Monthly Archives: February 2012

Spiritual India: Trekking, Meditation and Nirvana

India is said to change people. If we are in search of spiritual guidance, greater self-awareness or a series of life altering moments, then we pack our rucksacks and head to India. People have been doing this for years. India is a place of self-discovery and contemplation. You do not need to give away your belongings and live in an ashram to understand this. There is a spiritual component to every tour of India. It does not matter if you are on a culinary journey down India’s spice trail, riding on one of the country’s historic railroads or adventuring in the Himalayas, the numerous Buddhist monasteries scattered throughout country are a reminder that meditation and nirvana are part of daily life. For most of us, meditation and nirvana are things we read about in books. Due to our busy jobs, domestic demands and fast-paced lifestyles, we are lucky to get fifteen minutes of quiet time a day. We visit India to reflect and take a breath. As a Buddhist might say, we visit India to alleviate the stress we experience in samsara.

Trekking in Sikkim

There is said to be over 200 monasteries in the Sikkim region. These monasteries, or Gompers, are part of the Niangua and Kagy sects of Buddhism. Llamas, dressed in long, flowing red robes, can still be heard chanting ancient Buddhist mantras. A trekking tour through the Sikkim region combines cultural heritage with India’s stunning natural beauty. You can hike through a rhododendron forest and camp beneath the Kangchenjunga. A stop at the famous hill station in Darjeeling is essential for anyone looking for a transcendental experience, or simply a spectacular and life-altering view.

Exploring Bhutan

Due to its beautiful and unscathed landscape, Bhutan has often been called the last Shangri-La. Its isolation from the rest of India has helped maintain its natural beauty. Sadly, this isolation and unspoiled beauty comes at a cost, and tours through the Bhutan region are expensive. However, Bhutan’s Buddhist culture, heritage and heart-stopping scenery is unrivalled. There are several monasteries in the Thimphu valley. In Bhutan, trekking routes range from 3 to 24 days. Due to the unpredictable weather, there is only a small window of opportunity to trek in Bhutan. April and October are said to be the best months for high-altitude treks, but shorter, low-altitude tours can be taken throughout the year.

India is a place of reflection and self-discovery. Around every switchback there is a vista to marvel at. Inside every monastery there is something that connects us to a greater purpose. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, there is no escaping some type of spiritual experience when you tour India.

via Spiritual India: Trekking, Meditation and Nirvana.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Travel


Ten essentials to carry for Adventure trip to Himalayas in Winters

Any adventure trip to Himalayas requires preparedness, but in the winter when weather is harsh and days are shorter, your margin of error is even smaller.

Here are some tips from the experts for staying safe and getting rescued when things go wrong:


Jai, Owner of Renok Adventures, says day hikers should dress and pack as if they are going on an overnight backpacking trip. Be prepared to deal with Harsh and always changing weather conditions “Plan for the worst.”

The Ten Essentials – Plus. “The Freedom of the Hills,” written by experts from The Mountaineers of Seattle in 1960, was updated for the eighth time in 2010 and lists the following as the 10 essentials:

1. Navigation: Map and compass and the skills to use them

2. Sun protection: Sunglasses and sunscreen

3. Insulation: Extra clothing

4. Illumination: A headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries

5. First-aid supplies

6. Fire: Firestarter and matches or a lighter

7. Repair kit and tools including a knife

8. Nutrition: Extra food

9. Hydration: Extra water

10. Emergency shelter

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Adventure, Travel


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Gulmarg to host India’s 1st Music, Adventure Festival

Indian, local artists to highlight art, culture in the 4-day, 3-nights event from March 9

Sajad Kralyari
Amid snow capped mountains and silvery pine trees, Kashmir Valley will host India’s first ever Music and Adventure Winter Festival at the world’s famous ski resort Gulmarg.

 The music will flow from the tuneful voices from the wide spectrum of Indian artists including the local Kashmiri new breed of bands while traditional artists will entertain the audience with folklore, chakri, Rouf, ladishah and sufiana kalam using traditional musical instruments.

