The mighty Himalayas
The mighty Himalayas

For eons India has been the home of spirituality, yoga, tradition, history and cultural diversification. People from all over the world have visited this great land for trade, knowledge, and spiritual freedom. A multitude of cultures have found their way right to the country’s heart over many centuries.

Camping at Rishikesh
Camping at Rishikesh

In addition to being rich in history and culture, India is also a land of varied landscapes. From mountains to beaches to valleys and rivers, you can find it all here. Himalayas along with the many rivers that flow from it, dominate the topography of the north. There are also many National Parks all across the country teeming with tigers and other animals, which make for great wildlife safaris.

Himalayas attract mountaineers and adventure buffs from all over the world. It offers plenty of scope for trekking, paragliding and skiing and some serious mountaineering. River Ganges is one of the most popular rafting destinations in India. Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas is the ultimate destination for rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping and zip lining.

Bungee jumping in Rishikesh
Bungee jumping in Rishikesh

Rivers Kundalika and Kali in the west and south respectively are also popular spots for rafting. Maharashtra in the west is another adventure hub that offers rafting, rock climbing and rappelling, trekking, paragliding and hot air ballooning.

Rafting in India
Rafting in India

In addition to all this, the Thar Desert in the west is the perfect place for a desert safari  where one can experience life amidst the vast expanses of sand.

For centuries Rishikesh  has been the undisputed Yoga capital of the world and people from all over the world seeking spirituality have found their way to this ancient and holy town. It is located in the northern part of the Indian State of Uttrakhand, on the banks of the Ganges River and is surrounded by hills on 3 sides. People flock here for practicing meditation, learning the techniques of Yoga and sometimes just for the peace of mind that it offers.

Rishikesh - Where Gods reside!
Rishikesh – Where Gods reside!

The Beatles made it even more popular in the 1960s when they stayed at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is also home to the 120 year old Kailash Ashram Brahmavidyapeetha, an institution that has been dedicated to promoting and conserving the traditional Vedic studies and had the likes of Swami Vivekananda has one of the students. There are many more Ashrams in Rishikesh where the traditional “Guru-Shishya Parampara ” is being followed.

Students of one of the Ashrams praying at the banks of the Ganges
Students of one of the Ashrams praying at the banks of the Ganges

In the last 10-15 years, Rishikesh has also earned another name, that of being the Rafting Capital! The shores are lined with camps that make for a great retreat and offer a host of activities for the adventure seekers. It has become an extremely popular spot for white water rafting and on a must visit list of most adventure buffs. Ganges River offers medium to rough rapids, rated class 3 and class 4.

One of our adventure enthusiasts, Jagdish Kumar Lohar, working as a Teacher in Central School in Jodhpur (Air Force area), Rajasthan, took an extraordinary trip – one that spells grit and passion.

He completed an 1800 km “Inspiriting Tour” from Jodhpur to Srinagar via Sonamarg Zojila Pass. He organized it all on his own and did it solely for the motivation of “People with Special Needs”, residing in northern India. The trip started on June 8, 2013 and concluded on June 19, 2013. This journey was completed on a single tri-scooter (RJ24 M 5147) and Mr. Lohar was accompanied by Mr. Laxman Kumar who was an assistant as well as a pillion rider (Mr. Kumar is differently abled).

They made their way through Bikaner, Shri Ganga Nagar, Amritsar and Udhampur. Between Udhampur and Srinagar, he continuously drove for 14 hours (4 AM to 8 PM), only taking 2 hours’ break in between for food!

There is a special driving license number issued for him, which is RJ-19/DLC/2002/99256 Dt. 6-8-2002.

Adventure Nation salutes this spirit of true adventure and compassion.
See the images below:

On the way to Sonamarg
Touching new heights!
Passionate riders!

Born on February 14th, 1898, Major Harold William “Bill” Tilman was an English explorer, mountaineer and one of the finest travel writers of the last century. He is known for his many climbing and sailing expeditions.

Tilman fought in both the World Wars and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery twice and Distinguished Service Order in World War I and II respectively. The latter was awarded for having fought behind the enemy lines in the Balkans.

Bill Tilman Image Credits: www.grin.com
Bill Tilman
Image Credits: www.grin.com

He was the true embodiment of the spirit of adventure. As he grew older, his zest for adventures became stronger. He has often been referred to as the conceiver of the stylish lightweight approach to mountaineering. It is said that Tilman was ahead of his time, he pioneered ecologically sound principles of adventure and exploration. He was one of those rare people who considered the journey itself as the adventure!

Even though he suffered from altitude sickness all his life, he either summited or attempted to summit the highest peaks known to man. He was a part of the two of the Mount Everest  expeditions in the 30s. He participated in the Reconnaissance Expedition (to Everest) as the expedition leader, and reached 27,000 feet without oxygen. Along with his team that included Peter Lloyd, H. Adams Carter and Eric Shipton, he successfully made the ascent to Nanda Devi Sanctuary  in 1936 and that remained to be the highest summit climbed by man until 1950. It was during this ascent that they discovered a new passage to this summit. More information about this can be found here .

Adventure Nation is thrilled to share with you all that our Mountaineering Guru Debabrata Mukherjee along with his team, has recently been chosen to be awarded with the prestigious Himalayan Club Award for excellence in Mountaineering for the best Indian Himalayan Expedition – 2013. This is for opening a new route to the Himalayas during the historical exploration from Badrinath to Gangotri over Chaukhamba col.

Read all about this great adventure here.

Here are some glimpses from this historic expedition (All image credits – https://www.facebook.com/indiaguide):

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Although the youngest mountain range, Himalayas seem as old as the world itself! It is majestic, mystic and mesmerising and has been the subject of innumerable explorations and a part of popular culture for many years now.

