An Adventure Island in the Hills
Uttarakhand is gearing up to expand boundaries in adventure tourism; with big events like Adventure Summit 2020 in its kitty and a topography which provides sports avenues in gushing rivers, majestic mountains and rising skies, the state was never this ready to welcome adventure enthusiasts to its land. Even the annual Tehri festival’s focus for this year is adventure sports, with the introduction of paragliding, paramotoring, parasailing and scuba diving!
Nothing tests your determination to reach your goal post and patience to endure through the hardships like a trekking trip. Few of such treks available in the state are Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek, Har-ki-Doon Trek, Curzons’ Trek, Binsar Trek, Nagtibba Trek and Rishikesh Auli Kuari Pass Tapovan Trek. But the ones which are trekkers absolute delight are the Valley of Flowers Trek and Roopkund Trek. Situated in Chamoli and declared a World Heritage Site in 1982, Valley of Flowers is a smooth U-shaped valley which is also known as the playground for fairies and nymphs! The trek starts from Govindghat, 25 km from Badrinath, and goes through Bhyundar to Ghangaria, which serves as the base camp; Camping is not allowed in the valley since the trek is subject to strict ecological discipline. Roopkund trek tops the list of unexplored treks in Uttarakhand. Roopkund is (in)famous for the 300 human skeletons discovered in a lake at a height of 15,750 feet! The route gives a panoramic view of some famous peaks like Trishul, Nanda, Ghunti and Chaukhamba. Starting from Mundoli is a 13km trek to Wan, further 12 km trek to Bedni Bugyal, down to 9 km trek to Baggubasa and finally 12 km to Shail Samudra via Roopkund. July-August is the optimal time to head out.
If you want to conquer the skies, the best time to visit is from May to September. Places like Rishikesh, Musoorie, Ranikhet and Nainital provide you with options of paragliding at affordable packages and with the services soon to be available at Jawadi, Kund and Papdasu in Rudraprayag, this sport is only expanding its wings in the state! Other exciting options are hot air ballooning, air safari and flying fox, all in and around Rishikesh. Other ways of reaching the heights is climbing those rocks, and famous landmarks to provide these services are George Everest House (Musoorie), Buranskhanda (Dhanaulti) and Phool Chatti (Rishikesh).
When winter comes, can snowfall be far behind? And with it comes the adrenaline rush giving winter sports festival of Uttarakhand. Auli winter carnival and skiing festival is one such, where you pull up your warm socks and head out for skiing the slopes with state-of-art facilities available for both beginners and seasoned skiers. Skiing equipments are available on hire, but there are no restrictions to bring your own. Other places with similar opportunities are Dayara Bugyal, Mundali, Kedarkanta and Khushkalayan (Uttarkashi), Panwali and Matya (Tehri), Bedni Bugyal (Chamoli) and Chiplakot (Pithoragarh). Best season to head out is from December to March.
If Uttarakhand is the adventure state, Rishikesh would be its capital. Other than trekking, paragliding and water sports, it is also a major hub for adventure tourism, with garden variety of options available like rappelling, mountain biking, giant swing, camping, cliff jumping, zorbing, jumaring, paintball and the most famous in its portfolio, bungee jumping; you cannot not visit the oldest bungee jumping spot Mohan Chatti when are in the holy city.
Imagine testing your strength in the mighty and holiest river of India, the Ganga. Now experience your imagination getting true in Uttarakhand. With options like river rafting, kayaking, body surfing, canoeing and waterfall trekking, Rishikesh has emerged as the ultimate spot for water sports tourism. The best season for rafting is from October to April. Many wonder if river rafting in Rishikesh is safe, but if you follow the safety protocols, have your life jacket on and listen to your instructor, even a non-swimmer can enjoy the rapids, be it at Ganga in Garhwal or Kali in Kumaon.