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Need a break? Get adventurous

Tanya Munshi | May 26, 2006

Need to take a break from a demanding job?
 
Want to boost your confidence levels at work?

A good solution: escape for a week to an adventure sports camp.

We are sure your next two questions will be:

1. What if I am scared of heights or terrified of fast-moving mountain rivers?

2. How expensive is this option?

Worry not. Many professional adventure tour companies, which organise such activities today, ensure you are safe and comfortable as you enjoy the challenge of participating in a range of physical activities. You can even do this on a budget.

Interested? We bring you the lowdown and details of the packages available.

Popular adventure activities

Lt Col MK Munshi (retired), an avid adventure sport lover and a wildlife photographer based in Pune, guides us.

River rafting

A raft is a floating platform constructed by tying a series of logs together. The logs are fastened with ropes and cross-wooden planks. The challenge is to guide the raft through the rivers using poles; these poles act both as a pedal and as a rudder for steering the raft.

Rock climbing

You need to climb a rock face with your bare hands, sometimes aided with long steel pins called pitons. For safety, a rock climber is secured with a rope around his/ her waist, which is belayed (tied to a peg) by another climber at a higher altitude to protect those who are climbing after him in case of an accidental fall.

Kayaking

A kayak is a narrow, light boat intended for one or two persons. Kayakers use a double-ended paddle that acts as a rudder as well as a paddle to take the boat forward and to steer it.

In kayaking, the kayakers take the boat through fast moving mountain rivers. They negotiate difficult sections of the river or rapids (an extremely fast-moving part of a river, caused by a steep descent in the riverbed) by carrying the boat on their shoulders and walking on the banks.

Safari

This involves driving through forest and mountain roads in a four wheel drive vehicle or specially-modified vehicles. You could also ride horseback or elephant back through the wild, crossing rivers and streams in the process.

Mountaineering

Mountaineering is a great challenge -- the more difficult the ascent, the greater the challenge. Mountaineers normally go in groups, roping themselves together, with one as the leader and others following. The rope acts as a safety prop, which protects a mountaineer. In case he/she slips or falls, the others are able to pull him back with the rope.

Trekking

This involves carrying a backpack and following trails in the mountains, forests, wild meadows and so forth. You get to be close to nature and halt only at the end of the day at a forest lodge or trekker hostel. You could even takes notes or photographs of what you hear/ see along the trail.

Skiing

This activity happens on snow slopes, where the skier uses 'long runners' which he/ she wears with special shoes. The skies, or 'long runners', are made of wood or composite material.

Rappelling

This technique involves rapidly coming down a cliff using a rope. The rapeller often uses a special harness and passes a rope between his legs and over his shoulder. He slides down the cliff by pushing himself from the cliffside while sliding down the rope.

Sounds tough? Yes. But beginners can attempt all these activities.

"The degree of difficulty is based on the capabilities of the participants. Our staff is also very vigilant. The general ratio is about one instructor per 10 participants," says Christine Patham, vice president Snow Leopard Adventures, a tour company that organises adventure sports activities on a regular basis. Amongst those who have attended camps by Snow Leopard Adventures include Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev and Bollywood actor Milind Soman.

Other attractions -- wildlife

Most adventure camps tend to be located in very scenic places, so you can treat your eyes to some of the most beautiful wildlife of India.

"Spotting wildlife is an art. One requires immense patience and the ability to remain silent to be able to spot animals in the wild," says Patham. The most commonly seen fauna in a Snow Leopard Adventure camp are peacocks, barking deer, langoors and, on some occasions, leopards.

If one visits Camp Tusker, a Snow Leopard Adventure camp at the Rajaji National Park in Uttaranchal, one can even spot wild elephants, spotted deer and wild boar.

Personality development

"We all possess hidden strengths that we ourselves are sometimes unaware of, and these activities help participants gain confidence," says Patham.

In most adventure activities, the learning curve is similar to other human resource developing courses -- you are taken out of your comfort zone and pushed into the wilderness.

Certain camps -- where they may have no electricity, no mobile coverage and no television -- are a drastic change from the usual city life. At camps, you learn to adjust to new situations and overcome your fears.

Schools, colleges, IT companies, BPOs, teachers and groups from the armed forces register for adventure programmes, hoping to go through the same learning curve experienced by college students and corporate executives when they go for events geared by character building and team building activities.

Equipment and gear

Most adventure tour companies are well-equipped for such sports and activities. You just need to carry your usual clothing and toiletries and, maybe, special clothes for rafting, ie synthetic tops and trousers for women. The rest is usually provided for.

The health factor

Most tour companies lay down rules for people with certain health conditions such as pregnancy, asthma, heart trouble and so on.

"We expect participants to tell us if they are suffering from any ailment. Depending on that, we can adjust the difficulty levels and the type of activities for them," says Patham. Usually, adventure tour companies have qualified personnel, who are also trained in CPR and first-aid.

Adventure tourism and your budget

Adventure tourism is now picking up pace as against several years ago when it was not considered a sport for the common man -- people thought it was too dangerous or beyond one's budget.

Today, you are likely to find an activity that fits your budget. Just make sure you register with reliable adventure tourism companies.

You can tailor your itinerary and prices can vary depending on the nature of the trip you plan. There are special discounts for students and people from the armed forces.

Packages

i. Snow Leopard Adventures' Camp Panther, Rishikesh.

