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Adventure India: Sports, Travel, Tours

April 13th, 2010

adventure-sports-india.jpgAdventure sports in India are very popular and contribute hugely to travel and tourism bringing in enthusiasts from all over the world. From the great Himalayas to sea coasts, India has the perfect topography for all kinds of adrenaline-rush sports. Paragliding, hang gliding, trekking, river rafting, scuba diving, parasailing, bungee jumping, snow boarding, safaris – you name it and it is there. A number of trainers and agents organize individual and group tours for these sports.

One of the most popular adventure sports in India is river rafting and kayaking. There are quite a few places in the country where these tours are organized, the most popular of which are near major rivers such as the Ganges (or ‘Ganga’ as it is locally known) at Rishikesh, the Indus at Leh, the Beas at Kullu, and the Teesta at Sikkim. The challenge of fighting against and simultaneously working with the strongest rush of water gives you an adrenaline rush that has to be experienced to be known. You will bump over innumerable rapids and pass by villages, pastures, and fields nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. GoAdventureSports.com is a good site to look up river rafting in India.

Trekking is another popular sport attracting people from all over the world. The Himalayas offer all kinds of treks with easy, moderate, and difficult challenge levels. Apart from walking over the most beautiful hills, you also cut through villages that would make you wonder about their simplicity of life and lack of artificiality. If I were to begin to pen down here the number of treks available and organized in the region, I would probably exhaust the entire length of this article! The best place to begin searching for organized treks is YHAI (yhaindia.org). They take care of everything from accommodation to food to the trek safety. TrekkingInIndia.com is also a very good site for everything trekking in India.

Paragliding and hang gliding are offered in different places at different levels. Some would offer you tandem joy rides, others intensive training, depending on what you opt for. In either, the rush of glidiing through air is incomparable to anything but maybe the flight of an eagle. ParaGlidingInIndia.com is the perfect place to look for anything related to paragliding. R&R Aerosports (rnradv.com) is an established organizer of individual and group paragliding rides and courses.

With as many national parks and sanctuaries as India has, it is obvious that jungle safaris are a very important part of travel and tourism here. From lions and tigers to turtles and flamingoes, these parks and sanctuaries offer delights in the animal world. Corbett (tigers), Ranthambore (tigers), Bandhavgarh (white tigers), Sunderbans (tigers, crocodiles), Pin Valley (snow leopards), Bharatpur (a variety of birds), Gahirmatha (turtles), Kaziranga (rhinos and elephants), and Gir (lions) are some of the national parks and sanctuaries where you could spot quite a few wild animals. IndiaWildlifePortal.com and IndiaSafaris.com are useful sites for animal lovers.

India has a vast coastline. The seas have the most amazing variety of sea animals and waves. Scuba diving, deep sea diving, snorkeling, and parasailing are popular sports in the waters of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Goa, Kerala, the Andaman Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands are the most favored places for these sports. DiveIndia.com specializes in diving in the Andamans, and BarracudaDiving.com in Goa. IndianAdventurePortal.com is a helpful site for parasailing.

The great Thar Desert lying mainly in Rajasthan affords some of the most amazing desert safaris. Riding on camels through the sun on rolling sand dunes and resting under the star studded sky, the days are hot and the nights cool here. With the desert around, and forts, castles, and a colorful culture, you experience something completely different from anything else. Tour agents take care of everything you might need on the trip. TharDesertSafari.com is a specialized website dedicated to such excursions.

Snowboarding and skiing on the slopes of the Himalayas are other fantastic adventure sports that combine the skills of speed and control. Unexplored snow-covered valleys and peaks beckon to those who might listen. Auli in Uttarakhand, Kufri and Solang/Manali in Himachal Pradesh and Gulmarg in Kashmir are the most popular spots. IndianAdventurePortal.com and HimalayanAdventure.com offer individualized and group tours.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more sports and even more agents to organize them for you. All in all, India is a great adventure destination, and the best part of the deal is that any adventure sport you like can be combined with a leisure holiday. The last thing I would say is this – you have to be there to experience it.

This article was supplied by Nidhi Varma, who specializes in literature relating to travel and tourism in India.

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