Adventures & Sports
For sheer geographical diversity, few places in the world are as
richly endowed as Himachal Pradesh. Low rolling hills, just a couple
of hundred meters above sea level, climb on to touch the core of
the Himalaya mountains. Here lie peaks that are several thousand
meters high and never lose their perennial snows. Then, past these
forbidding heights, lie the visually stunning cold deserts of the
At Naldera, 23 km. from beyond Shimla is one of the oldest golf
courses in India. The course, whose topography is absolutely natural,
was originally placed by the British Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon,
at the turn of the centuary. He was so enhanted by the spot that
he named one of his daughters 'Naldera' after the spot. This is
a par 68, nine hole course which is regarded as one of the most
challenging in the country. In the repeat nine, the yardage some
- what increases. The links are maintained by Himachal Tourism and
accomodation is available at Hotel Golf Glade. There are other hotels
in the private sector near Naldera.
Annandale, in Shimla has nine hole course managed by the army and
there is another at the exquisite glade of Khajjiar, 22 km from
Dalhousie and 24 km from Chamba. Putting greens are available at
several resorts and hotels. Golf courses are also coming up elsewhere
in the state.
The main trekking areas in Himachal are the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal
ranges, routes over the passes between the Shimla region and the
Kullu valley, the numerous treks out of Kullu and select tracks
in the Trans-Himalyan regions of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti. Most
trekking areas are between 1500 metres and 6000 metres.
With well over two hundred and seventy defined trails, the variation
in terrain is also enormous. Low scrub-land and paths through paddy
fields, give way to trails strewn with pine needles. Then come woods
of oak and flowering rhododendron, which merge into forest of Himalyan
cedar - 'deodar' - and spruce. On most trails, small pastoral hamlets
dot the way. Cunningly hidden between the high mountains are
passes which were once known only to migrant shepherds and dare
all traders. These lead to the fabulous wastes and swift rivers
of the arid Trans-Himalya. A host of combinations and variations
take the trails through changing countryside. The degree of physical
output can also be changed to suit your requirements. For example,
the same trek can be developed from a week to last longer. Or, the
two ends of a trek can be the same, but the trails can be designed
to be taxing, or gentle.
There are several agencies that conduct treks. Guides, equipment,
porters, pack animals and maps are available at major starting points.
The old Forest 'dak bunglows' that are strategically placed along
many trek routes, add a considerable measure of nostalgic charm
and convenience for trekkers. Practically all have an aura of the
past, and lie nestled in deep woods. In addition, the State Electricity
Board and the PWD also have rest houses. Most of these are marked
out on trekking maps and advance booking is possible. The Forest
Rest Houses are booked by the area's Divisional Forest Officer (DFO)
and the PWD and Electricity Board ones are booked by the concerned
Training facilities, with basic and intermediate courses are available
at Manali's (Kullu) Mountaineering Institute and at its Regional
centres at Dharamsala (Kangra) and Bharmour (Chamba). Excellent
camping facilities exists at these points.
Heli - Skiing
For high mountain thrills perhaps nothing can surpass the magic
of heli-skiing. Under a deep blue sky, you are carried by a helicopter
to a snow-draped peak. And after that there is nothing except steadiely
distancing whirr of rotor blades, the sky and the snow. It is a
thrilling experience as you rapidly zoom down the slopes. The icy
winds slaps your face and the swiftly slithering hiss of skies remindes
you that you are racing away on your own steam.
The sport is available in the area bound by Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang
Pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani Pass near the resort town of Manali
(Kullu). A major feature is the compactness of heli skiing area.
A sortie of ten minutes can carry the skiers to the top of a 14000
feet high slope.
Kufri, near Shimla is one of the oldest places in India to be associated
with skiing and the slopes are still in use during winter. Above
Kufri, the Mahasu ridge also has good slopes.
Comprehensive facilities exist at Narkanda, 64 km from Shimla.
There is a range of slopes, including a beginer's run, an advanced
slope and a slalom run. Himachal Tourism offers ski courses, instruction
and has equipment on hire at Narkanda.
At Manali (Kullu), the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied
Sports offers a variety of courses and facilities for skiing are
possible in the Solang area near Manali. There are also some companies
in the private sector that offer ski courses and allied facilities.
Ice - Skating
The Shimla ice-skating rink has the largest open-air area with naturally
frozen ice in this part of the world. The Ice Skating Club has already
celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.
