From the mighty Himalayas to the great Thar desert, to the tropical Islands of the Andamans, and everywhere in between, there’s something for everyone when it comes to adventure activities in India.
Blessed with amazing landscapes, India has plenty to offer adrenaline junkies with thrilling adventure sports such as mountaineering, rock climbing, paragliding, caving, hot-air ballooning, white water rafting, bungy jumping, snow skiing and heli-skiing, while other fun things to do in India include wildlife safaris, trekking, hiking, cycling, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Here are the 19 best things to do in India for adventure lovers according to our experts:
A wildlife safari through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park is without a doubt one of the most exciting things to do in Assam. Especially as it is home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinos and is one of the more accessible national parks in northeast India.
The park has also been declared a tiger reserve due to the increasing (yet very elusive) population of tigers, whilst many other species such as elephants, deer and buffalo can also be found grazing or roaming around the marshland and elephant grass.
The massive Brahmaputra River offers an exhilarating experience to rafters from all across the world. The main journey starts from the Siang River in Tuting and covers a distance of more than 112 miles from Tuting to Pasighat.
Your route will take you through a terrain of secluded gorges and thick tropical rainforests with plenty of turbulent rapids along the way. This expedition promises the best white-water rafting in Assam with IV and V rapids.
Imagine looking up to see the lapis blue sky melt into the horizon, and then as you look down, seeing it merge with the Arabian Sea. There are two main destinations for paragliding in Goa: Arambol and Querim, but Arambol is more popular as it also offers professional courses in paragliding.
It’s a short trek from Arambol Beach to get to the paragliding site but the effort is definitely worth it when you’re met with a breath-taking view of the ocean bordered by a lush green landscape. You can opt for anything from 15-minute sessions to hour-long sessions.
Rarely is India thought of as a winter-sports destination; but in fact, Kashmir’s snow-capped Himalayas have some of the highest, most challenging and blissfully untouched ski slopes in the world. Gulmarg is Kashmir’s principal ski resort and is not your average alpine adventure-spot. Intrepid skiers take the world’s highest gondola up to a vertigo-inducing 13,400 feet to one of the most unmapped slopes in the world.
Meanwhile, if you are daring enough to take on the mountains from giddy heights that the gondolas can’t reach, heli-skiing is available. A helicopter will whisk you up and deposit you on top of some of the world’s most dramatic and untouched mountain-scapes for a mind blowing first descent.
Hidden away in India’s northeast corner, Meghalaya offers astonishing caves, hills, waterfalls and mountains. Some of the caves are narrow, some are tall, and some are incredibly deep, hiding otherworldly formations, rare species, and fossils from millions of years ago.
You can enjoy a teaser of this wonderful underground world at accessible caves such as Arwah and Mawsmai, while Krem Dam and Krem Riblai offer extra thrill because of their unconquered nature.
Kerala is the perfect location for a relaxing kayaking vacation. Paddling through these serene backwaters through narrow channels under the shade of the coconut palms is something you’ll always remember. It will give you the opportunity to meet local fishermen, admire the gorgeous countryside, and visit small villages that are accessible only from the water. Furthermore, if you wish to make your vacation even more memorable, book your stay in a houseboat and explore the nearby areas on a kayak.
With its majestic white palaces and royal havelis, enclosed by the Aravali ranges, and a tranquil lake at its heart, Udaipur will seduce you with its quaint old-world charm. Your helicopter pilot will fly you over the aquamarine expanses of the Lake Pichola, with views of both the White Lake Palace and the City Palace, before swooping over the Sajjan Garh Palace that was built atop a hill to watch the monsoon clouds, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake and the Neemach Mata Temple situated on the banks of the lake. The durations of the rides are from five minutes to 30 minutes.
This challenging trek to Harishchandragad, a hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, about 56 miles from Kalyan, is one of the toughest treks in the Malshej region of the Western Ghats. The fort can be approached from multiple routes. Popular among climbers and experienced trekkers, the trail involves a near 80-degree climb, involving steep rock patches.
The trail begins on a stream bed filled with large man-sized rocks and eventually leads to the foot of the gorge. In spite of carved-out niches and chiselled slits in the rock, certain sections are very challenging, and you will need to carry climbing gear.
