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.
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.
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
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.
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 the evening.
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 every
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 district.
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.
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
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.
WATER AND RIVER SPORTS
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Mountaineering Association)
Himachal also hosts a Winter Festival and Snow Carnival. Tobogganing
is possible in winter. Various water sports competitions are also
hosted. Especially during the monsoons at Naldera, several golf
tournaments are held. Angling and para-gliding competitions are also
hosted in the state.