So here is something that we all have felt at some point in our lives. At some point in our lives we have craved for that adrenalin rush. Pure unadulterated adrenalin flowing through the body giving a feeling of being on top of the world, a feeling of being full of positive energy and enthusiasm.
Yes, we’re talking about the same feeling which comes from the thrill of challenging your limits, of experiencing something for the first time and of being astounded by nature in all its glory.
Here are 18 of our favorite adventures in India which have made us feel that way.
1. Skiing in Gulmarg (Jammu & Kashmir)
The setting is ideal and the place is spectacularly beautiful. A thick blanket of snow covers everything. Everywhere you see, there is tonnes of snow and people in their skiing attire add a dash of color to the white landscape.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or an advance skier, the ski slopes of Gulmarg will challenge your limits to the maximum.
Best time to go: From around 25th December to around 15th March. There are seasonal variations to this timing, so be sure to check the snow conditions before you catch that flight.
How to get there: The best way is to take a flight to Srinagar airport which is well connected on the airlines network. From Srinagar, Gulmarg is a 1.5 to 2 hours drive away.
Whats awesome: Beginner and intermediate skiing classes and advance back country powder skiing for advance skiers.
Every winter, GoMissing runs beginner, intermediate courses and fun skiing trips to Gulmarg. Check them out here: http://gomissing.in/skiing
2. Cycling from Manali to Leh (Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh)
If mountain biking your kind of thing, this trip should be on your bucket list. The terrain and scenery here cannot be compared to anything else in the world. On this route you will encounter mighty passes above 5,000 meters which will test you in every possible way and you will ride down massive slopes which will scare the life out of you.
A true test of physical, mental and emotional endurance this is a must do ride at least one in your life.
Best time to go: June to September (September will be quite cold though).
Getting there: Start from Manali and take about 12-14 days to ride to Ladakh. Add some spice to it by taking a detour to Tso Moriri and add about 5-6 more days to the trip.
Prepare: Accommodations are few and far between, at places you will get small tented accommodations which will gladly put you up for the night. But be prepared with a camping tent and a -10 degrees sleeping bag. Make sure you’re in top physical shape and do carry your medi-kit with you.
See pictures and posts from our Ladakh cycling expedition here: http://gomissing.in/travel-stories/tag/mountain-biking-in-ladakh/
3. Cycling from Shimla to Manali via Kinnaur and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh)
Another adventure which is comparable to the Ladakh cycling expedition is this one. The terrains are simply incredible. While on the Ladakh trip, you will be riding through a cold desert terrain, on the Kinnaur Spiti expedition you will ride from a lush green valley to a cold desert. Accommodation (very very basic) is available through out. You might need to cover long distances on some days (about 100Kms) which can have some grueling uphills to reach your next stop. People, wherever you find them, are awesome and they will gladly let you crash for the night at their place.
Best time to go: June to October (In September, October it will be quite cold, July and August get rains in Kinnaur, while Spiti will be dry throughout)
Getting there: Start from Shima and take about 14-16 days to ride through Kinnaur and Spiti and end in Manali. Add some absolutely stunning landscapes by taking a detour to Sangla valley and Kapla village in Kinnaur and Dhankar, Ki monastery, Langza, Komic villages in Spiti and if you want even more awesomeness, add a few days of riding in the Pin valley national park. The additional excursions can add another 15-18 days to the ride.
Add more madness, and ride directly to Ladakh from Lahaul valley after completing this trip.
Prepare: Very basic accommodation is available and people will gladly put you up for the night. But be prepared with a camping tent and a decent sleeping bag.
4. Cycling downhill from Khardung-la to Leh (Ladakh)
Short on time and want a thrilling downhill? Simply get one of the agencies in Leh town to get a mountain bike up to Khardung-la on a jeep and ride down from there. The distance is 40Kms out of which 16Kms from Khardung-la to South pullu (check point) is a dirt track and the rest is tarmac.
Add some madness to it, instead of taking the road/ dirt track, ride off road and make it an absolutely thrilling single track downhill ride. This is for advance riders only.
Getting there: Leh has a domestic airport which is well connected on various airline networks. The flight from Delhi to Leh is about an hour and fifteen minutes long.
By road: Manali to Leh by buses/ shared cabs or from Srinagar to Leh by buses/ shared cabs. Both drives take about 2 days to complete.
Best time to go: May to October 1st week. Check conditions of the road to Khardung-la before going.
5. Cycling in Uttarakhand
The entire state has lots of back roads for the novice & intermediate rider and single tracks for the intermediate & advance riders.
For the single tracks, heads towards the Tons river side (Mori village) and you will be rewarded to no end. The single tracks here run through meadows, have obstacles like trees and boulders and awesome jumps all over. For the pure bred adrenalin seeking mountain biker, this place is a gift from god.