India’s leading rock bands, reggae artists, jazz & blues bands, will bring warmth to the sub zero temperature on the white carpet at 10000 feet high snow carpet with music fusion.
The festival will begin with business conference on March 8 which will be followed by other events including film festival, extreme adventure sports, arts and culture. The 4-days and 3-nights festival will be organized by a Noida based travel company Synapses Adventures which has already witnessed a great response for the events from the tourists from different parts of India.
“The event is aimed to bring new experience to locals and showcase local ethnic culture and lifestyle. The event will also be great boost to highlight music, adventure of this place to outside world besides promoting Gulmarg as the best winter destination,” said the organizer Aditya Shinde of Synapses Adventures.

Business Conference:
“In the business exhibition, the distributors and retailers from outside the state will showcase the adventure gear. The exhibition will also be attended by local tourism fraternity including the people associated with travel and trade and the community from social media to promote business and create networking opportunities,” said Aditya.
The exhibition will primarily boost the sports industry around the country and Kashmir region.

Music @ Gulmarg Winter Festival
The event will enliven the snow bowl with, mix of classical, sufi, jazz, fusion, rock performances by renowned artists.
“Besides artists from outside the state, the local music bands and artists will also perform. They will highlight local music. Locals will perform folklore, chakri, rouf, ladishah and sufiana kalam. This will also be a biggest platform for the upcoming talents of the country and also locals.”
“The event also offers opportunities for local artists, musicians to be showcased amongst some of India’s leading artists. Local talent can also interact with the upcoming generation of artists, musicians.”

Film Festival
Synapses Adventures will showcase eight short films on subject like music, adventure, culture and environment from the best in new cinema and creative films.
“The films will also be a chance to promote Gulmarg as a winter sports destination.”

Kashmir Art and Culture
Kashmiri’s mouth-watering traditional cuisine -Wazwan- will also be the main highlight of the festival. The tourists will get to taste Wazwan and also local popular beverage Kawah which will be showcased by locals.
‘Wazwan and Kahwa are the pride of Kashmiri and its identity. The tourists will be enjoying best of the most authentic and delicious delicacies during the event.”
The locals will also be highlighting their handicraft including carpets, shawls, paper machie.
“The local will also show their skills to crave out master pieces of Kashmiri art and craft. This will be opportunity for them to promote the traditional trade.”

Gulmarg Winter Sports
Synapses Adventures will also organize adventure sports competitions in skiing, snowboarding through competitions and exhibitions.
“There will be no other place than Gulmarg to host competitions in skiing and snowboarding which has world’s highest Gondola,” said Aditya.
The organizers have roped in the local skiers especially from Tangmarg who earn their livelihood as adventure sports guides and trainers during winter months in Gulmarg.
“The competition will be open for local and India skiers. The adventure sports competition will promote Gulmarg as the winter sports destination besides promoting tourism.”
The organizers will first hold preliminary rounds on Gulmarg slopes and the shortlisted skiers will be taken to Mary Shoulder on ski-lifts for final competition.

Green Event
“This will be a zero plastic event. We will encourage visitors and guests to use their own bottles instead of buying plastic bottled water,” said Aditya.
The organizer will be using renewable sources of energy, using minimum power (bio fuel) for lights.
The festivals will begin from 11am to 5pm which will feature culture and food fiesta, flea bazaar, photography workshop, music, adventure and recreational activities while as from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm will feature one hour movie screening as part of the Soul Film Festival.

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Adventure, Travel


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India Discovery Adventure Organized By Unicef

The UN agency that looks after children, Unicef Open Unicef in a new window, is organizing an adventure motorcycle trip in India.

Planned for November 2012, 20 odd adventurers will be setting out on classic Royal Enfield  Bullet motorcycles (plus vintage Ambassador cars) to discover parts of India.

The week long itinerary will see you go past several Unicef projects in the country, so you can see the good work they do.

This is a quote on part of their program:

The 1,000 km route takes you along Kerala’s coast, inland to Mysore, through the tiger reserves of Bandipur and Mudumallai and up through 36 hairpin bends to a vast expanse of tea plantations. The trip ends back in the serene backwaters of Kerala – an exquisite conclusion to a remarkable adventure.

Charley Boorman

The trip is planned for 30 November to 9 December. It’s not cheap, since it the trip supports the Unicef work, so it’s worth it.

