jaipur, Udaipur, Neemrana and Delhi.
White Water Kayaking
Most licensed outfitters can organise an introductory course on White Water Kayaking at their riverside camps on the Ganges. Rishikesh is your best bet if you want to learn with good instructors and good equipment as majority of the knowledge base in the white water scenarios is concentrated in Rishikesh and nearby reaches of 40 odd Kilometers upstream on the Ganges.Still water Kayaking in lakes - Many a lakes in Kumaon Region are well suited for Lake Kayaking.
House boat Cruises
Be it a ride on a Shikara or on a large Kettuvalom – the special feeling one feels is of the same degree. The experience of an untold type has made the houseboat cruises in India so very popular. The houseboats are like mini houses equipped with the needed facilities. In Kerala houseboat cruises are an ideal way to explore the Arabian sea and the Vembanad lake. Cruising on a shikara in the Dal Lake of Kashmir gives an individual the opportunity to listen to what the shimmering water has to say.
Destinations – Kerala, Kashmir
One of the great Indian sports is cricket. Interest in the game reaches almost fever pitch, particularly during the winter test season when the country’s national team is in action in all the major cities. Club matches can also be seen in almost every town.
Enthusiasts will find many courses open to visitors throughout India; enquire at major hotels for details of temporary membership. Calcutta Amateur Golf Championships attract large numbers of serious golfers in the east. Gulmarg and Srinagar have good courses and hold tournaments in the spring and autumn, with Gulmarg enjoying the reputation of being the highest golf course in the world. The course at Shillong is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful in the world.
Wellness & Spa
Indian Ayurveda and Spa packages are growing in popularity due to the rise in awareness about the goodness of natural herbal therapy benefits of scientifically-tested principles that this ancient treatment rests on, on a global level. Everything Indian is chic and exotic these days and experiencing the whole Indian Wellness Holiday package, as presented by budget tour operators in India, enables foreign tourists to unwind during a hectic business trip or savor the delights of hydrotherapy with other proven relaxation techniques at a fraction of the cost such a package would entail in Europe or elsewhere! Research shows that the cost is lower by an average of 40 to 60%, when compared to the US or UK.
Indian Ayurveda and Spa therapy centers are now focusing more on the needs of international travelers as well as those of indigenous origin; thus most top Indian Spas are now offering a wider variety of lifestyle management, de-stress, anti-aging and rejuvenation program aimed at satisfying both foreign and local tourists, including offering corporate Spa specials that involved meditation and relaxation therapy apart from team building exercises and fitness sessions for optimum performance in the corporate world. The option of combining or extending your chosen wellness holiday package and the many new and varied concept tourism in India opportunities further boost the growing demand for single day-spa and massage treatments as well as the more intensive, week or month-long wellness tours India offers.
Destinations – Ayurvedic therapy in Kerala, Water spas in Goa, Bio Resurge Clinic in Alila in Goa, Soukya Holistic Health Centre in Bangalore, Ananda Spa in The Himalayas, Kalari Kovilakom in Kerala and many more
Many places in India offer classes and courses in various types of yoga, oftenwith meditation classes on the side. The most common yoga forms are hatha (following the shatkarma, or purification, system of postures and meditation), ashtanga (following the ‘eight limbs’ system of postures and meditation), pranayama (controlled yogic breathing) and Iyengar (a variation of ashtanga yoga using physical aids for advanced postures).
Destinations – Almost everywhere in India you can find yoga teachers and courses being offered. Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune, BKS Iyengar Institute and Yoga Institute in Mumbai are some of them.