When we were on our way back from Ladakh after Stok Kangri’s successful summit, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant and this beautiful old woman was the owner. She reminds me of Mother Teresa although I have never seen her. After our lunch we sat with her for almost half an hour and had discussion about her looks, family and when we were leaving asked to pose for this photograph.
Tag Archives: Incredible India
The eagerly anticipated second edition of Mahindra Adventure will take place in June 2012
India’s leading SUV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra’s second season of Mahindra Adventure will be held in June. This series that showcases the off-roading potential of Mahindra vehicles includes categories like Great Escape, challenges, Monastery Escape, Royal New Year Escape, besides three new adventures, viz, the 14-day Tri-Nation Escape that traverses Bhutan, India and Nepal, and the six-day Authentic Goa Escape and Wildlife Escape. Primarily designed for Mahindra vehicle owners, those who do not own one can also participate by paying a nominal fee.
The Great Escape participants can participate in an ‘Off-Roading Trophy’ later in the year.
“After the successful run of Mahindra Adventure Season 1, we are all geared to unveil the new season that promises even more thrills for the adventure seeker. The ‘Off-roading Trophy’ and international events make season 2 even more exciting and will go a long way in showcasing the tough and rugged capability of our range of vehicles,” said Vivek Nayer, Vice President, Marketing, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Mahindra Adventure has also featured in the motorsport arena. After roping in drivers Gaurav Gill and Lohitt Urs, it has also got 2012 Dakshin Dare Rally winner Sunny Sidhu on board. The team will compete in India’s most popular motorsport events including Mughal Rally, Raid de Himalaya and Desert Storm.
The company also unveiled ‘Get Lost’, India’s first online adventure magazine.
|July||Monsoon Challenge||South to West||July 19 – July 22|
|July – August||Monastery Escape Classic||North||July 26 – August 5|
North to East
|Sept 7 – Sept 9
Sept 15 – Sept 29
|November||Wild Escape||Central||Nov 16 – Nov 21|
|December – January||Royal Escape Classic||North||Dec 27 – Jan 1|
Great Escape Calendar
|June||Kottayam – GE 90||South||June 23|
|July||Mumbai – GE 91||West||July 7|
|August||Goa – GE 92
Chandigarh – GE 93
Saklespur – GE 94
|October||Kohima – GE 95||East||October 20|
|November||Jaipur – GE 96||North||November 24|
|December||Off Road Championship||Mumbai||December 7 to December 9|
|January||Kolkatta Challenge – GE 97
Hyderabad Challenge – GE 98
|February||Coimbatore Challenge – GE 99||South||February 3|
Top 5 Mountain of Indian Himalayas
The arc-shaped Himalayas extend along the entire northern boundary of India from the state of Jammu & Kashmir in west to Arunachal Pradesh in east. The term “Himalaya” from Sanskrit meaning the “The Abode of Snow”. For centuries Indians have been fascinated by these mountains for pilgrimage in early days now for trekking and other adventure sports (fast picking up in India).
The Indian Himalayas cover a vast area along the northern frontiers of the country and span five Indian States — Jammu and Kashmir , Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — from west to east. The true divisions of the Indian Himalayas are based on the mountain ranges rather than the state boundaries. From west to east, the Indian Himalayas can be divided into
- Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Zanskar (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Lahaul and Spiti (HP)
- Chamba (HP)
- Kinnaur (HP)
- Kumaon (Uttarakhand)
- Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
- Sikkim (Sikkim)
- Arunachal (Arunachal Pradesh)
Top 5 Mountain of Indian Himalayas
Khangchendzonga / Kanchenjunga
Kanchenjunga gets its name from the the Bhutia and Tibetan languages which means “The Five Treasures of Snows” as it contains five peaks. Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak in the world and 1st in India. Kanchenjunga stands tall with an elevation of 8,586 meters (28,169 ft). Goechala Trek and Dzongri Trek are famous trek from where one can have majestic views of this mighty mountain.
Nanda Devi (25663 ft, 7824 m)
Nanda devi is the second highest mountain peak in India. This is the highest peak (entirely) in the country, as Kanchenjunga lies on the border areas of India and Nepal. It was the highest known mountain in the world until 1808 when western surveyors discovered Dhaulagiri. The mountain stands tall at an elevation of 7824 meters (25663 ft). The Nanda devi peak is the part of Garhwal Himalayas and lies in the state of Uttrakhand. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is home to many famous treks like Roopkund Trek, Kuari Pass Trek, Valley of Flowers Trek, Har etc
Climbing is not allowed on Nanda Devi as it is declared as holy peak. During my discussion with Mr. Kushang Sherpa (Climbed Everest from all side including Kangshung face and other 8 thousanders) he said that Nanda Devi is the toughest to climb.