Here are some interesting facts about the Himalayas:

  1. The Himalayan range, as believed by many, was formed some 70 million years ago after a massive collision between the Asian and Indian land masses (tectonic plates). To get an idea about the geology behind this read more here or take a look at this fascinating video!

    A depiction of the Himalayas as seen from a satellite
    A depiction of the Himalayas as seen from a satellite

  2. Mount Everest (the highest mountain peak in the world) stands at a dizzying 29,029 feet and is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. Locally called Sagarmatha (Nepal) and Chomolungma (Tibet/China), it came to be known as Mount Everest after Sir Andrew Waugh, the then Surveyor General of India, decided to name it in honour of his predecessor, Sir George Everest, in 1865.

    Moon rising over the Himalayas - mesmerising!
    Moon rising over the Himalayas – mesmerising!

  3. Would you believe it if someone told you that the Himalayas are geologically alive? Yes, they are! It has been proven by several tests performed by geologists over the years. This majestic and gigantic chain of mountains is said to be moving approximately 20mm every year!
  4. We all know that the Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world. But what’s fascinating is that there are 30 peaks towering over 24,000 feet, and of the 10 highest peaks in the world, nine are located in the Himalayas (Nepal Himalayas). Check out the Everest Base Camp trip!

Born in 1919, Sir Edmund Hillary, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climber to conquer Everest in the year 1953. In addition to this, he also climbed many peaks in his home country New Zealand and till date is the only man to have reached both poles and climbed the tallest peak in the world!

Here are some of the landmark moments of his life:

Road to Everest
Road to Everest
Birth of the Mountaineer
Birth of the Mountaineer
Fearless Airman
Fearless Airman

There are thousands of films released every year around the world. But very few of these are based on adventure or real-life adventure stories. And even out of those that are made, there are only a handful that actually do justice to the spirit of the theme!

This New Year, Adventure Nation recommends to you four of the finest films made on some of the most significant moments in mountaineering history.

  1. Touching the Void (2003):
    This adventure-filled documentary is based on Joe Simpson’s book of the same name. It features Simpson’s and Simon Yates’ calamitous attempt to climb Siula Grande (6,344m, 20,814ft) in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.
    This film is high on emotion and has been widely praised for its cinematography. It combines documentary footage of the interviews of the climbers along with a re-enactment of the attempt. It is highly rated on rotten tomatoes.
    Touching the Void - Movie Poster!
    Touching the Void – Movie Poster!
    Image Credits: summitpost.org

    Read more about Joe Simpson here.

  2. Everest: Beyond the Limit (2006):
    This reality television series by Discovery Channel is about the attempts made on the summit of Mount Everest every year. Russell Brice, a mountaineer from New Zealand, is the leader.
    In this season, there are 11 climbers, three guides and a group of Sherpas followed by a production crew of 17 people, during their climb in the months of April and May of 2006. We highly recommend this film to all adventure lovers for the actual footage in extreme conditions.

Jagmeet Gill and Chandan Das, triumphant in the 2013 Raid De Himalaya (time-speed-distance [TSD] category), proved themselves worthy winners of the inaugural Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally.

The three-day rally – through which the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board hopes to raise further resources to assist those affected by the floods that ravaged the Himalayan state in 2013 – saw a close contest among the country’s TSD champions. Gill, leader on day one, slipped to fifth (overall) on day two but, showing his class and experience, made up the deficit significantly on the final day. Clearly, there are few better TSD rallyists than Gill, who was driving for Team Maruti alongside co-driver Das.

Finishing runner-up was the husband-wife duo of Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza, Bangalore’s champion rallyists. Meanwhile, the pair of Ajgar Ali, from Haldia (West Bengal), and M. Mustafa, from Tamil Nadu, finished overall third in the rally, moving up from fourth a day earlier.

Rallying!
Rallying!

B. Purushottam, the Dehradun Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, was one of several government officials taking part in the rally. He expressed hope that the UACR would have a positive impact on tourism in the state. “The rally will send out a strong message that infrastructure in the state is normal, and Uttarakhand is back on (track) as a premier tourism destination,” said Purushottam.

The route taken by the rally touched some of Uttarakhand’s favourite adventure and nature destinations, among them Shivpuri (whitewater rafting), Auli (skiing) and Garjiya (on the periphery of the Jim Corbett National Park).

Skiing in India takes place mostly in the Himalayas. Owing to their great height, Himalayas make for a great Skiing destination as they offer long descents. There are 3 popular destinations for Skiing in India – Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir, Auli in Uttrakhand and Solang in Himachal Pradesh. Here is some information about these places and the infrastructure they offer for a great Skiing experience –

Book you Skiing package here

  1. Gulmarg 

Situated on a high plateau, pastoral Gulmarg, which literally means ‘Meadow of Flowers’, is home to a hill station that has few parallels in India. It boasts a picture-perfect Alpine landscape, with gardens, lakes, snow-covered mountains and (when not snowed in) lush-green vistas as far as the eye can see. Gulmarg also has one of the highest cable cars in Asia – a ride here can take your breath away, literally!

Gulmarg Image Credits: kashmirskiing.com
Skiing in beautiful Gulmarg
Image Credits: kashmirskiing.com

Gulmarg is India’s top skiing destination (8955 ft), and consistently ranked as among the world’s best. It also hosts the country’s annual Winter Games. It is surrounded by dense forests of tall conifers and snow capped mountains of the Himalayas. Today Gulmarg is acknowledged not only for its scenic surroundings, but also as the world’s highest golf course and a premier ski resort in the country.