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Last updated : Nov 2009
India Sports
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Trekking

India is a superb destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from short and effortless excursions to the long difficult challenges of the snowy peaks. The highest mountain range on earth – the Himalayas – comprises 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles) of India’s northern and eastern frontiers. The beauty of the snow-capped peaks, glaciers, pine-forested slopes, rivers and lush meadows of wild flowers is truly awesome.

Peninsular India offers natural splendor of another kind, clothed in green woodland and aromatic orchards. (For additional details on the main trekking locations, see Trekking in the Resorts & Excursions section.)

No method of issuing trekking permits exists in India. Trekkers are, however, advised that it is forbidden to enter Restricted and Protected Areas without proper documentation. Contact India Tourism prior to departure or local tourist offices on arrival in India to confirm what restrictions and documents may be required.

The trekking season varies from region to region; contact India Tourism for additional information (see Contact section). Generally, it runs from April to June and September to November. It is possible to trek in the valleys of Lahaul, Pangi and Zanskar and in Ladakh during the rainy season (June to August), as these areas receive little precipitation.

Board and lodging accommodation can be found on all trekking routes. Crucial equipment includes a Sleeping bag, tent, foam/inflatable mattress, rucksack, umbrella (doubles as a walking stick), dark-glasses, sun-hat, and toiletries.

Recommended clothing is a windproof jacket, trousers, shirts, woolen pullover, gloves and woolen underwear (for high altitudes). Be sure to take a flexible, light and comfortable pair of trekking boots (2 pairs should be taken for longer treks) and a minimum of 3 pairs of woolen socks. Talc should be used to keep feet dry.

A first-aid kit is recommended, as well as sun block, morphia salt tablets to avoid cramps, a torch, thermos/water bottle, mirror, insect repellent, cold cream, lip-salve, spare boot laces, walking stick, sewing kit, tinned and dehydrated food.

Watersports

India has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the best ones are located in the southern states of Goa and Kerala. Even though the beaches are beautiful, the waters, particularly in the south, can be quite dangerous, with strong currents and big waves creating treacherous conditions for inexperienced swimmers. To make up for the rough seas, most large hotels have swimming pools, and there are facilities for a wide variety of water sports including sailing, rowing and water-skiing. (For additional details on beach resorts, see Beach Resorts in the Resorts & Excursions section).

The Andaman Islands and Lakshadweep Islands off the southern coast are known for their white-sand, quiet beaches and brilliant swimming and scuba diving (but visitors may require a special permit to visit, please see Passport/Visa section).

Whitewater rafting is a new sport in India; the snow-fed mountain rivers of the northern Himalayas cause them to be 1 of the best regions in the world for this sport.

Fishing is also available, especially in the Kangra Valley and Shimla, in Darjeeling and Orissa and throughout the Himalayas. Tackle can usually be hired from local fishing authorities. Please contact the local tourist office for details of seasons and licenses.

Outdoor activities

Camel safaris can be taken in the Thar desert and vary from 1 to 15 days’ duration; a superb way to visit this fascinating region.

Delhi is India's centre for rock climbing, also available in the Aravalli Hills and the Western Ghats.

Authorization for mountaineering is required from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, 6 Benito Juarez Road, New Delhi, 110 021 (telephone: (11) 467-1211; facsimile: (11) 688-3412; e-mail: indmount@vsnl.com).

Hang gliding, ballooning and gliding are also becoming increasingly available for those who would enjoy a bird’s-eye view of some of the landscape.

Skiing is rapidly becoming a popular sport, and facilities are available in some resorts in the north of the country (including Gulmarg and Kufri), situated in some of the most beautiful mountain landscape on the planet. Horse riding is also available in hill stations.

Spectator sports

Cricket is One of the great Indian sports. Attention to the game reaches almost fever pitch, particularly during the winter test season when the national team plays in all the major cities. Club matches can also be attended in almost every town.

Additional popular spectator sports include polo and hockey, sports at which the Indians have long excelled, winning numerous Olympic gold medals in the latter. Interest in football is increasing.

Golf

Golfers will find several courses open to visitors throughout India; contact major hotels for information of temporary membership.

Calcutta Amateur Golf Championships attract many serious golfers in the east; the standards are high, and, temporary membership is available from the Royal Kolkata (Calcutta) Golf Club.

Srinagar and Gulmarg have good courses and host tournaments in the spring and fall, with Gulmarg enjoying the status of being the highest golf course in the world. The course at Shillong is widely known as being one of the most beautiful in the world.
Useful travel links
AdventureSportsIndia information on adventure sports in India
Scuba Spots online scuba diving directory in the world
Sports India information on sports in India