Himachal Pradesh, the land of snow in North India, is the destination for intrepid adventure seekers. It lies between states of Punjab and Tibet, with its geography defined by mountains. The Mountain state of Himachal has some of the tallest mountain ranges, offering adventure activity options. Besides the snow covered it boasts of the splendid barren beauty of Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur and the lush valleys of Kangra and Kullu known for trekking routes.
If the hills fill your heart with the sound of music this is the state in which you can climb rocks, trek the high lonesome trails, scale mountains and ride the white water. When in HP, one must visit the rock cut shrines, colonial mansions and buddhist monasteries.
In Manali The Department of Mountaineering and Allied Sports advises on trekking and mountaineering options. This institute provides training facilities for basic and advanced climbing, both for Indian and foreign nationals. It also conducts rock climbing, skiing, heli-skiing and high altitude trekking courses.
The first stage to mountain climbing, rock climbing is constantly increasing its tribe of enthusiasts. Himachal's steepy rocky cliffs and mountain sides of Manali valley offer much to explore and conquer. Rock climbing uses a minimum of aids and the challenge is to find the toughest route and scale in the least possible time. Hands and feet do most of the work but safety equipment like ropes, body harness, friends (cramming devices that contract to the pulling of a trigger and are wedged in the crevices) and nuts (metal wedges of different sizes) are essential.
The availability of good climbing rocks not too far from the city gets greater access and participation from professions as well as amateurs alike. Bangalore is in the centre of a number of rock climbing destinations like Ramanagaram (the setting of the famous Hindi movie Sholay), Savandurga, Thurali, Kabbal, Raogodhu and others. Badami a 5 hour drive from Bangalore is also a good place for rock climbing. Kambakkam around 100kms from Chennai provides good climbing in any grades while Hampi in Karnataka has some of the best granite rocks in India providing the climbers ample opportunities to test their skills.
In a 300 kms radius adjoining Kolkata, there are some rock climbing destinations such as Purulia, Matha Bura, Jai Chandi and Susunia hills. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute offers courses in mountaineering at Gobu and Tenzing Norgay Rocks.
There are several good rock climbing destinations near Mumbai like Kanheri, Mumbra boulders, Manori rocks, Karnala and Matheran. In Gujarat Pavgadh is a favorite rock climbing destination. In Rajasthan the region around Mount Abu with the State Mountaineering Institute's training area. Golden HornSpire and Adhar Devi slabs are ideal rock climbing destinations.
In Maharashtra Karla caves dating back to 160 BC harbour the largest cluster of Chaitya caves. Their sheer rock faces provide an appropriate terrain for a rock climber. Another popular adventure spot is at Bhandardara. It has beautiful lakes surrounded by majestic hills. One can trek around the surrounding hills like Ratangarh a favorite fort of Shivaji. Kalsubai the highest peak in Maharashtra, the sprightly Randha falls or to Amriteshwar that has a 1200 year old temple.
North India offers some of the best and toughest challenges in rock climbing both for amateurs as well as for professionals. Lado sarai in Delhi, Dhauj (55 kms from Delhi) and Dam Dama lake (65 kms from Delhi)are some of the best known rock climbing destinations in this part of the country. In Himachal Pradesh, Manali Dharamshala and the adjoining areas provide some of the toughest and most exiting rock climbing options in the world. Professional climbers from all over the world come here to negotiate the rocks and to find new challenges.
There is nor restriction on rock climbing in India except for the places included in the restricted area list. Permits can be applied for through the Indian Embassy/Consulate/High Commission or the Foreigners Regional Registration Offices in major cities in India. The district administration of the concerned areas can also issue permits. Best time to visit is Mid May to Mid October.
Climbing in India - Precautions.
The type of rock you want to negotiate will depend on your skills, status as a climber and physical fitness. Consult the doctor to determine your physical condition and take proper medical precautions. High-altitude sickness is a common phenomenon among trekkers and mountaineers. If you are participating in high altitude rock climbing, make yourself aware of the symptoms and methods to deal with this problem. Proper mountaineering guidelines, high-altitude survival techniques and first-aid techniques should be known to most of the members.
If you are passionate about mountaineering then India is the place to be. It has a wide range of mountains to choose from - the Himalayas, the Aravallis, the Sahyadris, the Vidhyas and many more. The pulsating climbs are at Bhimashankar and others in Maharashtra, Satpura in Gujarat, Manali in Himachal Pradesh, the Beas Kund region and lower reaches of Hanuman Tibba. Shitidhar peaks around the source of the Beas river and the Deo Tibba are basic climbs. There are numerous peaks that are suitable only for die-hard climbers and also many unscaled peaks above 10,000 feet to conquer.