Duration: 2 nights/ 3 days

Cost: Rs 5,800

Accommodation: Safari tents

Activities include river rafting, rappelling, nature walk, swimming, rock climbing, bird watching in the surrounding areas, kayaking on a placid stretch of the river, beach games like volley ball, frisbee, tug of war, trekking and day hikes to the surrounding hills.

For further details, visit http://www.snowleopardadventures.com/camp_panther.asp

ii. Snow Leopard Adventures' LEADERS Summer Camp 2006

This camp is for children in the age group of 9 to 16 years.

Cost: Rs 8,600

Schedule:  

  • June 3 - June 9
  • June 10 - June 16
  • June 17 - June 26

Cost includes:

  • Train tickets from Delhi-Haridwar-Delhi on the non-AC Jan Shatabdi Express
  • All transport from Haridwar-Camp-Haridwar in an non-AC vehicle
  • Complete boarding and lodging at Snow Leopard Adventures camp
  • All adventure activities/ use of equipment and the services of trained outdoor instructors
  • Entry fee to Rajaji National Park

Does not include:

  • 4.08 percent service tax levied by the Government of India
  • En route expenses/ personal expenses
  • Medical and insurance covers
  • Any expenses incurred due to exigencies/ force majeure (inclusive of natural disasters, riots, acts of god, etc)

Snow Leopard Adventures Pvt Ltd
9174 Sector C-9
Vasant Kunj
New Delhi -- 110 005

Phones: (011) 26122775, 26891473, 26134554

e-mail:

Web site: www.snowleopardadventures.com

***

iii. India Outdoors' four-day Camping and Rafting on the Tons, Garhwal

Cost: Rs 6,000 per head.

Cost includes:

  • Tented accommodation on twin share
  • Rafting and trekking arrangements
  • All meals & soft drinks at the camp
  • Professional guide fee, camp staff and cook

Does not include:

  • Rail fare (approximately Rs 1,000 both ways from Delhi)
  • Transfers by car from Dehradun onwards by car/ jeep to the camp and back.

India Outdoors
169/C Outhouse Neelkant Niwas
Dr Ambedkar Road
Dadar TT
Mumbai -- 400 014

Phones: (022) 24186360, 24102446, 30948621

e-mail: info@indiaoutdoors.com

Web site: www.indiaoutdoors.com

***

iv. Pugmarks Holidays' 12-day Manali Trek

Cost: Rs 10,100

Cost includes:

  • Pune-Delhi-Pune sleeper class train fare.
  • Delhi-Manali-Delhi by chartered bus.
  • Freshly cooked food at campsite.
  • Tented accommodation with sleeping bags, carry mats and blankets.
  • Trekking/ activity equipment and fees of resource persons.
  • Practise treks in Pune.
  • Pre and post-camp get-together and a gift.

Does not include:

  • Meals during travel Pune-Manali and Manali-Pune.
  • Personal expenses such as telephones, cold drinks, mineral water, laundry, porter charges, etc.
  • Insurance of any kind.
  • Medical, hospitalisation and related expenses.
  • Any item not covered under the head cost includes.

Pugmarks Holidays
595, Deccan Gymkhana
Nandadeep Building
Behind Sai Petrol Pump
Pune -- 411 004

Phones: (020) 56014112, 56014113, 09822267648

e-mail: pugmarks@vsnl.net , pugmarkspune@eth.net

Web site: http://www.pugmarksholidays.com/

***

v. Aquaterra Adventures' four-day Camp Kuflon Basics.

Cost: Rs 4,600

Cost includes:

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis
  • All meals, soft drinks
  • Escort for birdwatching and day hikes

Does not include:

  • Transport
  • Laundry or expenses of personal nature such as batteries, film rolls etc.
  • Service tax

Aquaterra Adventures (India) Pvt Ltd
S-507
Ground Floor
Greater Kailash - II
New Delhi -- 110 048

Phones:

  • (011) 29212641, 29212760, 51636101
  • (0) 9811103831, 9868244275

e-mail: aquatera@vsnl.com

Web site: http://www.treknraft.com/

***

More tour companies

Himadventures
No 105, Sector 70
Mohali
Chandigarh

e-mail: info@himadventures.net, webmaster@himadventures.net

Web site: http://www.himadventures.net/

***

Adventure Hills
C1- 2838 (GF)
Sushant Lok 1
Gurgaon

Phones:

  • (0124) 2574435, 5514503
  • (0) 9810809047, 9891955061

Web site: http://www.adventurehills.com

***

Great Indian Outdoors
6086 - B-8,
Vasant Kunj,
New Delhi
India -- 110 070

Phones: (011) 26891626, 26897573, 30935998

e-mail: info@greatindianoutdoors.com

Gurgaon office
A-287 (Basement)
South City 1
Gurgaon -- 122 002

Phone: (0124) 4081500

e-mail: info@gio.in

Bangalore office
Great Indian Outdoors
GC, Ramanachala Apartments
Banaswadi Road
Bangalore -- 560 059

Phones:

  • (080) 41253024
  • (0)9880175753

e-mail: blore@gio.in

Do you enjoy adventure sports? Have you dabbled in any of these activities? Share your experiences and tips.

Don't forget to mention your age, location , profession and contact number.

With inputs from Seema Pant



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Number of User Comments: 1




Sub: adventure

Its really nice to see this information. I am very intrested in sports. Please provide the information near to hyderabad also


Posted by Chatanya




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