Cost: UK£4,995 (including flights, accommodation, most food and bike rental). The trip will be accompanied by mechanics and a doctor. Unicef will give you plenty of ideas how to raise money to fund the trip.

So if you are in for a motorcycle adventure holiday, and eating loads of Indian food, this is your chance. On top of that, you are contributing to one of world’s leading children aid agencies.

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Adventure, Renok Adventure, Travel


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Go kayaking, wall climbing at Indian ‘activotel’!

A wall climbing session underway at the Latitude 30*N Ganga resort near Rishikesh in Uttarakhand - IANS

There are ‘ecotels’ and ’boutique’ hotels, but ever heard of the ‘activotel’? For those seeking an active, adventurous vacation – and not wanting to wake up late or sip a cocktail with lunch – this is it. “We are not looking at those who want to just chill out. We are looking at families who want to share an outdoor adventure together. Thus, parents can happily go kayaking, secure in the knowledge that their kids are being put through a range of activities under expert supervision,” said Sachin Bhatia, co-promoter of Latitude 30*N Ganga, located just above this pilgrim town. “I’ve always been an outdoor type and wanted to explore the options of marrying a business venture with something that is my passion,” Bhatia, who was co-promoter of travel portal before he decided to move on, said. “We aim to introduce city folk to the outdoors; to combine adventure with comfort. There are, no doubt, quite a few companies that offer river rafting in Rishikesh but then, many people would rather not stay in tents. We want our guests to experience the great Indian outdoors within the comfort of a resort-like setting,” he explained. To this end, the resort, which is spread over a five-acre plot, offers an array of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts of all ages. These range from rafting, wall climbing, mountain biking, hiking, astronomy, yoga, kayaking and a world-class high-ropes course, or even camping out for a night within the property. “The activities are conducted by certified ‘active officers’ with a separate outdoor schedule for kids while using world-class equipment,” said Bhatia, who has co-promoted the resort with his wife Sharmila and Vaibhav Kalra of Active Vacations and Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, a pioneer in India’s adventure and outdoor space. Surrounded by reserved forest and with over 200 trees spread over the location, the resort also boasts of an al fresco swimming pool overlooking the Ganges valley and indoor play area for children with a collection of board games and books. But then, it’s not just families that the resort is targeting. “We are also eyeing individuals, couples, corporates and even groups of schoolchildren. In fact, we are fully booked by a corporate group on March 3,” Bhatia said. “Our ideal mix would be corporates on weekdays and families on weekends but it all depends on our guests,” he added. The resort has 22 well-appointed air-conditioned cottages with a breathtaking view of the Ganges valley and the mighty Himalayas. All cottages offer ample room for privacy with a personal deck and are equipped with state-of-the-art amenities. The resort offers Indian and Continental cuisine at its 60-seater White Water Cafe, with options of both indoor and outdoor dining. Conferencing facilities are also available. “Great care has been taken in drawing up the menu. For instance, the lunch is kept deliberately light, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to participate in the afternoon activities,” Bhatia said. A two-night/three-day stay for two adults and two children aged between six and 12 costs Rs.35,000. This includes three meals, a snack and soft drink in the evening and five activities spread over two-and-a-half days. Tailormade packages are also available at Rs.6,500 per person per day. Rates for children vary according to their age.

Where: 30 km from Rishikesh, 285 km from New Delhi. How to reach: By bus/car from New Delhi; by train to Haridwar and another 60 km by bus/car. Cost: Rs.6,500 per person, per night. Children: under 6 – free, 6-12 – Rs.2,500 per night, 12-16 – Rs.3,500 per night.

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Adventure, Renok Adventure, Travel


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Citizens could scale India’s best climbing wall again

Pune: After almost a year’s of lying idle, the Raje Shivaji climbing wall at the Shri Shivaji Vyam Mandal in Shivajinagar would be functional soon.

Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) general body (GB) on Thursday took the decision to allow the Shri Shivaji Vyam Mandal to work out a revenue model for running of the wall.

DNA, in its report of May 5, 2011, had reported how the wall, which is touted as India’s best indoor climbing wall, was lying idle for want of a proper revenue sharing model. Constructed by the PMC at a cost of Rs1.25 crore, this wall was hailed by mountaineers in the city.

