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Adventures with Nature is fast becoming a popular leisure activity
The Green Life
By Daphne D'Gama

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India is fast emerging as one of the most popular adventure tourism destinations in the world. Owing to India’s topographical diversity, India offers immense opportunities for an adventure traveler, who is ready for a variety of lifetime experiences. If North India offers wonderful opportunities for trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, skiing and river rafting, south India is perfect for water sports.

If you are a die-hard adventure enthusiast you could try out a wide range of sports and visit new places. For those who enjoy physically challenging tasks there is mountaineering - which include trekking, rock climbing, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, Para jumping, skiing, adventure trails, camping and general climbing (ice, rock and snow). For all those who dreamed of flying and soaring high in the sky there are aero-sports like paragliding, hang-gliding and parasailing.

There are water sports too - canoeing, surfing, kayaking, yachting, river rafting, long-distance swimming, wind surfing, scuba diving and sea explorations. If all these seem too dangerous there are ‘less risky’ outdoor activities like cave explorations, nature studies, adventure camps, cycling, desert treks, survival courses, scientific explorations, coastal treks, obstacle courses, rescue operation courses and wildlife safaris.
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Charlie Liang, Kolkata-based freelance Chinese interpreter, says, “I went for a five day rock-climbing course to Susunia Hills, West Bengal in February 2009, organised by South Calcutta Trekker’s Association. We learnt rock climbing techniques, knots, rope coiling, survival strategies and lots more… the experience cannot be described in words. It was a good experience living in the heart of nature. Through such activities you can let out your spirit of adventure and the sense of achievement (when you climb up to the top) is simply amazing!”

Karo Christine Kumar, Senior Reporter for The Telegraph, took a break from her work and attended a week-long trekking trip to Sandakphu, North Bengal, along with two other friends. It cost approximately Rs. 5000 per head. Karo said, “Trekking is not as easy as it seems…it is strenuous for amateurs. But never the less it was a lot of fun!” Adventure tourism is “Very unexplored,” says Karo when asked what she feels about adventure tourism in India.

Loreto College students, Malini and Shibani Roy never have enough of adventure! The daring twins have been for several camps, excursions, rock climbing and sea exploration courses.
They have been on more than eight trekking and nature camps to Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim from the age of nine. Their most recent adventures were at a five-day Rock Climbing Course in Purulia, West Bengal, held in January 2009. It was organised by Adventurer Club. The group of 30-odd people comprised of school and college students, office goers and families. There were theory and practical sessions on basic rock climbing, survival strategies, mountaineering equipment as well as cooking skills, first aid and rescue techniques.

They also enjoyed a four day Marine Awareness Course in May 2009, at Outram Ghat, Kolkata, organised by Sea Explorers’ Institute, a not-for-profit organisation funded by the government. The fee for this course was 25 rupees only. They learnt boating, rowing, kayaking, swimming, diving, water rescue techniques, navigational astronomy and first aid and were also shown the interiors of a ship. “We are passionately fond of adventure! Through these experiences we learn to respect nature and we get satisfaction from achieving difficult tasks!” says Shibani. “We want to try out parasailing, scuba diving and bungee jumping next!” adds Malini excitedly.

Mr. Sahir M. Latif, CEO of Silent Valley (Wilderness) Tours said “We organise national and international trips which encourage mountaineering, aero-sports and water sports. We have regular mountaineering excursions in the Himalayas and water sports in Daman and Diu, Dev Bag islands, Karnataka, and Meghalaya.” They also organise rock climbing and trekking camps for corporate companies which encourages working adults to take a break from the “antiseptic boardroom” and “face challenges on the rocks!” Adventure tourism draws the young and old from various walks of life to experience the wonders of nature and the thrill of achieving challenges. “I felt like Spiderman!” exclaims Malini “and more people need to feel that feeling!!”
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South Calcutta Trekkers Association
14, Chakraberia Lane, Kolkata - 700020, India
E-Mail: scta83@hotmail.com Website: www.scta.in
Mobile: 9831182050

Sea Explorers’ Institute
Outram Ghat, Kolkata - 700021, India
Website: www.seiindia.org
Phone: 91-33-22488468

Silent Valley (Wilderness) Tours
15, Karaya Road, 1st floor, Kolkata – 700017 Email: silent@vsnl.net Website: www.lesserknownindia.com
Phone: 91-33-22802893, 64501753

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