Saturday, January 30, 2010

Adventures in the Himalayas

The Himalaya Mountains are the majestic and mystical crown of northern India. For every pilgrim that travels to India to bathe in the spiritual waters of the Ganges, there is an adventurer and explorer looking for extreme sports and thrill-seeking activities in the most famous mountain range in the world. Nevertheless, it is India after all, and even these extreme adventures have a Zen-like quality, as the snow-capped mountains and sweeping scenic vistas are transcendental. In India, extreme sports lead to extreme contemplation. It is certainly is not like bungee jumping at the local theme park.

Up in the Himalayas, the crowds and kaleidoscope of colours and noise in Mumbai or Calcutta feel like they belong to another country, if not an entirely different century. Trekking this mountain range, it looks and feels as if you have reached the outer-perimeter of the world.

Buddhist temples and Hindu shrines are tucked into the crooks of mountains, their roofs obscured in fog and bands of mist. It is a perfect balance of nature, religion and civilization. When India’s big cities are blanketed with heat and humidity, the Himalayas are cool and rejuvenating. From hiking and backpacking to rafting and motor biking, this rugged and beautiful section of India abounds with adventure activities. The Himalayas redefine the idea of the great outdoors, and a Himalayan tour is an ideal package for both the casual nature lover and the hardcore sport enthusiast.

If you are planning a trip to the Himalayas, then it is imperative that you plan your holiday according to the weather. The last thing that you want on your holiday is to be holed up inside your hotel during the rainy season, or unable to hike or camp because of the knee-deep snow.

June, September and October are the best months in which to visit the Himalaya region. These are considered the warm months. The temperature might be cold at night, but the hiking trails should be free of snow and easily passable.

The Great Himalayan National Park, located in the western state of Himachal, offers a wide and spectacular range of outdoor activities and adventures. You can set up camp, hike easy or difficult trails, go rafting or rent a mountain or motor bike. However, the most popular activity in the park is the safari tour. Pile into a jeep and a knowledgeable tour guide will navigate you through a range of natural habitats, where you will see everything from Bengal tigers and Indian lions to camels and elephants.

Whether you prefer mountaineering, hiking, skiing or mountain biking, the Himalayan region has something for everybody who has a taste for the extreme. Be sure to remember: just because you are a star athlete at sea level does not mean you are a pro in this type of extreme mountain altitude. The Himalayas are challenging, physically demanding and not for the faint of heart. However, by pushing those physical and mental boundaries you will be sure to reach that Zen-like state-of-mind.