Uttaranchal is flanked by the Himalayas in the north that offer some of the most challenging mountaineering and trekking opportunities. The Hatu peak is easily accessible and offers panoramic views. It is a 7 km walk through dense jungles to the mountain top, a route not easily forgotten that is if Alpine, evergreen oaks, walnuts, yews, cedar trees, flowers, that bloom in the shade, butterflies with umpteen patterns, ferns and birds catch your imagination. The Best time to visit is Mid May to Mid October.
Hinachal Pradesh has been offering sites for hang gliding since 1984 when the International Hang Gliding Rally was organized at Billing, 20 kms from Palampur in Kangra district. In the month of May/June a tented colony is set up Himachal Tourism to facilitate hang gliders. There is also a Adventure Sports hostel at Dharamshala and an Aero Sports Complex at Bir.
Other excellent locations are at Kasauli, Dharamshala, Satara, Sinhgarh, Shimla, Pune, Kamshet, Mhow, Indore, Mysore, Ooty and Shillong. Hang gliding in Yumthang in North Sikkim and Jorethang in West Sikkim is available. The best time to visit is Mid May to Mid October.
There are splendid mountain biking opportunities in Himachal. The state offers great offbeat routes for cycling. culturally and ethnically the routes take visitors through great variations. In Manali the dominant people are Parabatyas. The Jot people and Lama Buddhists are culturally close to Tibetans. On the high plains one encounters Champas, who are semi nomads.
Bike over the highest road pass in the world. Here, there is a diversity of landscapes including the wild and barren moonscape of Ladakh, the lush pine forests of the Kullu valley, crunching glacial rivers, fragrant tea gardens and picturesque villages.
Good camps are found all along the routes. They are self sufficient and offer indoors and outdoor games options such as basketball and badminton. Mountain biking is being promoted in most parts of North and West Sikkim. Best time to visit is July to September.
A much safer adventure sport than mountain climbing. Anyone with normal fitness levels can participate in this activity. Though it sounds scary being a free fall where the rope hangs free not touching rocks or walls, the sport is not dangerous. It must of course be done under supervisions. It is said, if you can walk, you can rappel too. Karnataka, HP and Uttaranchal offer some interesting sites. The Best time to visit is Mid May to Mid October.
Famous for glaciers and snow capped mountains and winter festival, Solang Valley and deori Ghat provide just the right kind of slopes for paragliding during summer. A combination of hang gliding and parachuting, India has immense paragliding possibilities with the Himalayas in the north and the Sahayadri ranges on the west coast. These sites have conditions for both ridge, thermal soaring and ideal cross country routes almost all the year round, except during the monsoons. Distance world records have been set at international competitions held in India.
The gigantic Dhauldhar range extending for about 160 kms and rising to a height of approx 4000 m from the Kangra valley, provides an excellent launching pad for the thrilling sports of para and hang gliding. The Best time to visit is June to August.
This is the most organized and developed water sport in the country. It includes rafting, canoeing and kayaking. India's rafting stretches are mainly on the rivers Beas, Sutlej, Mahakali and Ganges of which the Ganges is considered the safest. River trips are organized in the Indian Himalayas from the Zanskar and Indus rivers in Ladakh, to the Brahmaputra and the Lohit rivers in Arunachal Pradesh. If you're lucky you might even catch the night rafting, when the runners raft by the light of the full moon that casts eerie shadows all over the flat Himalayan deserted land. In Sikkim, rafting is organized on the Teesta river. However the Teesta is definitely not for beginners and strictly for those who are looking for a little adventure in rafting. River rafting is also done on the Sutlej, Chenab and Tons. Kayaking is becoming increasingly popular in India and can be done on the Beas.
White water rafting expeditions in India are organized and managed by professional Indian teams who have trained abroad in some of the most difficult water stretches of the world. One such team recently won the prestigious Engadine Trophy at the international river rafting competition on the Inn river in Switzerland.