On the back roads, there are lots of small hotels and lodges which can be used as a base to explore villages, meadow areas and beautiful camping grounds. These back roads do not have much traffic and are a beautiful way to explore the little known corners of Uttarakhand.
Getting there: From Delhi, there are a number of trains running to Haridwar, Dehradoon (For Garhwal side) and Kathgodam for the Kumaon side.
Best time to go: Avoid the Monsoons as there are landslides and roadblocks all over the state. Other than that anytime of the year is good.
Keen on exploring Uttarakhand on mountain bikes, check out this trip (easy grade, tarmac ride): http://gomissing.in/trip/mountain-biking-chopta/
6. Valley of flowers trek (Uttarakhand)
Nature’s beauty knows no bounds at this surreal ecosystem. The valley of flowers is a vast meadow, flanked by snow covered mountains on all sides, filled with flowers of a thousand colors. The fragrances and the beauty of this valley will leave you spellbound and you will be mesmerized by this creation of nature.
Best time to go: Millions of flowers bloom in the monsoon months of July and August. Your travel plans may get disrupted thanks to landslides, so it is best to budget 1-2 extra days for this trip. The minimum duration from Haridwar to Haridwar is 6 days.
Getting there: Haridwar is very well connected to major Indian cities by road and rail. The Jolly Grant airport at Dehradoon is also well connected. From Haridwar/ Dehradoon, the base of the trek Govindghat is a 10 hour drive by shared jeeps.
For a detailed account and pictures of valley of flowers, see this link: http://gomissing.in/travel-stories/category/travel/uttarakhand/valley-of-flowers/
7. Kuari pass trek (Uttarakhand)
For people who are keen to start trekking, the Kuari Pass trek is the perfect starting trek. Over a short duration of 4 days, you will get to walk across lush green meadows, cross dense forests, camp by a beautiful mountain lake, if you’re lucky you will get to see a mountain whose shadow looks exactly like the profile of a human being, get to climb a lofty peak known as Pangarchula (if weather conditions permit) and get a gorgeous panoramic view of the highest mountains of the Himalayas.
Best time: May 3rd week to December 1st week, except the monsoons. If you’re planning to go in the Autumn/ Winter months, do check the weather conditions before hand. we have encountered snow in the month of November on one of the treks and had crisp clear weather in December another time.
Getting there: Get to Haridwar, and from there to Joshimath. Crash at the GMVN at Joshimath and start the trek from Auli which is a short drive away.
If you prefer to go for an organized trek, check out our fixed departures to Kuari pass here: http://gomissing.in/trip/kuari-pass-trek/
8. Goecha-la trek (Sikkim)
Image source: http://aschwarzman.blogspot.in/2008/05/03-may-2008-goecha-la-trek-day-8_2.html
This is one of the most beautiful treks in the Eastern Himalayas. The trail starts from the quaint town of Yuksom in West Sikkim and goes across dense forests in the beginning which give way to the vast open meadows and finally leads to the rocky terrain of Goecha La. The trek can be completed in about 8 days. So budget about 10 days for the trek. If you would really like to enjoy the scenery and the sights of this part of India, take it slow and budget about 12 days.
For foreign nationals, the logistics get a bit confusing. Firstly, you cannot trek alone on this trail. You need atleast one more person. Secondly, you will need permits from Gangtok for this trek. You also cannot trek on your own, you have to go with a trekking agency. The agency will organize the permits for your trek.
For Indian trekkers, you have to pay the permit fee which usually amounts to around 700/- on the day you start the trek. This fee can be paid in Yuksom itself.
For Indian and foreign nationals, make sure you carry your identity papers with you and have 3-4 photocopies of the same as you might need to submit these at various points.
The trek grade is easy to moderate and first timers can complete it easily. However, do note that it is still a trek and lack of fitness can really ruin your experience.
Best time to go: April, May, September and October. Go in April & May to see the Rhododendrons in full bloom (Especially in the first 2 weeks of May). The forest becomes a riot of colors during those months. Go in September/ October for crisp blue skies.
Getting there: Fly to Bagdogra airport which is well connected on the airlines network or take the train to New Jalpaiguri which is well connected on the Indian Railways network. From here you can get a transport to Yuksom quite easily.
Prepare: You don’t need to buy rations or anything from elsewhere and carry them along. You will be able to buy whatever you need at Yuksom and you can hire a team of porters, yaks and a cook from Yuksom.
9. Pin Bhaba trek – from a lush green valley in Kinnaur to the cold desert of Spiti (Himachal Pradesh)
Stark contrasts and changing scapes make this one a memory of a life time. You start this trek from the lush green Kinnaur valley and end up in a barren cold desert called the Pin valley which is a part of Spiti.
