Among the seekers of thrill, Uttarakhand stands right at the top of adventure destinations in India. Owing to its towering Himalayan peaks, deep gorges and gurgling rivers, it offers some of the best opportunities to indulge in an array of adventure sports activities.
Owing to the unique topographical variety and natural abundance, Uttarakhand is one of the most popular adventure holiday destinations in India. Here you can try your hands at a number of adventure sports activities like paragliding, skiing, white-water rafting, mountaineering and trekking.
In recent times, bungee jumping, zip flying and cable car rides have become the new rage among thrill-seekers. Mentioned below are some of the adrenaline-pumping activities for those looking forward to the thrill of adventure sports in Uttarakhand.
Trekking: Footloose in Himalayas
With some of the most spectacular Himalayan peaks and mountain trails varying from easy to tough grade, Uttarakhand is one of the most popular trekking destinations in India among the adventure seekers. Trekking in Uttarakhand Himalayas is also popular as it is as much an adventure as it is a spiritual experience.
Undulating valleys sprinkled with lush forest, cascading water streams and snow capped peaks that are reached through thrilling yet enchanting trails is what makes trekking in Uttarakhand one of the most popular adventure activities in India.
The World Heritage trail of Valley of Flowers combined with spiritual Hemkund Sahib is popular during monsoon. While the snow laden Nag Tibba summit is famous during winters, there all-season treks to Deoriatal – Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila. In fact, there is no dearth of trekking routes in Uttarakhand for those looking forward to adventure combined with bliss.
Popular trek routes: Bedni Bugyal, Kauri Pass, Har ki Dun, Deoriatal-Chandrashila, Dodital, Roop Kund, Hem Kund – Valley of Flowers and Kedarkantha.
Paragliding: Flight of Fantasy
Flying has always been an obsession since time immemorial be it the Icarus whose wing failed in flight to the Wright brothers who finally did managed the first modern flight by human. Experience the thrill of flying along with eagle eye view of the lush surrounding and mountainscape as the adrenaline rush takes over as you paraglide in Uttarakhand.
No wonder soaring high like an eagle is an obsession among the adventure enthusiasts. Although not one of the most popular places for paragliding in India, Uttarakhand offers ample ops for paragliding for those seeking the thrill of flying.
The best thing about paragliding in Uttarakhand is that you don’t require prior knowledge of paragliding as tandem paragliding flights are offered by trained experts at Mukteswar and Ranikhet, 2 most popular places for paragliding in Uttarakhand.
Skiing: Glide over Snow
Skiing requires a flood of passion and energy to slide over vast expanses of snow. The almost perfect snow line and mountains-cape in Auli in Uttrakahand makes it one of the finest skiing destinations in India. Take of the wonderful challenge of gliding down the mountain or take of classes to master the art of skiing. The classes are offered by GMVN Uttarakhand that span across 7-14 days.
White Water Rafting: The Rush of Adrenaline
Perhaps the most popular adventure sports in India – be it the youth or even families nowadays – is white water rafting in the gushing rapids of Ganges and Tons river in Uttarakhand. Whereas the white water rafting and camping near rapids from Shivpuri to Rishikesh have become the most popular weekend getaways activities of denizens of Delhi, visitors and thrill seekers from around the globe head to Uttarakhand for river rafting in India. Recently white water rafting is also gaining popularity in the rapids of Tons river near Mori.
Camping: Back to Nature
Camping – especially for a city person – is an experience that is not just enlightening but a mentally and spiritually uplifting experience and a way to reclaim your ‘self’. It’s like going back to nature and set oneself adrift surrounded by wilderness and tranquility of nature only to rediscover oneself.
Away from the din of the city and from the technologies like mobile & cell phones, camping lets you escape the crutches of hectic city life and observe things and attain perspectives in a new improved way. It also lets you appreciate Mother Nature and see and appreciate the beauty of outdoors.
With its dense jungles, lush bugyals and alpine lake, Uttarakhand tucks some of the finest natural camping sites in its bosom. Be it the magical Deoria Tal with its densely forested surrounding and panoramic view of more than 5 Himalayan peaks or the lush meadows of Chopta dotted with pine, deodar and rhododendron forest flanked by towering Himalayas, there are some out of the world and magical places in Uttarakhand that makes it one of the top destinations for camping in India.
Yet another top place for camping in India is Rishikesh. It is especially popular for family holidays in India. Rafting, hiking, temple visits and nature walks along with camping by the sandy beaches of Ganges.
Popular camping destinations: Kanatal, Dhanaulti, Deoria Tal, Padamapuri, Chopta, Corbett National park, Sattal, Pangot, Binsar Sanctuary, Bhimtal, Rani Chori, Chokuri.
Elephant Safaris: Beauty & the Beast
Uttarakhand happens to be one of the best places for Elephant safaris in India. One could indulge in the adventure of these rides at either Corbett National Park near Ramgarh or Rajaji National Park near Haridwar. Riding atop the mighty beasts offers great vantage point to observe the beauty as well as spot wildlife up close. The elephant safaris at both of these national parks are available on first come first serve basis. Costs starts from INR 500 for Indians and INR 1500 for foreign visitors.
Best time to visit: December to February
Ideal for: Nature enthusiast, photographers
Bungee Jumping: The Gravitational Pull
Nothing pumps the adrenaline to the level as does the bungee jumping. Feel the blood rushing to your face and pounding of heart. Bungee jumping is – so to say – mother of all adventure sports.
One of the best places to go bungee jumping in India is Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. At 83 feet, Jumpin Heights – with jump masters from New Zealand – is India’s highest Bungy. With its abundant natural beauty, the bungee jumping in Rishikesh beats the experience of jump from tall crane or malls any day.
Zip-line Activities: The Flying Fox
Zip-line is yet another adventure sport activity that is gaining popularity among visitors from overseas. Uttarakhand with its suitable topography and remarkable natural beauty offers some of the best options.
The thrill of jump which will make you fly at speed of 140-160 kilometers per hour. It is a thrilling experience not to mention the sight of rolling hills, cascading waterstreams and dense forests. One of the best places for flying fox activities in Uttarakhand is once again Rishikesh where you could undertake tandem flying across the zip line spanning over the length of 1 kilometer with 2 companions to share the thrill.
Canoeing & Kayaking: Paddling the Rapids
Also referred to as the F1 of water paddling, kayaking and canoeing are 2 most sought after adventure activities in Uttarakhand, especially across the challenging rapids near Shivpuri and Rishikesh. Kayaking and Canoeing are often used synonymously but what differentiates Kayaking from Canoeing is that whereas Kayaking is an individual activity in a closed boat with single peddler rowing with double bladed paddle, canoeing could be done by 1 or more person.
Originated as paddle boat used by Eskimos for the purpose of fishing & hunting through
narrow and turbulent water channels, Kayaking in rapids these days has become a thrill seeking activity to negotiate the tumultuous rapids of Ganges in Uttarakhand.
The only catch however is that Kayaking and canoeing could not be undertaken by beginners to negotiate rapids. The prior experience or lessons are mandatory to undertake this adrenaline rushing activity. Read more about Kayaking in Rishikesh.
Popular sites: Rishikesh
Best Time to Go – Early March – Apri