The Ganges affords some of the most spectacular river running in the country. Ideal for both paddle rafting and oar rafting , the river descends towards Rishikesh, passes under the Lakshman Jhoola and the run concludes at the dam beyond Rishikesh. The early stages of the Ganges offer the exhilarating Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi rivers. The Indus snaking through Ladakh and the Zanskar and the Chenab in Kashmir provide very different river running experiences. Rafting on the magnificent River Kali is also popular in the Western Ghats of North Eastern Karnataka. The programme is carefully designed and managed by rafting professionals. Safety aids such as PFD's (Personal floating devices) including life jackets and helmets are provided and are mandatory for all participating guests. Garhwal lying in the north western regions of Uttarakhand offers opportunities for canoeing and kayaking.
Sikkim tourism organizes package programs during October to November. On request it prepares tailor made itineraries too. Kayaking is undertaken on the Teesta and is arranged in groups. Some experience in kayaking is reqd. Permission is reqd from Sikkim Tourism for conducting rafting trips by private parties. Contact the Adventure Division. Sikkim Tourism or any other recognized travel agent for further information. The Best time to visit is October to May.
Winter is a time to bundle up in front of a roaring fire with a pot of hot coffee brewing on the stove. But only after you have been out enjoying the cold. About 13 kms from Manali, Solang valley has good skiing slopes equipped with an excellent lift, offering views of glaciers and snow capped mountain peaks. Kufri 16 kms away from Shimla offers skiing facility during the season. To appreciate the spectacular Himalayan ranges, Narkanda is an ideal retreat for those looking for some solitude in the mountains. It gives a unique view of the endless snow line, especially during winter when the slopes come alive with skiers.
With the first fall of snow, the highlands are transformed into a glittering winter wonderland. In winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's premier skiing resort. Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's premier skiing resort. Gulmarg has slopes varying between 8,700 and 10,500 ft with the highest ski runs in India. Meant only for beginners, Gulmarg ski-lifts and chair lifts provide basic utilitarian facilities with a simple linkup. In Gulmarg you'll be able to hire snowboots, mufflers, woollen socks, windproof jackets and caps. The longest ski run in Gulmarg is provided by the Gondola cable car which allows a ski run 2,213 m. Sledging on the frozen glaciers is also offered by the locals.
Pahalgam also provided facilities for skiing and work on an Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports is already underway. Skiing courses are conducted at Patnitop in the months of January and February. During the winter months, there are introductory courses for visitors/beginners at the gentle gradient slopes of Patnitop. At Madhotop (5 kms of Patnitop on Sanasar road), excellent possibilities for all kinds of skiing exist.
With their open spaces, above the snowline, the Garhwal and Kumaon hills of Uttaranchal offer a plethora of ski locales. For the avid skier, cross-country runs og 10-20 kms are now available with the added advantage height and spread, Garhwal and Kumaon, like other areas in the Himalayas, offer the thrills of exploratory long distance skiing. Winter skiing in Garhwal is now professionally conducted at the Auli slopes. The season is late December to early March, depending on snow conditions.
The easternmost hill district of Uttaranchal, bordering Nepal in the east and Tibet in the north, Pithoragarh is often called Miniature Kashmir. Nestled amongst the spectacular Kumaon Himalayas, at a height of 5412ft, in a small valley barely 5 kms long and 2 kms wide. Pithoragarh was an important centre of the Chand kings of Kumaon. Apart from the excellent skiing slopes, Pithoragarh and its environs are known for their natural beauty and fine temples.
Other ski locales in Garhwal include Dayara Bugyal and Kush Kalyan in district Uttarkashi, Panwal and Matya in district Tehri Garhwal, Mundali in district Dehradun and Bedni Budyal in Chamoli. In Kumaon, Khalia top in Munsiyari and Chiplakot valley in Pithoragarh are popular skiing locales.
has come to stay in India. It is practiced in the area bound by the Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani pass near Manali. A major feature is the compactness of the heli-skiing area. A sortie of 10 minscan carry the skiers to the top of a 14,000 foot high slope. Heli Skiing in Manali, Auli and Gulmarg provides an enormous variety of ski runs, and routes as complicated or as straightforward as the individual can tackle. A helicopter takes a group to the numerous peaks that surround the resort from where they make their descent. The best time to visit is December to January.
Virgin, unexplored treks await the trekker through fruit laden orchards, forests of pine and cedar, gurgling streams, sacred temples, rocky gorges, imposing passes and soft music from flutes of village Shepard. Kullu Manali region along with Lahaul and Spiti areas, offer the best soft, medium and hard trekking opportunities. Some popular treks in the Kullu-Manali valley include raison/Manali-BhriguRohtang Pass-Manali/Manali-Chhika-Hamta Pass-Manali/Raison-Padri-Khauli/Pass-Garsa-Raison/Manali-Chandratal-Manali.
The Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand too are nature's finest expressions of a land blessed with natural beauty and a trekker's paradise. Trekkers in Sikkim are spell bound by the profusion of plants and flowers. A variety of over 4,000 species of plants including magnolias, rhododendrons, junipers, blue poppies, gentians and primulas make a pretty posy of memories of a trekking holiday. One of the unique features of the Sikkim Himalayas is the splendor of numerous mountain lake flowers in a riot of colours beyond 10,000ft a feast to the eyeof the trekker. One may chance upon the shy musk deer or wave to the exotic Red Panda perched among the tree tops. By the time, you have covered the last lap of your trek you will be familiar with the hospitality of the Sikkimese and the deep rootedness of their religion and culture.
A detailed trek itinerary can be made with the help of Sikkim tourism, Adventure Division, Gangtok or any recognized travel agent in Sikkim. Trekker huts along trek routes are available at Pemayangtse, Khechopalri, Yuksam, TsokhaDzongri, Thangsing, Zemathang, Chaurigang and Tashiding. A 11 day relatively leisurely trek that is spiritually elevating in Pemayangtse-Sangacholing-Khecheopalri-Dubdi-Sinon-Tashiding-Ralang.
Plenty of trekking routes have been opened in the Darjeeling area to savour the breathtaking beauty of the eastern Himalayas. This was the home of late Tenzing Norgay and has since 1954 housed the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute where he trained a generation of mountaineers. The earliest Everest expeditions started journey from the Darjeeling area. The trekking adventure culminates at Sandakphu - a summit at an altitude of 3,658 m(12,000 ft) on the famous Singalila ridge.
Various forts in the Sahyadris also provide a good base for trekking activities. Forts around Pune include Sinhgad, Lohagad, Visapur, Shivneri, Purandar and Rajgad. Pratapgarh near Mahabaleshwar, Panhala near Kolhapur, Torna near Bhor, Rajmachi near Lonavala, Harishchandragad, Maholi in the Kasara hill range and Mathera via Garbet Point are other exiciting options. There are various clubs and private institutions whcih organise trekking expeditions on a regular basis to the above mentioned forts. Best time to visit is Mid May to Mid October.
Frozen River Zanskar trek
A challenging and exicting trek over the frozen river Zanskar is the only access to the isolated capital of Zanskar (Padum), during the harsh winter period. This dramatic and challenging trek begins with the few days sightseeing in the Tibetan influenced Kingdon of Ladakh. The trek is on the frozen river with night stops at villages and natural caves. The best time to visit is Mid January to Mid February.
Himachal Pradesh with its rivers and their numerous tributaries is an anglers paradise. katla, rohu, trout and mahaseer are the found in the river Beas and its tributaries, Tirthan, Parwati and Gadsa in Kullu, Lambadag in Mandi and Pabbar in Shimla, mahaseer fish is found in the Kangra district at Dehra, Gopipur and the Pong dam. Trout is found in Pabbar river in the Shimla district, Baspa river in Sangla valley and river Sainj in Kullu valley.
Licenses for fishing in waters in Kullu are available with the District Fisheries Officer in Kullu or Manali. For fishing in Uhl and Pabbar, licenses can be procured from the respective fisheries. For Mahaseer fishing, licenses are available from the Fisheries Office at Dehra, Dhameta, Jwali, Haripur, Dadasiba and Barbali at Palampur (all places in Kangra). Fishing for mahaseer is allowed with all type of baits including live baits.
About 82 kms from Mysore is the Cauvery Fishing camp at Bhimeshwari, a paradise for anglers with mahseers found in abundance. This place is alos accessible from Bangalore (100 kms). The best time to visit is March to April and October to November.
Himachal has a number of natural hot water springs mainly in Sutlej and Beas rivers. Hot springs have become quite popular in Himchal Pradesh for their medicinal properties. Familiar names include Jeori, 180 kms from Sheila, Karol and Manichean in the Kullu district. A host of monasteries sorrounded by tea gardens and an amphitheatre of low hills is an ideal landing ground for hang/para gliders. In Lahaul, the Guru Chantal Monastery has a wooden structure with pyramidal roofs and interesting wood carvings. There is a large Tibetan community here.
Visit tha Dalai Lama's residence in Mcleodganj, a major centre of Tibetan culture, 6 kms from Dharamshala, McLeodganj is a charming Tibetan settlement with bustling bazaars that sell carpets, handicrafts and delicious Tibetan food. A giant prayer wheel ornaments the main street, and in the monastery, a serene statue of Lord Buddha presides over the gentle chanting of the monks.