In Kinnaur, you will trek through dense forests and alongside several rivers and stream, and after crossing the Bhaba pass at 4,850 meters, you will descend into the Pin Valley. The sight from the Bhaba pass and everywhere on the trek are nothing short of spectacular.
Best time to go: June, Mid September to end of October.
Getting there: Is a bit of a challenge. The nearest road and rail head is Chandigarh. From there it is a 3 days drive to get to Kafnu in Bhaba valley which is the starting point of the trek.
What makes it awesome: Stunning landscapes, camping by rivers and the area which is back of the beyond and then some more!
Check out our Pin Bhaba trek fixed departures here: http://gomissing.in/trip/pin-bhaba-trek/
10. Trek to Satopanth taal (Lake) – Uttarakhand
History, myth and legend surround this entire area. It is said that the Pandavas after the Mahabharata war trekked on this route to the gates of heaven. The name of the Satopanth trek comes from there. Sato panth means path of truth and Swargarohini is the gates of heaven. The trek is the path of truth to the gates of heavens. Another legend says that on the Ekadashi night, each corner of the triangular Satopanth taal is occupied by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and they take a holy dip in this sacred lake.
The trek is challenging and is recommended for people who have trekked before. You will need all your stamina and fitness to complete this one successfully.
Getting there: From Haridwar, you can get shared jeeps and buses which will drop you off at Badrinath. The drive is about 11-12 hours long. 3 Kms ahead of Badrinath is the small village called Mana from where this trek starts. Trek duration is 5 days.
Best time to go: 3rd week of May and June and again from Mid September to end October. Check weather conditions before you head out.
See our fixed departures for the Satopanth trek here: http://gomissing.in/trip/satopanth-trek/
11. Trekking to the living root bridges & swimming in natural pools of Meghalaya
Ancestral knowledge of the natural is said to be way more advanced than modern science. While our ancestors learned to live in harmony with nature, modern science has learned to exploit natural resources.
A stark example of that is the living root bridges of Meghalaya. There is a paticular species of rubber tree (Ficus Elastica) which grows in Meghalaya. The roots of these trees are tied together and trained to grow in a particular direction. By doing this, people have been able to train the roots to run from one side of a river or a gorge to the other side. Several of these bridges can take the weight of over 50 people at the same time, and are used by villagers to commute in villages around Cherrapunjee. The strength of these bridges increases by the day and they are said to have a lifespan of 500 to 600 years. The root bridge takes about 15-20 years to get functional.
Trekking to these bridges is beautiful. The village life, culture and the warmth of the people here will give you a heart warming feeling.
Near the double Decker bridges, there are natural pools of blue water. A swim in these is almost therapeutic.
Getting there: Nearest airport and rail head is in Guwahati in Assam. From Guwahati, a hired cab will drive you to Shillong or Cherrapunji.
Best time to go: October to March for the treks and for swimming in the forest pools.
Stay: The best option is to stay in Cherrapunji which is away from the hustle and bustle of Shillong. From Cherrapunji, several root bridges like the Ummunoi bridge, double decker bridges and several others are a short trek away.
12. Caving in Meghalaya
Meghalaya may not be typically associated with adventure, but one of our most memorable adventures has been in this North Eastern state of India.
For the adventure enthusiast, caving is a thrilling sport. From easy caving to vertical descends of over 40 feet into the cave, Meghalaya has them all. These cave systems are among the deepest in India and some of them stretch up to 7 Kms in length. Some caves require rappelling down 40 feet high cliffs, contorting and squeezing your body to get inside tiny entrances, belly crawling sections, swimming through lakes, walking on rocky ledges along side streams inside caves. The stalactite and stalagmite formations here are astounding and you will feel like you’re in a different world altogether. All in all, an incredible experience.
Best time to go: Avoid the monsoons altogether if you want to do caving. October to March are the best times for caving. For the rains, head to Cherrapunji in the monsoons, it gets very beautiful.
For your adventures in Cherrapunjee, connect with Mr. Denis Rayen who has painstakingly created a beautiful resort there. http://www.cherrapunjee.com/ You will absolutely love the ambiance of the place and the lovely hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Rayen. We spent a delightful week with them and did not want to come back.
13. Road trip to Ladakh
The quintessential road adventure, this trip is best experienced slowly with a nice camera. Take your time and explore the barren cold desert terrains of Ladakh with a good camera, lots of warm clothes and a huge smile. The terrain is rough and there are long stretches of road where you won’t find a single soul.