However, as the wall was constructed by the PMC, the Vyam Mandal was not allowed to take charge from users. Sans a proper revenue model, the wall was lying idle as the Mandal did not have funds to maintain it. Post-DNA report, the civic body had put a proposal before the standing committee of the PMC, which was tabled before the GB on Thursday. As per the proposal, the Mandal has been allowed to charge users Rs100 per hour. Also, the Mandal has been directed to deposit Rs1 lakh with the civic body as security deposit.

Welcoming the move, Pimpri Chinchwad Mountaineering Association secretary Surendra Shelke said, “It will immensely help mountaineers in the city.”

Source:Dainik Bhaskar

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Travel


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Renok Adventures @ Jaipur Literature Festival

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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Travel


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Beginner’s Delight – Hampta Pass

Escape to the natural wonders of Great Himalayas, just south of Manali, for an unforgettable experience. Hampta Passtrek is the beginners delight in every way easy access, dense pine forest, beautiful meadows, adrenaline pumping river crossings and a high altitude mountain pass called Hampta. It got its name from the Hampta village and shepherds and villagers used this pass to enter in Lahaul Spiti valley of Himachal. This was traditional alternative route between Lahaul and Kullu Valley before the road was made over Rohtang Pass.


Hampta Pass is a moderate trek with a scope of mixing lot of other adventure activities to suit varying duration and interest of trekkers. It start from the Prini village and takes us to the majestic foothills of The Great Hiamalayas, the Pir Panjal Range which is the largest range of the lower Himalayas. Over this trek one will see different hues of nature as you gain altitude from thick green pine forest to awe inspiring view of Mt. Deo Tibba and Mt.Indrasan and their snaking down glaciers to the barren landscape of Lahaul and Spiti valley.

With the Support Team

Trek Begins

The trail for the trek begins after you cross the hydel power project buildings, it takes you into the pine forest with occasional bunch of other trees like Maple, Walnut, Oak and Alder. After walking for sometime with a mild gradient you have to cross a beautiful nala  over a wooden bridge can stop here for water and a photography break.

How Can I remove these wires?

This trail leads to a open meadow with river Hampta flowing on one side, here you will get the first view of Deo Tibba and Indrasan. On the other side of river you will see beautiful rock faces and above those there lies the manali lake.

Sweet Home

Damn the Dam

This meadow is called Chikka and is the Camp for the day. Chikka has lush green grass so you will find some sheeps or grazing there, nestled in between of rocky mountain face and pine and maple trees. On one side Rani River is flowing and few small ponds and nice and flat camping places. On top of that majestic views of snow clad mountains and evening might see the twinkling lights of Manali town from some spots.

Our Camp

You can do campfire here for that team work is required go into the forest and collect dry logs of wood in further camps no wood is available. After having pitched your tent, traverse the meadow, climb the hill for height gain and have bonfire with the hot fantastic dinner.


Our Campsite from near by hillCampfire – We worked hard for the woods

After the excellent quality sleep, be ready for the next destination Balu Ka Gera which is about 4-5 hours gradual ascent from Chikka. Have a heavy breakfast start your day with a small walk and then crossing the river over the huge logs put by shepherds.

River CrossingSun StarYoungest member of the group Dr Suresh

Keep watching the Gendarme (mountaineering term which is a pinnacle of rock on a mountain ridge) right infront of you, keep walking on left bank of river. This entire walk will be through the rocks and boulders. On the way you will get some superb boulders to try your hands and hone your skills on bouldering. After few hours of walk you take a right turn and here come the thrill and chill the crossing of nullah. Take of your shoes and just take the plunge…no only knee depth only. The water is icy cold so don’t stay in water for too long. Now you are just halfway from your destination.

Our feet were almost frozen…tinglingWoWAltimeter – 1114Standing TallOur Campsite at Balu Ka GeraCairn – I made it…

This is me!!Gendarme

On one side you have superb rock face and river flowing beneath them and right in front of you valley full of snow and trees are left behind only small bushes. Walk along the river through boulder you will reach Balu ka Gera which means Heaps of Sand. This is flat ground with river flowing one side and a nice water stream just near the campsite. Its water will be used for drinking and for food. In the night from here you can try your hands on night photography of stars with snow clad mountains.