McLeodganj has a school of Tibetan studies with rare manuscripts and ancient texts, the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts and a Handicrafts centre. The districts of Lahaul and Spiti are home to some of the most famous Buddhist monasteries - 'Sherlang', Durang, Chamba Chibbo, Domlang Gompa. The 10th century Tabo monastery is home to more than 60 lamas as well as a large number of scriptures, pieces of art, wall paintings-tankhas and stucco. Erected around 900 A.D Kardang is the largest gompa situated in the village Kardang the 15,000 ft high Rangeh Peak in Lahaul. Its library contains the largest collection of thankas.
Camp on a solitary oasis, experience the dark starry nights and dance to musicians playing haunting music. Camel safaris are the ideal way to spend time exploring rustic Rajasthan. A camel safari moves through the golden sands of the savage Thar desert passing through remote villages. Pioneered by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) in Jaisalmer, there are now many companies offfering the safaris. The fortified cities of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner are the best areas for camel safaris. The adventerous can take an entire trail combining Shekhawati, Pushkar and Biakner.
Riding a camel can take getting used to, similar to the first time trying to sit crosskneed. Camel rides are not like elephants rides where one sits back comfortably and let the animal do the rest. Be prepared for sore ankles and knees. It will be better to try one day safari before getting on to anything major. The camel carts are fully equipped and visitors need not bother about comfort in the desert. One can ride or walk along leisurely with the safari and enjoy the desertscape. Camel safaris can be tailored to suit the needs of every traveller from a few hours to a week. The safaris are also available in Gujarat. The best time to visit is Mid September to Mid March.
Tiger Safaris offers a full experience of Indian wildlife through India's famous national parks like Bandhavgarh, Sariska, Corbett, Kanha and Ranthambore. The Periyar Tiger trail, is an exciting trekking programme through the deep forests in the Periyar river valley, near Thekkady tourist in Idukki district Kerala. Led by a small team of experienced guides who have quit their former jobs as poachers, hike into cool green forests abd out again into vast, sunny meadows. One can see an astounding array of wildlife including elephants, sambar deer, birds like the brilliant blue kingfisher and the great pied hornbill, and more than 100 species of butterflies. Best time to visit is Mid November to Mid March.
Yak safari is organised from Dzongri onwards by Sikkim Tourism or recognised Sikkim travel agencies on prior booking. A 2 day yak safari can be done while trekking from Yuksam situated 5,800ft above sea level to Dzongri at 13,800 ft. All along the route one is amazed and spell bound by the spectacular mountain scenes.
Either take a yak or trek along the spine of the Singelila range to the 4572 m high Dui-la the pass of the Devil. The route with no habitation, follows the ancient grazing trail of the yak herdsmen, lakes, glacial valleys, gurgling streams, cascades, chiselled snow peaks, meadows, forests, ehododenderons, wildlife, birds and breathtaking views of 6000 to 8000 m high peaks of Kanchenjunga, and the Mount Everest group. This is an experience unique to Sikkim.
Relieve the good old days of the sahibs and shikaris by trying an elephant safari. Elephants might seem like huge, intidating beasts but they are quite gentle really and one can soon get used to the swaying motion of the elphant's gait. Travel through the hills and wide river valleys of the Corbett National park, named after the famous hunter turned conservationalist, Jim Corbett. Wild boar and herds of deer browse the vegetation in this scenic reserve, a convenient prey for the game park's leopards and tigers. Elephant safaris are popular in the various wildlife sanctuaries scattered all over India and in the forest lands of Kerala. It is the best was to see wildlife from close quarters.
These are gaining in popularity and are offered in Rajasthan. Conditions are similar to camel safaris with grooms (and often the horse owner) accompanying the tour. The trails chosen usually enable tourists to visit small villages, old forts and temples. Horse safaris move across a variety of terrain and vegetation including scrub covered arid plains to forested hills. Night stays are often in comfortable palaces, forts and havelis. Ride through bred and half bred, Indian bred Marwari and Kathiawari horses which are retired from racing. The average distance covered daily is 20-35 kms. Accomodation is in deluxe tents with seperate baths and toilets. The saddlery is English. Best time is November to March.
