Traveling to India is by itself an adventure and nothing prepares the first time traveler for the amazing range of languages, cultures, religions, and experiences–the ones you look for and the ones that find you! If you who want to step away from the usual tourist haunts and check out adventure tourism options available in India, here are some suggestions.
White Water Rafting – in India
The Garhwal and Kumaon hills situated at the foothills of the Himalayas provide some of the best white water rafting in India. These rapids are fed by the melting ice and snow through a network of mountain rivers from the Himalayas that tower above this region. Because of this, the best times to try these silvery rushing waters is during September-November and March-May. The waters here are graded and classified to cater to the both amateurs and professionals.
There are sandy beaches here at regular intervals and the slopes of the mountains are covered with oak, pine, spruce and fir trees. Some rafters would be lucky enough to spot some spotted deer, monkeys and even the occasional leopard.
For the spiritually inclined, you can also find many Ashrams (spiritual retreats) near the rivers.
The states of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Himachal Pradesh and the region of Garhwal have some of the best and well organized mountain climbing expeditions in India.
It is important to note that all foreign nationals will need permits for their expeditions, which may weeks or months to obtain from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF). Mountain climbing in J&K will also need special clearances and some regions might be restricted as this area borders Pakistan. All mountaineers must have an X Mountaineering Visa endorsed on their Indian visa by the Indian Embassy.
Tigers and More…at Corbett National Park
This is the best and easiest place to get a few of your adrenaline rushes all in one go. Elephant safaris to find tigers, crocodiles and some friendlier beasties like deer and birds. Then you can bungee jump, rock climb and cross rivers.
Get Up Close and Personal with an Elephant
There are many ways of seeing this magnificent animal in India, you can ride up to Amber (Amer) Fort from the road, take a tiger spotting safari on Elephant-back, or even see them wild at a special Elephant reserve. But you can also spot them occasionally in large cities walking on the roads collecting bananas that passers-by give them, with an occasional coin for his mahout. An aside, if you happen to be driving behind an Elephant in traffic, keep your distance. I once read about an unfortunate person who died when an Elephant got tired and sat down…on their car.
You can even help a Mahout wash his Elephant at a South Indian Elephant Temple. If you’re really good, you might be given the responsibility to scrub him with the coconut-husk loofah.