The trip requires a minimum 9 days, but if you really want to immerse yourself in the beauty of this landscape, even 15 days isn’t enough. Spend a day or two with the nomadic Yak herders of Tso Moriri and stay in the village with one of the locals, or head to the Nubra valley and explore those lofty mountains on foot, or head towards Alchi and Lamayuru to feel what it would be like to walk on the Moon. At the sand dunes of Hunder in the Nubra valley, don’t forget to go for a camel ride on the double humped Bactrian camels.
You will come back extremely happy after this adventure. For the daring, get out your mountain bikes and ride these terrains, next best options are to drive there yourself, or ride there on a motorbike.
Best time to go: The passes open up in May/ June and remain open till about 1st week of October. To avoid the rush of tourists in Leh, go there in September and 1st week of October. For a truly off beat experience, check out the festival calendar of the monasteries of Leh and attend one of the winter festivals near Leh.
Getting there: The road trip is best experienced from Manali to Leh via Tso Moriri and round it up with a drive from Leh to Srinagar.
Accommodation: Basic along the route, tented campsites at Tso Moriri, Pangong Tso, Nubra valley and other places. Leh has all level of accommodations and is quite touristy.
Get in touch with us for a customized trip to Ladakh: firstname.lastname@example.org
14. Road trip from Shimla to Manali via Kinnaur and Spiti valley – Himachal Pradesh
The ultimate adventure in this region is on mountain bikes or by trekking from Kinnaur to Spiti across the Bhaba pass. The next best is to get into a jeep and drive across Kinnaur and Spiti. You can add a detour to Sangla valley and spend a few days by the blue waters of the Baspa river.
All over Kinnaur and Spiti you can head out for day treks and spend time with monks in monasteries.
See our Spiti road trips which cover the best of Spiti: http://gomissing.in/trip/spiti-road-trip/
15. Scuba diving in Andamans
Image source: http://www.andamandivecenter.com/
The clear blue ocean waters and Coral reefs of Andamans offer a visually breathtaking experience. You will get a chance to swim with colorful fishes and marine life of all kinds. These Coral reefs and their inhabitants are beautiful.
Whether you’re a serious diver willing to invest your time in learning diving or you’re a casual diver, Andamans have the right kind of dives from PADI certified lessons to casual dives.
Getting there: Regular flights operate from Chennai and Kolkata. If you have the time, you could go to Andamans by ship from these places.
Best time to go: Winters are very very good, but also attract a large number of tourists. Head there in the beginning of the season, or just when the season is getting over.
16. Snorkling & Diving in Nethrani – Karnataka
Image source: http://ashika-sripathi.blogspot.in/2013/05/scuba-dive-at-netrani-islands.html
A hidden wonder on the Indian adventure map, Netrani is an idyllic location for snorkeling and scuba diving. The island lies about 10 nautical miles off the coast. Depth of the water near the island is about 40 meters and has visibility up to 30 meters at some places.
A snorkeling or a diving trip to Netrani is sure to show you some rare marine wildlife and promises to be an awesome experience.
17. Rafting the Tons river – Uttarakhand
Now that you’ve done the usual rafting at Rishikesh, it is time to explore other rivers of Uttarakhand. The Tons river which lies in western part of Uttarakhand bordering Himachal Pradesh, is a promising source of adrenalin rush. Unlike the Ganges which has a big rapid and then a long calm section which may get boring after a couple of times, the Tons is one non-stop rapid. All along the Tons, you will encounter almost non stop grade 3 and 3+ rapids. Additionally, the river is shallow, is very fast moving and requires strong paddling, all of these add to the super adrenalin rush you will experience when you raft down the Tons.
In addition to the rapids, the hikes to forest pools and the atmosphere of the valley will make you want to come back here again and again. It certainly helps that the place is very un-touristy.
Read more about rafting the Tons and the Jaunsar Bawar region (where the Tons lies): http://gomissing.in/travel-stories/category/travel/uttarakhand/tons-river/ and http://gomissing.in/travel-stories/category/travel/uttarakhand/jaunsar-bawar/
18. Kayaking on the Alaknanda river – Uttarakhand
To truly enjoy Kayaking you will need to spend time learning the sport. Once you have learned the sport, the thrill of Kayaking down a river is truly incomparable. A small grade 2 rapid looks like a giant wave coming at you and negotiating this wave feels nothing less than climbing the mount Everest. As you advance your Kayaking skills, you can paddle down the Alaknanda river which is relatively easy and feel like you’ve just come back after a major conquest. For advance Kayakers, there is the upper Alakananda which has several grade 4 rapids.
Still reading? We think it is time for you to pack your bags and head out for an adventure. After all, what story would you like to remember when you’re old? The awesome adventurous life you lead or the corporate boardroom battles?
Choose from one of our upcoming adventures. Click on the button below.