Kamet (25446 ft, 7756 m)
Kamet is the second highest mountain peak in Garhwal Himalayas. It lies in the Chamboli District of Uttrakhand. It is the third highest peak in India (according to India however, the rank is much lower as it includes in its list of mountains all those in Pakistan occupied Kashmir).
Saser Kangri (25172 ft, 7672 m)
Saser Kangri (or Sasir Kangri) is the highest peak in the Saser Muztagh, the easternmost sub-range of the Karakoram range in India. This massif lies toward the northwestern end of the Saser Muztagh, at the head of the North Shukpa Kunchang Glacier, a major glacier which drains the eastern slopes of the group.
Mana (23860 ft, 7273 m)
Northeast of Badrinath is another impressive cluster of mountain peaks. The mountains rise almost on the Indo-Tibetan border with Mana and Kamet as the principal peaks. Mana itself marks the eastern extremity of the Zanskar range. It lies between the pass of the same name and the Niti Pass.
Three years ago, Preeti Ralhan, a 41-year-old homemaker from Gurgaon, was holidaying in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with her family. While they had no plans for adventure, their guide insisted they try a 5-km zip line tour atop the rainforest. “Suspended from cables, zipping past trees and cliffs, we had the time of our lives,” says Ralhan.
They wanted to zip-line again, but didn’t want to go all the way to Thailand. And then, they heard of Flying Fox, a service that offers zip-lining tours in Neemrana, 100 km from Delhi. So, last month, the family drove to the heritage town for a zip-lining tour that cost just Rs 1,500 per person. “Three years ago, we thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But now, we know we can afford to do it twice a year,” says Ralhan. She adds that the Neemrana zip line was more picturesque than the Chiang Mai one because of the view of the heritage fort and the rocky terrain around it.
If you are an adventure junkie, you needn’t pack your bags and take a flight out of India. You can now go zipping at Neemrana, Jodhpur and Kikar Lodge near Chandigarh, or scuba diving off Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Goa and at Angria Bank in Maharashtra; paragliding at various places in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan; hot-air-balloon-riding in Rajasthan; parasailing in Haryana, mountain biking at Jalori Pass in Himachal, Manali and Narkanda, heli-skiing in Kashmir, or skiing in Manali.
Even though adventure tourism has been around for at least a decade, lately, it has seen several new companies offering tours in offbeat sports like sky diving, zip lining, and heli-skiing to consumers that include corporate managers, youngsters and families. Mukul Ronak Das, CEO of Bangalore-based Waltair Escapade Thrills, the company that launched commercial sky diving for the first time in India in October 2011 (in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra late last year and Punjab in February), says that five years ago, adventure sports contributed not more than 35-40 per cent to the tourism revenue, and most of it came from conventional sports such as skiing and rafting. Now, new and sophisticated sports such as sky diving, heli-skiing, and zip lining are also doing well. And the government realises the potential of promoting the country as an adventure destination. “Out of the 48-second recent Incredible India ad on TV, 60 per cent time is devoted to snapshots of adventure activities,” says Das.
While there were already around 35,000-40,000 big and small adventure operators in India, the last six months have seen them getting more organised and professionally managed. Flying Fox, which began in 2007 in Neemrana, has, over the years, spread to Jodhpur and Chandigarh. Delhi-based Wanderlust Camps and Resorts, which claims to be “the first company to bring bungee jumping to India (in 1999), hot air ballooning in 1989 and sky-walking in 2005” and is run by ex-Army officer Captain SK Yadav, has been organising camps for companies and now even families. Their camps are priced between Rs 999 and Rs 1,999 per person per night. “Adventure activities were first brought into the Indian corporate culture as part of team-building exercises. They used activities, such as valley crossing and flying fox, which the army uses to train its officers and jawans,” says Yadav. One of the most unique activities they have organised so far is sky walking. Participants were harnessed and made to walk vertically on the exteriors of some tall office buildings in Gurgaon.
Trained adventure professionals from abroad have also set up shop in India. India’s first 83-metre-high bungee jump, in Rishi-kesh, has been designed and is run by a team of bungee experts from New Zealand, and the Flying Fox zip lining tours are run by two British nationals. “Since these are not native adventure activities, you need to bring in foreign skills because there’s no domestic expertise to draw upon,” says Flying Fox Asia director Richard McCullum.
Obviously, commercial interests are driving the adrenaline boom in India. Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head at travel portal expedia.co.in, says, “Indians travel overseas a lot, and consume a lot of adventure there. Even foreign tourists, who come to India mainly for cultural and spiritual consumption, end up indulging in adventure activities here, especially in Manali and Ladakh.”
