Adventure Travel In India
If Switzerland in the Alps is called the playground of Europe, then the mighty Himalayas is undoubtedly the Adventure playground of the world. Adventure, simply put, is anything out of the ordinary, anything off the beaten track. In the context of nature it could also be defined as venturing into the great outdoors and wilderness. According to pioneers in Adventure tourism In undertaking adventure activities, man realises and overcomes his deepest and innate fears and weaknesses. It is a humbling but satisfying experience.
Adventure tourism generally is referred to in the context of activities like trekking, climbing, white water sports, wilderness camping and safaris on camel back, in jeeps or in cycles. A country s topography and geological conditions, govern the choice and popularity of the activity. A good example to quote would be Nepal. A tiny country but because of its beautiful location in the midst of the Himalayas has made it a paradise for adventure sports like climbing and trekking.
Trekking in India is comparable to and often surpasses the best in the world. Trekking in the Indian Himalayas offer incredible variety with shorts walks in low altitude alpine meadows to 20 day hikes over some of the highest passes in the world. The varied topography adds to this beauty. The high altitude plateau of Ladakh, the alpine meadows of Himachal, Kashmir and Sikkim, the rugged and rocky terrain of Garhwal all add up to provide an un-imaginable variety for the trekker to choose from. Adventure companies small and big alike have mushroomed all over the Himalayan belt offering a variety of treks and services to choose from. Today one can confidently choose a trip from the internet and find professional operators to look after all travel arrangements from hotel, transport, flights and camping arrangements.
Jeep safaris across the Himalayas often follow the traditional trade routes between India and Tibet. Driving over this spectacular terrain and crossing over the highest motorable passes in the world, never ceases to amaze. Self drive and chauffer driven tours across the high altitude deserts of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh provide for an enchanting and spiritual experience far superior than even the legendary Karakoram Highway in Pakistan and Tibet. These routes have been recognized and appreciated by international rally drivers and off road enthusiasts alike. In 2000 Isuzu Motors organized the world famous Isuzu Challenge Off Road expedition in India. The organizers imported 18 Isuzu 4 WD jeeps and picks ups specially for the rally and were given special permits visit the Pangong Tso Lake and the Hanle Monastery along the Indo Tibetan border.
Skiing for both beginners and the professionals is plentiful on the slopes of Manali, Gulmarg and Auli. The natural and virgin ski slopes offer the best of Alpine, Mountain and Helicopter Skiing. Skiing as such requires extensive infrastructure in terms of lifts, cable cars and lodges. Lack of funds has made the process of development very slow. However mountain skiing trips are conducted on an expedition basis on mountains like Trisul and Kedar Dome. Even Helicopter Skiing is fast gaining in popularity near Manali.
India therefore offers the keen adventurer with a fascinating range of areas and activities to choose from. In this increasingly environment conscious world, adventure sports and eco tours will be the boom of the 21st century.