Sky in the nightNight Landscape (Illuminated tent )

Next desination is Shea Goru after crossing the highest point of trekHamptaPass.

Morning Excercise

Todays trek would be moderately steep and then steep descent from the Hampta pass. While approaching the Hampta pass you can see some the wonders of mountains like Cornice formation, Glaciers and their snouts and of course snow along the way. Stay at Hampta for your lunch at an altitude of 14500ft and be ready to careful steep descent and wear your backpack in case you fall your backpack will save your back.


I was carrying two bags – full preparation for Basic course

From top you will be able to see your campsite, it seems very near but it takes good two hours to reach there.  Tall snow clad mountains surround you from three sides and the open side leads you to Sheagoru. Again you have the river flowing to your right. Choose a nice camp site close to the river and retire happily for the day after crossing HamptaPass.

Hampta Pass


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National Geographic ranked Bosnia in the top 10 adventure tourism destinations

National Geographic ranked Bosnia and Herzegovina among the 10 best adventure destinations for 2012. Among the destinations that offer excellent rafting, mountaineering, skiing and other adrenaline sports, B&H was named as offering the best mountain biking trails.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has potential become Eastern Europe’s year-round center for adventure. Since then, skiers, hikers, and whitewater enthusiasts have indeed made their mark and now mountain bikers are starting to do the same.

The ancient highland caravan routes that linked mountain towns for centuries now make for a heavenly single-track system for the knobby-tire set.

British outfitter Exodus leads weeklong mountain-biking trips starting in Sarajevo that incorporate Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman culture with present-day adventure. Highlights include a ride into Lukomir, the country’s highest village at nearly 5,000 feet, and an exploration of a region near the Prenj massif, known as the Herzegovina Himalaya.

The country is mostly landlocked, but Exodus’s route hits several lakes and culminates with a climb to a waterfall followed by a screaming, 4,200-foot mountain bike descent, and eventually, a return to Sarajevo.

Source: BH Daily News

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Travel


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New Govt Project aims to promote adventure sports in Northeast

The states in the North Eastern Region offer tremendous potential for various outdoor adventure activities viz. Mountaineering, Trekking and camping, Rock climbing and Rappelling, Jeep Safaris, Cultural Tours, Village Home stay, community tourism, Bird watching, Angling, water skiing, White Water Rafting, Canoeing, kayaking, etc.

Keeping this in mind a pilot project namedYouth to the Edge was launched on Monday 30 January, 2012 in a function held at Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi, by Paban Singh Ghatowar, Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).

The project is aimed to promote adventure activities in the remote areas of North East Region (NER). The volunteers from National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will participate in the adventure activities under the project.

Taking advantage of this potential, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, under the pilot project Youth to the Edge, proposes to promote adventure activities in the remote areas of North East Region, in which around 3000 youth (1500 from North Eastern Region + 1500 from other States) will participate in adventure and cultural activities.

On a trial basis, 03 trekking trails (02 in Arunachal & 01 in Nagaland) have been planned for the volunteers from National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The pilot scheme is being launched with the Motto Adventure to the Paradise Unexplored.

Under the Capacity Building of NER youth, they will be trained through the National Mountaineering Institutes and other adventure training organizations. After completion of the courses, they will get opportunity to work as escorts and guides on their own.

Following are the Trekking Trails details that will be covered under the pilot project:

Three Trekking Trails to be established in NER – Arunachal Pradesh–2, Nagaland-1
1500 Students from Rest of India to participate in 45 Camps of 6 days each.
250 Students from NER to participate with youth from Rest of India.
220 Students from NER to visit rest of India to participate in adventure camps.
22 Students from NER to undergo Skill Development Training at National Mountaineering Institutes.

Adventure Camps will channelize Youth Energy in positive direction, develop overall personality, enhance self confidence, endurance and team spirit, improve leadership qualities and promote National Integration.

The project involves an expenditure of Rs.2.87 crore. It will be funded by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region through North Eastern Council (NEC) and executed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports through National Service Scheme (NSS).



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