Himachal has it all. rivers, lakes, forests, alpine meadows, treacherous passes, snow-peaked high mountains, spread-out valleys – simply ideal for a wide variety of adventure sports. Be it fishing for the mahseer, heli-skiing at sub-zero temperatures, ice-skating at a touristy hill station, teeing off in salubrious surroundings, feeling free as a bird on a glider, or simply cherishing the joy of camping on a meadow next to a stream – the outdoors person will not be found wanting in Himachal Pradesh.
No special training is required for most activities, age is no consideration, all you need is a reasonable level of fitness. Equipment, training and instructors are available. And then, all this comes at a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere in the world.
Himachal Pradesh, nestled in the great Himalayas of India, is one such spot where you will love to tread through the designated trek paths. Also, it is not that you need to be an experienced or professional trekkers to enjoy yourself here. The trek routes here vary a lot – from very gentle to rugged and very tough.
Rafting : –
There are four rivers in Himachal that offer opportunities to enjoy white water rafting. These rivers flow in the north westerly direction and are almost parallel to one another. The first of these, Beas has its genesis in the Rohtang Pass and flows through the Kullu valley.
Skiing : –
skiing areas in Himachal Pradesh include the Solang Nallah, Patalsu, Kothi, Marhi and Rohtang slopes. All these are the nearby areas of Manali and are considered extremely good for skiing. The Rohatnag Pass and Patalsu are the only slopes in the country where you can enjoy skiing in summer season. Solang Nallah also plays host to the National level ski competition.
Paragliding : –
Paragliding is a combination of hang gliding and parachuting. However, it is not parachuting altogether as many of you might think. The difference between the two lies in the fact that a paraglider is made of non porous sail cloth. Its cells are open in the front while at the back they are closed. Also, a paraglider is collapsible wing made of light weight space age material.
Camping is perhaps the best way to enjoy the natural outdoors of Himachal and being part of the life of its people. You can carry your own gear along or opt for any one of the several camps pitched in various parts of the state. These camps offer accommodation, catering and a variety of activities like hiking, fishing, nature-tours and rafting. Most of these offer quality facilities and services. Himachal Tourism operates camps at Sarchu in Lahaul besides built accommodation. Tents are available at Sangla and Kalpa in Kinnaur and at Kaza in Spiti. The Youth Hostel Association of India runs camps at Dalhousie (Chamba) and at Kullu-Manali. Camps run by the private sector are at Baspa (Sangla) valley and Kalpa in Kinnaur, at Tabo in Spiti, at Al Hilal (Taragarh) and Dharamsala in Kangra, at Shoja near Kullu and Mashobra and Baldian near Shimla. Adventure camps are also expected to be set-up in the Pabbar valley in the Jubbal – Hatkoti – Rohru area in Shimla district.
Mountaineering & Rock Climbing :-
Rock climbing is often seen as the basic stage for mountain climbing. It can also be treated as an independent sport, since it is climbing a rock face, using only hands and feet with a safety rope. The area around Manali, presently forms the core of mountaineering in Himachal. The Beas Kund region and lower reaches of the Hanuman Tibba (5930 m), the Manali and Shitidhar peaks around the source of river Beas and Deo Tibba (6001 m) (Kullu) area are suggested for amateurs. The Chandra Bhaga ranges, the Pir Panjal and Dhalaudhar ranges may be suitable for more experienced climbers. The Allied Sports Institute at Manali and its branch at Dharamsala (Kangra) conduct mountaineering tours. Courses are also available at the institute.
Gear yourself for high adventure with an expedition on cycles. You can pedal your way past high passes or simply make a day-adventure. Quite literally, the whole of Himachal is your playground. The tour can be coupled with camping and can be carried on for several weeks over diverse terrain. The lower regions of the state – Kangra, Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur offer gentle routes. Or you can stretch your mind, muscle and stamina to reach out to the trans-Himalyan tract of Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur. Milder but no less interesting excursions can be undertaken at any holiday station. For mountain biking in the higher regions, summer and autumn months are suggested.
Water Sports: –
The Maharana Pratap Sagar reservoir in Kangra with its 42 km length and 2 km breadth, offers a variety of activities in close collaboration with the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports. Year long activities include swimming, water-skiing, surfing, kayaking, rowing, canoeing and sailing. Three levels of courses are conducted – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Similar activities are also available on the waters of Gobind Sagar near Bilaspur, the Chamera lake near Dalhousie (Chamba) and the Pandoh lake on the Mandi-Kullu National Highway.
An angler’s paradise, Himachal has several spots for trout and mahaseer as well as other fish. Acclaimed as the best sport fish in the world, both brown and rainbow trout are to be found in Himachal`s streams.
Upstreams of Rohru in the Pabbar valley (Shimla), there are several spots ideal for fishing. Chirgaon has a trout hatchery and other sites are Seema, Mandil, Sandsu, Tikri and Dhamvari – all are within 5 to 25 km of Rohru (Shimla). Kinnaur`s Baspa river in the Sangla valley also holds trout. Fish also abounds in Uhl river near Barot. Good spots on this beat are Luhandi, Puran hatchery, Tikkar and Kamand.
The upper reaches of the river Beas in the Kullu valley and its side streams such as the Sarvari, Parbati, Sainj, Hurla and Tirthan, especially the areas around Aut, Patlikuhl, Katrain, Raison and Largi are excellent for the sport. These are all upstream of the Pandoh reservoir and are close to, or on the Mandi-Manali highway.