The adventure side of the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur lies in discovering its royalty and magnificence on wheels. Visit the palaces and the bazaars, meet the artisans and taste the delicious street food. Cycle from the Nahargarh Fort along the defensive walls of the old city and relish the jaw dropping views.
Gasping to quench your thirst for adventure in the desert? Jaisalmer is the best dune bashing destination in India. If you’re yearning for an adrenaline rush, the 13- 16ft-high golden sand dunes of the Thar desert on the outskirts of the Golden City are an ideal location to feel the thrill of dune bashing and off-roading on ATV quad bikes.
If you want to witness the real charm and appeal of the desert, you must visit the golden Thar Desert of Jaisalmer. Birdwatching and sleeping under the stars in these arid areas while on a camel or jeep safari, is one of the top things to do in India.
If you’re a wildlife adventure enthusiast, Ranthambore, India’s largest National Park, in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, is an incredible destination. Enveloped by deciduous forests and grasslands, it encompasses the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and the Keladevi Sanctuary and is renowned for being one of the best parks in India to spot the majestic Indian Tigers. The park is also the home to several other endangered species.
For another fun activity in India, visit the Neemrana Fort in Rajasthan and enjoy ziplining over the fort. Neemrana is an ancient historical town in the Alwar district, home to the 5-star Fort Palace heritage hotel. Neemrana is also famous for its adventure-driven activities. The Neemrana Flying Fox adventure presents five ziplines of up to 400m long, allowing you to glide serenely over the majestic fort and the Aravalli mountain ranges, with stunning views of the Rajasthan countryside.
There are numerous locations for hot air ballooning in India, and Kamshet, near Lonavala, in the state of Maharashtra, about 60 miles from Mumbai, offers one of the best. Here, you can experience a spine-tingling flight, rising up to about 4000 feet over lush greenery, waterfalls, lakes and forts, complete with an exceptional view of the Sahyadri ranges while enjoying the sunrise or sunset. It will create a memory you’ll cherish forever.
Located at an altitude of more than 15,000 ft, the Goechala trek offers an adventure like never before. This 11-day, 56-mile trekking route is one of the oldest in the Himalayas. Starting in Yuksom, it offers astounding views of the Himalayan Range, with pictorial valleys, dense rhododendron forests and wildflowers all around.
Enjoy a moderately-graded trek to the Valley of Flowers in the state of Uttarakhand, which holds such beauty that you’ll be blown away when you see it. The quantity and the number of different species of flowers that you’ll see in the valley will depend on the season of your visit, and each week can be different, but the best time is during the months of July, August and September when many of the flowers are in full bloom.
Located at a height of 12,000ft, this World Heritage Site and National Park is also home to some rare and endangered animals, including the snow leopard, brown bear, red fox, bharal, musk deer, and Himalayan black bear.
Situated in the Deltaic region of West Bengal, Sundarbans National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the indigenous home of the Royal Bengal Tigers. It is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers, and it is also the single largest continuous habitat of the tiger anywhere in Asia, a habitat that has turned the tiger into an expert, long-distance swimmer that hunts with as much finesse in tidal currents as it does on land. Spotting the tiger here is harder than in any other forest, but wouldn’t it be amazing to see one!
Are you brave enough to throw yourself off a cliff so that you can look at the world from a different perspective? If it’s your first time, you will probably sweat out your guts in fear, but it’s worth it for the adrenaline high, which will remain with you for a long time afterwards. Mohan Chatti village, Rishikesh, in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, presents an awesome site for a bungy jump, with glorious views of the countryside in the Himalayan foothills.
In fact, this is regarded as the best bungee jumping location in India by adventurists. At 272 feet high, it is also India’s highest bungy jump, performed from a fixed cantilever platform built over a rocky cliff overlooking a tributary of the Ganges River. All your safety measures are taken care of by the experienced staff.
The underwater coastal belts surrounding the Andaman Islands are home to a dense ecosystem of coral reefs and formations, perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. Most of the islands are enclosed by long stretches of reefs, usually several hundred yards wide and separated by the shore with shallow waters and complemented by volcanic lava hills that make the experience unique and hard to find anywhere else.
Nemo Reef off the gorgeous Havelock Island is one of the best for both new and experienced divers. The rich marine life and abundant coral population at this site offers an engaging experience, where you can expect to be surrounded by vibrant fish and sea dwellers throughout your dive. The perfect blend of clear waters and low water currents ensures your dive is stress-free and safe.
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