It was as if gods wanted to keep an eye out for the men and women seeking adventure in the rough mountains and speedy rivers. No wonder Uttarakhand, also called Dev Bhoomi (the land of gods), is also an extremely popular destination for adventure sports. This Himalayan state has a lot of offer to everyone – right form hardcore adventurers to first timers taking baby-steps up a hill.
Uttarakhand offers every kind of adventure-fix to people travelling here, and trust us when we say that no one has returned unsatisfied. Travellers have come back for more and this wanderlust has always been satisfied by the mighty Himalayan Mountains and the rivers flowing through it. Though most of the hilly regions become inaccessible during monsoon and winter months, it still is a hot destination for adventure tourism.
Pilgrimage – an adventure in itself
Every year, Uttarakhand welcomes lakhs of pilgrims and devotees who come here to visit shrines and temples of religious importance. They come from all parts of the country and the world to pay their respects at Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamnotri and thousands of other temples in Uttarakhand.
Apart from the temples at Haridwar and Rishikesh, almost all other temples are located deep into the Himalayan ranges. Reaching there requires a lot of physical effort on the part of the pilgrim, as it includes some kilometres of trekking through uneven terrain. People of all ages and physical fitness come and undertake the arduous treks to reach these temples located in stunning locations.
Even though porters and donkeys are there to assist you with the trek, but for an average Indian, carrying some bags and their own weight up the hills for hours for that glimpse of the almighty’s idol is an adventure in itself.
Adventure sports in Uttarakhand
Here is our attempt to write about adventure sports in two-three paragraphs when the truth is that an entire website would prove just about “not enough”. The possibilities of having that adrenaline rush one feels while indulging in adventure activities are countless.
Every mountain, every river and every jungle here in Uttarakhand offers immense opportunities to explore the adventure angle. Some not-to-be-missed adventure destinations are:
- Rafting in river Ganga: Counted among the major rivers of the world, the flow of Ganga in Uttarakhand is also perfect for white-water rafting. Ganga is formed at Devprayag where rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi combine forces. Rishikesh is a hot favourite among those interested in rafting but there are some off beat destinations too, like Chamoli and Nandprayag, that have good rapids for rafting.
- Beach fun: If there was a natural element that Uttarakhand doesn’t have, it is probably a sea-beach. However, the white sand beaches on the banks of Ganga more than make up for it. Activities like Kayaking, Body surfing, Cliff Jumping, Sky Ladder, Jumaring, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Abseiling etc can all be done at these beaches.
- Trekking: There are hundreds of trekking trails in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal and Kumaon region of varying degrees of difficulty which adventure junkies would absolutely love. Trekking involves crossing jungles and hills on foot coupled with some days of camping. There are trekking routes which are best suited for beginners while other vigorous ones are what seasoned trekkers look forward to. The local villagers have a lot of experience in terms of helping trekkers and many locals have trained as porters, guides and mountaineers. Some enchanting trekking trails include Valley of Flowers, Roopkund trek, Deoriatal, Chopta valley, Gangotri, Har ki Dun, Khatling Glacier, Panch Kedar Trek,
- Mountaineering: With almost 85% of the state consisting of hills and mountains, it is without doubt a heaven for mountaineers who wish to scale peaks for that exhilarating moment at the top of the world. Uttarakhand also boasts of a world-class mountaineering institute in Uttarkashi. Popular peaks include Nanda Devi (7816m), Trisul (7120m), Chaukhamba (7138m) and Kamet (7756m).
- Biking: Roam around and soak in the wilderness of the jungles and the untamed mountain roads on a bike. Bikers would love the challenges of the tricky roads while at the same time, get a chance to interact with the locals on the way. There are many cycling tours too which can be undertaken to experience the thrills of “pahadi raste”. Dehradun-Mussoorie, Foothills of Nainital, and places around Corbett National Park are some popular cycling routes.
- Other activities: While in Uttarakhand, do not miss out on para-gliding, jungle safaris, trips to wild life sanctuaries, paintball adventures, and rock climbing.
Cool dose of adventure during winters
The state gets its share of snowfall in the winter in the Himalayan villages and that is when it becomes a perfect stage for winter adventure. The slopes in Auli get visitors from all over the country who want to ski the ‘Alpine way’. These slopes are great for cross-country, slalom and downhill skiing events. Snow slopes at Kush Kalyani, Kedar Kantha Panwali, Munsiyari, Mundali, Natya, Bedni Buygal and Chiplakot are also great for skiing. Apart from skiing, snow trekking and scaling snow-capped peaks is also some great options if you want to experience snow-thrills without spending a fortune to go abroad for the same.