Diving down from the breathtaking heights of over hundred metres from the regal Himalayas spring up opportunities both for joy riders and business minds, as the rural youth count their ‘money’ entrepreneurs seem to give the business of adventure a leg up, reports MOHD MUSTAQUIM
If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.” These words of American actress Drew Barrymore are enough to coax the adventure lovers across the world for experiencing something unique and beautiful in his/her life. As the scintillating adventure experience also can be serene and pristine, an adventurer to capture the moments and yes, landscapes like rivers, youthful Himalayas, lush green valleys add to the tourists and adventure lovers’ romance with nature.
SEIZING THE MOMENT
Uttarakhand, the newborn Himalayan state of India has numerous adventure sport destinations in its kitty. Rishikesh, which was earlier popularly known for its river rafting in the chilling waves of the great Ganges, has now become a destination for extreme sports such as Bungy Jumping, Giant Swing and Flying Fox.
River rafting alone attracts thousands of tourists across the nation. People here feel the virgin and holy waters of the great river enlivening the life of hundreds of millions in the country. The new additions in adventure sports like Jumpin Heights are located at the Mohan Chatti village on the Neelkanth Road, 13 Kms from the town.
Jumpin Heights gives an experience of jumping from the world’s second highest platform, that measures 83 metres. Its height magnetises adventure lovers across the globe. The overseas tourists find the place economical than in New Zealand, which has the highest jumping platform with a height of 200 metres. The operating company has Kiwi trainers to train the people willing to experience the extreme sports. Moreover, the company also has a platform for Flying Fox on the height of 120 metres and one can dive freely from there leaning with a tight rope. The facilitating company also provides their videos to the jumpers, which one can keep in their library.
CATCHING THE SNOW
Solang village, located in the Solang Valley, almost 14 Kms north to the resort town Manali on the way to Rohtang Pass, is popular for winter as well as summer sports. During the winters, the valley gets abundance of snow. Different kinds of snow sports attract numerous domestic as well as tourists and adventure lovers from Europe and other parts of the world. The valley is also known as adventure valley in the region, narrating how locals are involved in adventure entrepreneurship.
Ski Himalayas, having Franch Gondolas, trains skiers and runs ski and snowboarding competitions, mountain climbing, mountain biking, its managing director, Amitabh Sharma while explaining his iteneries says “This is one of its kinds of concept in Solang, we at the moment have come up at an elevation of 3000 meters above of sea level. This is a place which has abundance of snow and is liked by skiers from all over the world. It is the one stop shop for all kinds of adventure activities, including paragliding, skiing, zorbing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, camping, trekking, river rafting and orienting.”
Yet another hot spot for adventure tourism, Gulmarg, requiring no introduction, located at the paradise on the earth, Kashmir Valley, hosts all kinds of ski activities and paragliding. The legendry beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar, makes it is one of the premier ski resort in the country. The deep powdery snow makes it a visual treat for the visitors. Auli (Uttarakhand), a close cousin of Gulmarg provides a similar bunch of joy and excitement to visitors from different parts of the world.
GRABBING THE EYEBALLS
‘Botanix Adventure Camp’ seems to cozy up in the foothills of Aravali Hills on the edge of Damdama Lake, located along the Delhi-Alwar highway, 45 km from Delhi. The 30 acre global green park offers series of theme gardens and the marvels of nature. One can breathe free, de-stress, talk to the trees and also can commune with the butterflies.
Hot air ballooning, parasailing, rock climbing, cycling, trekking and camping are the possible adventure activities, which can be experienced here.
Arunachal Pradesh, the eastern state of the country is one of the most unexplored regions of the great Himalayas. The green belt is botanically very rich which has enormous trekking opportunities. Se La Pass and Margherita are the major trekking routes of the state. In the recent years, many new trekking routes have been opened which attract the trekking enthusiasts form all over the country. However, the state provides plethora of options for trekking zones that include tribal village trek, Siang Valley trek, High Valley Trekking Expedition, Talley Valley Trekking Expedition and others.
Apart from trekking, river rafting is one of the biggest activity happens in the rivers of the state. Brahmaputra offers 10 days rafting journey through dense forests and tribal habitations. The tributaries of Brahmaputra such as Lohit and Subansari also offer expeditions.
Besides this, the nation has enormous potential for adventure sports which attract domestic as well as international tourists. Sharma further elaborates, “India is making its way into adventure sports in a big way. With the vertical limits of Himalayas, we are venturing on to the world map for international adventure sports. Everyone rooting for the Himalayas. Thus, we have everything to offer. In short, we have adventure of heights, waters and the skies on offer. We are trying to create a race arena so that participants are able to improve their standard of skiing and represent India in course
FILLING THE WALLET
Most of the adventure activities are happening in small centres or in the villages; it certainly provides business avenues to the local entrepreneurs as well as generating employment for the local folks.
If one visits to the Jumpin Heights, he has to board on a bus from Rishikesh, the booking office of the firm. The bus ferrys him to the jumping site, Mohan Chatti village, along the way few local villagers board the bus for the same destination. In fact they are the crew members of Jumpin Heights, who run the entire system. The local villagers are deeply involved in the functioning of adventure activities here.
In a similar vein, river rafting is run by the locals, through which they earn their bread and butter. They are also involved in providing shelters and arrange for their comforts- thus giving boost to the hospitality business in the region.
For visitors in the Solang Valley in Himachal Pradesh, the best place for staying is Manali. Here as well all arrangements are taken care of by the locals giving a thumbs up to job and earning opportunities.
A tourist has to pay Rs 1000 for getting experience of paragliding and Rs 600 for zorbing, all these activities and food courts are offered by the villagers of neighbouring areas. Exciting and adventure moments are captured by the locals through stilled and video and sold to the visitors at economical rates.
Furthermore, the peninsula along with the large coastline attest to the great potential for adventure sports. If explored properly, it can generate huge entrepreneurial avenues both for the business and individual rural youth.