As the world opens up post-pandemic, people are moving towards restoring a sense of normalcy. It’s not easy going through a global epidemic where you spent months on end in lockdown. Those living away from home had to do it in total isolation as well and it definitely took a toll on some of us. A good way to slowly change that dynamic is to reconnect with nature, possibly even with a healthy jolt of adrenaline! Adventure sports are a great way to shake off the dust of the last three years and get in touch with yourself in an exhilarating and stimulating way.
India has some great spots for all kinds of adventure sports so we thought we’d curate a guide to some of the best ones.
I. Rock Climbing
There has been a renaissance of rock climbing development throughout the country, particularly in Karnataka. Hampi is a world-class destination for bouldering enthusiasts due to its seemingly endless hillsides that are covered in giant egg-shaped granite boulders. Badami is another relatively small village in the Bagalkot district. It’s surrounded by striking red sandstone cliffs that lend themselves to excellent sports climbing experiences. There are over 150 routes of varying difficulties set beside ancient stone cave temples in Badami. You can do it with Ganesha Waddar who is a professional rock climber. He has been guiding Indian and international climbers for a few years and will help you with the right techniques as well as all the equipment you need.
Find out more about Ganesha here.
With India’s massive coastline of over 4,000 miles, there are endless options for you if you want to explore surfing. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, there are Mahabalipuram, Covelong, Auroville, Kovalam and Varkala. Most of the year, these destinations are perfect for beginners and intermediates to thrash around in the waves. In general, the east coast has bigger waves than the west — consider the beaches at Visakhapatnam (Vizag) in Andhra Pradesh or Puri in Orissa. Experienced surfers will want to visit during the monsoon ( between June and October) when the waves get big enough for a good time.
The best option, however, is Mulki. This quaint town, 30 km from Mangalore, is spread across the banks of river Shambhavi and is a prominent landmark for being home to the first Indian surf club –– Mantra. You can stay at the Mantra Club, and enjoy a home-cooked meal while learning how to surf and ride the waves with their professional guides.
Find out more about the Mantra Club here.
India has some great paragliding spots like Manali, Kamshet in Maharashtra, Sanasar in Rajasthan, Gangtok, Panchgani, Rohtang La and Nandi Hills in Bangalore. In addition, Himachal Pradesh is an ethereal playground for paragliders with easy access and gorgeous rolling terrain. But if you had to choose just one place to start, the idyllic meadow launch point of Bir Billing above the village of Bir is perhaps the best. It has great take-off and landing spots, suitable air currents, and an ideal cloud base. There are professional operators to take you on a flight or you can get some training and even go solo once you’re relatively adept.
Find out more about Bir Billing here.
IV. Scuba Diving
When not snacking on fresh prawns, lobster, fish, and crabs flavoured with spices using traditional Tandoori preparations, you can strap on your scuba gear and actually observe these abundant sea creatures living in the vibrant coral landscapes in the waters surrounding the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Nemo Reef in Havelock Island ticks all our boxes for a perfect diving experience and is the best place to dive in the Andamans for both new and experienced divers alike. The rich marine life and abundant coral population near the place offer an engaging experience. The perfect blend of clear waters and low water currents also ensures that your dive is stress-free and safe.
The beach can be reached by road and has an extensive number of experienced PADI-certified scuba providers.
You can learn about courses and diving sessions here.
V. Mountain Biking
Try mountain biking if you are bored of your usual adventures. With vast ranges of hills and mountains across the country, mountain biking is perfect for thrill-seekers. There’s nothing that gets your adrenaline pumping quite like riding along rough terrain.
With its dry, rocky routes, high altitude and cold climate, Ladakh is one of the top mountain-biking destinations in the Indian Himalayas. Attracting adventure junkies all around the world, the region has many cycling routes and challenges for even the fittest and experienced bikers. You can ride through the rugged trails or along the rushing Indus and Zanskar Rivers or to some high mountain passes like Khardung La. Riding bicycles through these tiny and narrow passages with the wind in your hair alongside breathtaking landscapes will make the memory of a lifetime.
You can find out about biking routes and trails here.
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