If you are an adventure sports fan and are looking for action-packed holidays, then get your adrenaline going with any of these trips to some far flung destinations: a trek into the higher reaches of the Himalayas, scuba diving in the emerald waters of the Andamans, gliding up in the air, or an exposure to the tribal lifestyle in the north east. All that and more. Keep reading and get inspired to take the road less travelled!
Take the High Road between Manali and Leh
Make the two-day tough drive in a jeep from Manali to Leh or vice versa and drive through the most scenic mountainsides in the Himalayas. But beware this trip is not for the lily-livered: the road has many twists and turns and is very narrow at places with 21 loops at one point! At a height 17,500 ft, the Taglang La pass is the second highest motorable pass in the world. It's a once in a life time trip and the road is open only in the season from mid June to early October. Carry your warm clothes as it does get cold and brace yourself for the most exciting road trip ahead.
Access to Manali is through Kullu if you are going by air or a bus straight from Delhi to Manali. If starting the journey in Leh there are regular flights from Delhi to Leh in the summer months. Plenty of accommodation options exist in Manali and Leh.
River Rafting Thrills and Spills on the Ganges, Uttarakhand
Get ready for an adrenaline rush: go white water rafting down the Alakananda and Bhagirathi rivers that join up to form the Ganges and flows all the way from up in the Himalayas to the plains of Uttar Pradesh. The rivers snake down between forest-clad mountains and makes turns and twists that provide a thrill to the rafter. Feel the spray on your face as your raft rushes down rapids that go up to Class V. Negotiating the run from Rudraprayag to Rishikesh is for the more experienced rafter and if you are a beginner try the Kaudiyala-Shivpuri-Rishikesh one.
Access is from Rishikesh or Haridwar. Take a taxi or bus up to either Rudraprayag (6 hours from Rishikesh) or to Kaudiyala( 2 hours from Rishikesh). There are many camps that provide accommodation along the banks at Shivpuri and Rudraprayag and the GMVN also has facilities at these places.
ki the Slopes in Solang, Himachal Pradesh
Solang maybe a tiny little village in Himachal Pradesh, but the skiing is big here! Granted they are not the slopes of Switzerland, but nonetheless the ski slopes at Solang offer ski enthusiasts a run for their money. Go cross country skiing or snowboarding - options are plenty and the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Services (DMAS) is where you can hire ski equipment and take lessons. There are introductory slopes as well as moderate ones and even a ski lift that works intermittently to get you to the take off point. Don't let that deter you as this is arguably a spectacular ski area and the best time to go is between January and March when the powdery snow is just right for skiing.
Access to Solang is through Manali town which is 13kms away. So base yourself there or at the very basic accommodation provided by the DMAS in Solang.
Climb a Rock in Himachal Pradesh
Hitherto only a small band of the adventurous kind were into rock climbing, but recently rock climbing has caught on and this is one more sport for the person looking for some thrills. Though there are quite a few good rock faces to conquer all over India in Mount Abu, Uttarakhand and the Aravalli hills near Delhi, the toughest and best ones are in the Manali and Dharamshala regions. Test your skills and strength on these rocks.
Access to Manali is via a Volvo bus from Delhi or a flight to Kullu and a short drive to Manali thereafter. To get to Dharamshala, there are buses from Delhi and also a flight that operates from Delhi, though it is seasonal.
Both Dharmshala and Manali have no dearth of accommodation to suit any budget.
Scuba diving in the Andaman Islands
Renowned for its fabulous beaches, it is no surprise that Havelock in the Andaman Islands is a scuba diver's paradise! The sparklingly clear, unpolluted waters are home to exotic marine life like stingrays, manta rays, glassfish and angel fish amongst others. Surrounded by the most beautiful coral reefs, the Havelock islands is a soon becoming a Mecca for scuba divers looking for virgin waters. Besides the diving, one can snorkel and also go kayaking through the mangroves or explore the forests on the island.
Access to Havelock is through Port Blair from where one can take a ferry ride to the island which lies . The best season for diving here is between December and April and the USP of these waters is the ambient temperature remains in the region of a comfortable 27 degrees centigrade with visibility going up to as much as 40 metres! The best diving sites are Barracuda City, Turtle Bay, Johnny's Gorge and South Button.