Ice-skating normally begins in early December and carries on to
February. Clear skies and low temperatures provide series of uninterrupted
sessions. There are two sessions every day, in the morning and in
Membership is available for the season as well as for shorter terms
and even for single sessions. Skates are available at the rink.
Fancy dress carnivals, 'gymkhanas' ice-hockey and dances enliven
Para - Gliding
Riding the warm thermal currents of the air is perhaps the closest
man has ever come to sailingthe skies as free as a bird. Almost
at will, you dip and wheel high over the hills and valleys.
The bald peak of Billing, above the Buddhist monastery of Bir in
Kangra, has been the venue for five national and three international
hang-gliding rallies since 1984. The site is perfect for para-gliding
too. And this sport is a mix of sky-diving and hang-gliding. A fairly
recent sport that is steadily gaining popularity, para-gliding is
possible at various places in the state. Places where para-gliding
is done regularly are - Bundla Dhar near Bilaspur, in the kullu
valley and at Intkali in the Pabbar valley near Rohru in Shimla
Himachal Tourism sponsors training programmes and events at various
times of the year, in different places. There is an Adventure Sports
Hostel at Dharamsala (Kangra) and an Aero Sports Complex at Bir.
For details of training facilities, contact sports associations
or Divisional Tourism Development Officers of Himachal Tourism.
(Paragliding Pre-World Cup - India, 2002)
An anglers paradise, Himachal has several spots for both 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 like 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.
The picturesque Kangra valley has several spots that offer mahaseer
river carp. The reservoir of the Maharana Pratap sagar right up
to the town of Dehra has good spots. Nadaun along the river Beas
has some good beats, besides Chamba Pattan near Garli (accessible
from Nadaun or Jwalamukhi), Amtar (2 km from Nadaun), Harsi Pattan
(30 km from Tira Sujanpur) and Lambagaon (15 km from Tira Sujanpur).
On the river Giri, Gaura (30 km from Solan on the Rajgarh road)
and the beat near Dadahu (5 km from Renuka lake) and the river Yamuna,
downstream of Paonta Sahib (Sirmour) are good spots for mahaseer.
The waters of the Gobind Sagar near Bilaspur also have a variety
Fishing fee are nominal. The trout fishing season is from 31 March
to 31 October. Generally best months for mahaseer are those that
have an 'r' in their spelling - January, February, March, April,
September, October, November and December.
The Maharana Pratap Sagar reservoir in Kangra with its 42 km length
and 2 km breadth, offers a variety of activities in close collabration
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.
River-rafting or white-water rafting as it is also called is swiftly
making Himachal a focus for the sport. For a torrent of adrenalin
to gush through every vein and surge over every muscle you can race
over the State's river rapids in an inflatable rubber dinghy. Sport
is now being held on the Sutlej near Shimla on the Beas near Kullu,
the Ravi near Chamba and Chandra in Lahaul. Possibilities are also
being explored on the river Spiti. This sport takes a break during
winter and during the monsons.
Himachal Tourism sponsors courses in river rafting and there are
operators in the private sector also that offer this experience.
(Register Yourself as River Rafting Operator)
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 streach 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 done out at any holiday station.
For the higher regions the summer and automn months are suggested.
By jeep, car or on motorcycle you can explore the variety Himachal
has to offer. By jeep, the Trans Himalyan tract can steadily unfold
their natural and man made wonders. Along one of the world's highest
highways, you can drive out of Manali, cross the Rohtang Pass (3980
m) and move through arid Lahaul, you drive through the haunting
landscapes of Spiti and over the Kunzum pass (4551 m), enter Lahaul.
Himachal has an extensive network of roads and treks and apart from
the routes mentioned above, there are several others you can traverse
on. By car, driving over the more demanding routes may not be possible,
but in no way does this curtail the range of experience. And motorcycles
may impose some limitations, but are again a wonderful way of sharing
the wonders of Himachal.
All you have to do is buy a route map, plan your trip and you are
on your way.
Mountaineering And 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 basically
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 beginners with some experience. The Chandra Bhaga ranges, the
Pir Panjal and Dhalaudhar ranges are existing. The State also has
several other areas where Institute of Mountaineering and Allied
Sports, Manali and its branch at Dharamsala (Kangra) offer this
activity. Courses are also available with the institute. (Indian
Info on Adventures, Sports, Trekking, Mountaineering , Water Sports
etc. of Himachal Pradesh - India