Adventure Sports in Kullu
The beautiful alpine meadows, dense forests, brimming streams and snowy mountains make it one of the best places in India for adventure sports like mountaineering, hiking, trekking, skiing, paragliding, white water river rafting and camping. The thrill of skiing down a steep mountain or rafting in the white waters of River Beas or climbing the beautiful glaciers and mountains of the Himalayas cannot be experienced anywhere else in the country.
Kullu is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers. Thousands of adventurists and tourists from all over the world descend to this lovely town for the experience of a lifetime. Be it any season, Kullu Valley offers some of the best adventure sports in India. However, ensure that you are completely physically fit and do not suffer from any major illnesses before trying any of these sports.
Popular Adventure Sports in Kullu ValleyHere are some famous adventure sports offered in Kullu Valley:
White Water River RaftingRafting on River Beas in Kullu Valley has become a very popular adventure sport. With high waves and rapid waters, River Beas offers the tourists a very exciting rafting experience. Rafting trips usually start in Pirdi, which is just 3 kilometers from Kullu, where a famous water sports center has been set up to provide guides and rafting equipments to the tourists.
River Beas offers exciting Grade II and Grade III rapids, providing a thrilling experience to the adventurists. Rafting season usually start from Mid-April to Mid-June and Mid-September to Mid-October, depending on the arrival of the monsoon season. The entire stretch is about 14 kilometers and starts at Pirdi all the way down to Jhiri and can take from one to two hours to complete the entire journey.
There are many private companies in Kullu that offer a safe rafting experience to the tourists. Each of them provides the required equipments and gears including a life jacket and a helmet. Rafting commences at 10 am in the morning and can take from a few hours to an entire day. It is recommended that guests carry an extra pair of clothes with them.
Besides rafting, kayaking is also another popular water sport offered at River Beas. The Mountaineering Institute of Allied Sports, situated in Manali, offers a two-week kayaking trip in October.
SkiingKullu Valley is known for its world-class skiing facilities, which can be availed by both amateur and professional skiers. Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass offer the best slopes near Kullu. Beginners can either hire a professional trainer from the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports or any other agency registered with the tourism department of Kullu.
While the main skiing season in Kullu starts from the month of December till the month June, skiing facilities are available throughout the year in Rohtang Pass. Some of the best slopes can be found at Bhrigu near Hamta. There are also many skiing courses and national and international level competitions held in Solang Valley near Kullu every year.
Heli-Skiing is also possible in Kullu Valley. It is relatively a new adventure sport and is gaining a lot of popularity over here. It is a sport where the skiers are dropped from a helicopter on a mountain with ridges as high as 18,000 feet. For safety, this sport is always conducted in a group of three or more skiers with a professional guide. Since Heli-Skiing requires a lot of snow, it is only possible during the peak season, that is, during winters. There are many private companies that offer lucrative packages for Heli-Skiing in Kullu Valley.
MountaineeringBlessed with a rocky terrain, Kullu Valley is famous for the sport of mountaineering. The renowned Mountaineering Institute in Manali is known for offering various basic and advance climbing and trekking courses for both Indians and foreigners. It also provides trekking equipments for hire to the climbers. Other courses offered here include minor mountaineering, skiing, rock-climbing, high-altitude trekking and rescue and relief courses. It also has accommodation arrangements for people looking for long-term courses.
Due to its mountainous region, Kullu Valley offers a challenging playground for the adventurists. With peaks as high as 20,000 feet, many famous mountaineers from all over the world often come here. The beautiful untouched snow clad mountains of Kullu provide easy access to various base camps along with low-cost expeditions, which attracts several climbers from everywhere.
Many famous climbers from Kullu and Manali include Dicky Dolma, Radha Devi, Deepu Sharma and Prem Chand. All of them reserve a very special place in the hall of fame of the mountaineering institute in Manali. Deo Tibba (19,688 feet), Beas Kund Region and the lower ridges of Hanuman Tibba (19,455 feet) are some popular mountaineering areas for beginners, while Beas Kund, Malana and Chandertal are more popular among expert ice climbers.
Adventurists and skilled professionals can also try their hand at Mountain Biking in Kullu. It is another popular adventure sport over here. Bikes, helmets and guided tours are easily available for hire from Rohtang-La.
TrekkingSurrounded by immense beauty, snow-clad mountains, lush greenery, rocky terrains and verdant valleys, trekking in and around Kullu Valley is definitely a breathtaking experience. Most of the routes over here pass through rugged paths, deep forests and gorgeous valleys with abundant greenery and beautiful brimming streams and brooks. One can even visit the several old temples that come along the way. These routes are easy enough for beginners and tough enough to provide a thrilling experience for the experts.