Anokhi the Jaipur polo and equestrian academy is located amongst the picturesque sorroundings of the Anokhi village, 5 kms from the airport. Ride along numerous trails that lead to a colourful countryside. Shikarbadi near Udaipur was once the hunting lodge of the Royal Family of Mewarr. Today, it is a well equipped resort with a number of modern amenities. There is also a special tented village, a small private lake, a deer park and the Imperial stud farm within the resort. It has some of the finest stables in the country. Its horse safaris present an ideal oppurtunity to travel the off beaten track. Aodhi serves as an ideal base for exploring the imposing Kumbhalgarh fort. Sorrounded by a thickly wooded forest, the ramparts stretch across 36 kms.
The horses of Ghanerao are pure bred Marwari, with dee seats and characterized by ears that meet at the tip forming a heart. In addition thoroughbreds and half-breeds, all from the Polo stables of the Maharana of Udaipur are also used.
A superb way to explore the Buddhist mountain kingdom of Ladakh and the remote and mysterious Nubra valley. Wide open spaces, wind across your face, breathtaking, bewitching scenery is what you see driving past different landscapes on mountain roads. A journey on the manali-Leh road, Manali-Rohtang pass evokes great emotions as one drives past the bleak desertscape of Ladakh and the Zanskar valley, through which passes the strategic Manali-Leh highway and the old Hindustan-Tibet road. The Zanskar valley is a particularly challenging area where even a casual visit to a monastery or a remote village settlement involves a rewarding safari. Driving past different landscapes, apple orchards, quaint villages and temples, the tribal districts where the landscape contrasts starkly with greenery seen earlier, the Great Himalayan jeep safari is an unmatched experience.
Jeep safaris are also offered in the verdant hills of Arunachal Pradesh and are popular across Rajasthan in winter. A jeep through Saurashtra takes one through 6 different habitats, the desert wilderness of the Little Rann of Kutch, the wetlands of Khaijadiya bird sanctuary, the decidous forests of Gir, the tropical thorn scrub forests of Hingolgadh sanctuary and the Savannah like grasslands of Velavadar National park. This little explored circuit offers glimpses of some of the rarest of wildlife species including the Asiatic lions and the Indian wild ass including the Asiatic lion and Indian wild ass which are not seen elsewhere in India. The best time to visit are Mid June to September.
Ballooning is a great way to see a city. New Delhi's Safdarjung airport provides some oppurtunities to float past the old monuments. One can also view the Taj Mahal from a balloon flight. Bookings have to be made in advance. Ballooning events are held annually in Rajasthan's three cities - Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
Two of India's most exicting national parks, Namdhapha and Kaziranga in the hill states of North east have always held a very special attraction for nature lovers. Walking, strictly restricted in most Indian Tiger Reserves, is encouraged in Namdhapha and is permitted in parts of Kaziranga, providing excellent viewing oppurtunities. Experiencing wildlife is especially good, but the main emphasis of this trip is the mosaic of tribal cultures one encounters. There are few trips are richly diversified as this one. The best time to visit is November to mid March.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
India offers unlimited possibilities to scuba diving buffs at affordable prices. The coral reefs and the pristine blue lagoons of Lakshwadeep and Andaman islands are the ideal locations to head for scuba diving. Facilities exist at the Andaman beach resort, Bay Island at Port Blair and the Bangaram beach resort in the Lakshadweep, which is some of the best diving spots in the world. Locadives located at the Kadmat Island Resort is the only diving school of its kind for beginners. Best time to visit is November to April.
Sailing and Windsurfing
The yearly Kingfisher Sea Bird race from Mumbai to Goa has become a major sailing event. The Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Colaba Sailing Club, Secunderabad Sailing Club and Chandigarh Sailing Club are the main centres when one can learn sailing. Windsurfing is now so popular that most good seaside resorts offer it. Winter months are best for ameteurs as the wild remains gentle. Pune has a number of picturesque lakes for windsurfing like Pawna, Panshet, Mulshi and Khandakvasla. Equipment is available at Khadakvasla lake. The lagoons at Lakshadweep are excellent for windsurfing.
Water Sports embody the spirit of adventure in Goa. Many beaches such as Dona Paula and Aguada Fort Beach have water sport activities. Dona Paula also offers various sports like jet-skiing, scuba diving and boating. Maharashtra Tourism along with various private clubs has introduced water sports at various lakes and the coastline, making aqua sports no longer the preserve of a privileged few. Panshet Aqua Sports centres located 40 kms near Pune has activities like boating, jet skiing, kayaking and windsurfing. Esselworld and the adjoining Water Kingdom at Gorai near Mumbai is an amusement park with roller coasters and water slides.
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