Ajeet Bajaj, the first Indian to have scaled both the North and the South Pole, and who runs one of India’s oldest adventure tour companies, Snow Leopard Adventures, agrees: “There are no exact figures but estimates say that there are no less than two million adventure consumers in India every year — domestic as well as foreign.” Vikas Arora, administrator, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, pegs that number to be increasing at a rate of 20-25 per cent annually, thanks to “corporate getaways and family tourism fuelling the demand.”
Women, he says, are big drivers of adventure tourism. “More than 25 per cent of adventure travellers are women in the 35-60 age group,” says Arora. Chandigarh-based Kanika Khanna and her four college friends, for example, celebrated their graduation by bungee-jumping in Rishikesh, offered by Jumpin Heights, which also organises an 83-metre-high swing and a 1-km-long zip line. “The first sight of that sky-high platform from where I was supposed to jump off , even though the coach had harnessed me well, gave me butterflies in the stomach. I almost chickened out but when I saw another girl my age jumping off the platform without any inhibition, I took heart and gave it a shot. The next day, we took the combo package and enjoyed all three activities in one day for Rs 4,000 per person,” she recalls.
India’s vast terrain makes it an ideal adventure spot. Says Das, “We have the mountains with snow-clad peaks, beaches and coasts, rocks and plains — each state has something to offer,” he says.
The topography apart, affordability lures domestic tourists. Arup Bhowmick, a 32-year-old investment banker from Delhi, went scuba diving in Goa last May, after his “very expensive” adventures abroad, including bungee jumping in Poland and scuba diving in Mala in 2008, and sky diving in California in 2010. “I wouldn’t say that the Goa experience was better than Malaysia — the marine life is equally divine at both places, but we saved a lot of time and money. My Goa trip cost just 25 per cent of my Malaysia one,” he say
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next desination is Shea Goru after crossing the highest point of trekHamptaPass.
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.
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.
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).
Chandigarh, Jan 17: One of the biggest Indian air carriers, Air India has launched a traveller centric scheme for the customers who propose to travel often across the country. According to the newly introduced scheme, the carrier has offered a 15 day travel across the country at a low-price of Rs 35,000.
Sources from Air India said that the proposed scheme will be implemented from Apr 30, 2012. The carrier will offer two plans in place to the need of the customers. As per the scheme, a commuter can enjoy 15 days of travel across India in economyclass for just Rs 35,000. However, those customers who want to travel in business class will have to pay Rs 75,000 for 15 days.
Meanwhile, the airline will provide two plans for scheduled planned booking according to the customer’s convenience. Moreover, a travelling pass will be provided to the customers which will help in the booking process under the two schemes.
Furthermore, to get up-to-date information, customers are asked to visit the official website of Air India at http://www.airindia.com. Customers can also speak with the customer care associates at the toll free number 18001801407 or at the land-line number 0172-2624941, 2624943 to get detailed information of the scheme.
There is a saying that there is always dark below the lamp. Till now I have traveled through out India but how come I missed Pushkar Fair and I live in Jaipur. So, I decided to not to miss this time.
Pushkar Fair is the annual five-day camel and livestock fair. It is celebrated for five days from the Kartik ekadashi to Kartik Poornima, the full moon day (the 15th) of Kartik (November–December) inHindu calendar. The full moon day is the main day and the day, according to legend, when the Hindu god Brahma sprung up the Pushkar Lake, thus numerous people swim in its sacred waters.
I planned a 1 day trip, I left Jaipur at 5.00 AM and reached Ajmer at around 7 and another 45 Minutes to the holy town of Pushkar. It was the second last day of the fair and a day just before the main bath of Kartik ekadashi. So all the buses were leading to Pushkar. Read the rest of this entry »
The country, often criticised for inadequate accommodation and security, poor connectivity and cumbersome visa facilities, on Tuesday evening won two honours at the World Tourism Mart (WTM) in London.
Pitted against Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Kenya, Switzerland and many other hot spots in the US and Europe, India clinched the ‘Best Destination’ and ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ awards from World Travel Awards chairman Graham Cooke. India was rated highly on wellness, medical tourism and sustainable eco-tourism models in the rural areas.
Encouraged by the awards and the growing appreciation, tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay immediately announced the launch of the country’s first global travel mart on the lines of the WTM on December 12.
Sahay said: “These awards will go a long way in realising our targets for the next five years. We hope to double the total foreign arrivals by 2016 to ensure that India contributes at least 1 per cent to the global tourist numbers. Currently, India just gets 0.59 per cent of the total global tourists.”
The minister said: “The government needs to construct four lakh hotel rooms to meet the demand. We need rooms for all budgets and airports for world-class connectivity.”
While giving away the awards, Cooke echoed Sahay. He said: “With investments in the next two years, India hopes to break into the top 10 for the first time, surpassing the likes of Australia, Switzerland and South Africa.”