The best time to go for a trek in Kullu is from April to June and from September to October, when the weather is at its best. The tourist department of Himachal Pradesh has collaborated with the Department of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Manali to offer several great and reasonable trekking tours. The charges usually include equipment, meals, porters, medical facilities and guides for approved high altitude routes. Moreover, there are also many rest houses that can be arranged through the Divisional Forest Office or the PWD of that area.
Some popular trek routes around Kullu include Beas Kund Trek (May to October, 4 Days), Bijlimahadev – Malana – Chanderkhani Pass (May to October, 7 Days), Chandratal Trek (Mid-June to September, 6/7/12 Days), Chanderkhani – Malana – Khirganga (May to October, 7 Days), Lamayuru (July to September, 22 Days), Padum Trek (Mid June to Mid October, 10 Days) and Pin Valley Trek (Mid-July to September, 13 Days).
Even though all the trekking equipment is easily available in Kullu, it is best to carry important items such as sunglasses, rug sack, headgear, water bottle, sleeping bag, umbrella, rope, gloves, medical equipment, torch, batteries, snacks and other things. Always wear comfortable walking shoes and carry waterproof jackets and extra pair of warm socks with you on treks. Keep in mind food products like vegetables, milk and fresh fruits are always in short supply and more expensive as you go on higher trails.
ParaglidingImagine sailing through the blue skies, over the mountainous region of Kullu, and feeling the rush of adrenaline coursing through your veins as you soar through the mountains. This is what happens during paragliding. Even though it is still upcoming, the high hills Kullu have become a famous launch site for this glorious sport.
There are usually two kinds of flights – short flights and high flying. Short flights are mostly undertaken by amateurs and beginners, where the client is taken up to a height of just 500 feet in a two-seat paraglider along with a professional. The flight usually lasts not more than 60 to 90 seconds and is done on a Tandem Glider, where the maneuvering is done by the pilot only. High flying is a 20 to 30 minute flight and is mainly for experienced paragliders who have done several short flights.
Paragliding is offered in Kullu throughout the year, however May to June and September to October is the best time for it. Solang Valley, Marhi, Bijli Mahadev, Fatru and Bhaikhali (9 kilometers from Kullu) are some popular paragliding sites near Kullu. Bijli Mahadev can be reached via your own vehicle and has landing sites at Bhunter Airport and Dhalpur Ground. It is advisable to undertake paragliding services only through registered operators. Also, always ask for the registration license from the pilot and wear shoes with ankle support and a light jacket, as the weather can get quite cold up there.
Jeep SafarisJeep Safaris are among the best ways to thoroughly explore the remote regions of Kullu and Manali. It is a great way to witness the untouched beauty of the mountains including the deep river valleys, fruit laden apple orchards, snow-covered mountain peaks, thunderous waterfalls, brimming lakes and verdant meadows.
Several private local tour operators offer the high powered Maruti-Suzuki Jeeps along with experienced drivers to destinations like Kinnaur, Ladakh, Spiti Valley and Lahaul from Kullu. These safaris take you through one of the highest mountain range in the country – Rohtang Pass to Lahaul, Baralacha La (15,846 feet), Lacha Lung La (16,617 feet), Tanglung La (17,858 feet) and finally Leh in Ladakh. The entire journey consists of several spectacular and breathtaking sights. One can even hire a jeep safari to the rugged valley of Spiti, which is another popular road safari from Kullu.
The best time for a Jeep Safari is between the months of July and October, when the weather is quite pleasant. Jeep Safari tours are the best way to explore the unpolluted and pure environment around Kully Valley.
CampingEven though camping is not technically a sport, but there is nothing more adventurous and exciting than setting up camp in the middle of a dense forest and spending the night under a sky full of stars. The immense beauty coupled with the gush of cool breeze takes you away from all the tension and stress of everyday life.
Campers can either bring their own tents or join a camp run by the Youth Hostel Association of India. The best time for camping in Kullu is from April to Mid-June and from Mid-September to Mid-October. Some popular campsites around Kullu include Solang Valley, Raison (13 kilometers from Kullu), Beas Kund Camp and Shoja in Banjar Valley.
While Solang Valley, Manali Camp and Kothi campsites offers great accommodation amidst beautiful apple orchids and is perfect for beginners, Shoja and Raison campsites are more high-altitude and for experienced campers. Apart from these, other popular campsites near Kullu are Pulga, Malana and Kheer Gangain.
There are several tour operators that organize camping trips in Kullu Valley. They offer different kinds of packages, which may include various amenities including tents, professional guides, food, bonfires and lodging. It is strongly advised that each camper brings warm clothes with them, especially during the months of April and October.