Adventure sports involve high risk activities of speed, height etc. It requires a high level of physical fitness and specialized gear. There are 3 types of adventure sports
- Aerial adventure sports
- Water adventure sports
- Land based adventure sports
1) Aerial Adventure Sports
This involves jumping off from an aircraft or balloon and descending by means of a parachute. Better designed parachutes have made this a safe sport. It is also used as a means of transportation by armed forces. An average amount of fitness and training is required to reduce the risk of injuries sustained while landing. Parachuting has limited scope as far as tourism is concerned. The infrastructure requires aircraft, parachutes and a large landing zone due to limited steerability of these parachutes. This makes the sport very expensive.
ii) Sky Diving
This is the fastest mechanical sport. A sky diver jumps off an aircraft or a balloon at a much greater height without deploying the parachute initially and opens after some interval at a pre-determined height. Ram Air Parachutes nowadays enables the sky diver to travel forward at a speed of 25 to 30 Km/hr in zero wind condition. This enables them to land in a small area with much greater accuracy. The high cost and training required drives low budget tourists away from sky diving.
ii) Hang Gliding
This is a comparatively cheaper sport. It uses a semi-rigid wing made of fabric supported by a light alloy frame. It flies like a glider and control is achieved by a shift in his own weight by the pilot. It just requires a hill terrain of a reasonable gradient which can offer
- a small sloping patch for a running take off
- Relatively obstruction free flight path
- Flat area for landing which shall be free of obstructions
Hang gliding has reasonable potential in India due to the availability of hilly terrain in all parts of the country. Participation will be limited due to the training, skill and physical fitness required. Srinagar Valley, Kangra Valley and Nilgiri Hills will be good places for Hang Gliding.
iv) Para Sailing
A Simple sport which involves winching or towing a parachutist to a height of few hundred feet in the air and then descending by means of a parachute. This can be done using speed boats as well. India has great potential as infrastructural costs are low and is safe and people can participate without much training.
v) Bungee Jumping
A new sport popular in the western world. It just requires a Bungee Chord and a bridge or a tower to jump off. The rush of adrenalin makes the experience very exhilarating. It has good potential due to low costs.
2) Water Adventure Sports
Majority of the activities are white water based.
i) White Water Rafting
An inflatable raft made of synthetic material is used to negotiate fast flowing waters. It is a safe sport and people with no experience can participate. It is moderately expensive due to the cost of equipment. Coorg rafting is an example.
ii) White Water Kayaking
Kayak is a small manned boat used by Eskimos for seal hunting. It is a highly maneuverable boat and can easily flip over. It requires rigorous practicing and skills which drives general tourists away from it.
iii) White Water Canoeing
A canoe is open unlike a Kayak and the paddler executes the strokes on only one side of the canoe rather than on both sides of the Kayak. Tourism potential is limited like in the case of Kayaking. Popular places are Bhagirathi river from Uttarkashi to Gangotri and from Uttarkashi to Dheran.
iv) Flat Water Adventure Sports
These are practiced on seas or large lakes.
a. Water Skiing : It is practiced by being towed behind a boat on any large water body. Skills can be achieved in a short time and costs are not high. The problem in India is that there are not many large lakes.
b. Wind Surfing : A small surf board with an attachment for sails is used for sliding the surf on the seas. Directional control is achieved by shifting the sail position and body weight of the wind surfs. This sport requires skills.
c. Surfing : A surf board is used for riding the waves and surf on the sea. Control is achieved by body manoeuvrings.
3) Land Based Adventure Sports
A popular sport which can be done by young and old, be fit or not so fit people. Trekking is associated with journey across forest tracks or in the country side, which is still largely untouched by formal means of transportation. In India trekking in hill valley is popular among college students. Equipment requirement is very low and the costs too. It attracts a lot of tourists due to the flexibility of time, budget and fitness required. Several tour operators are running successful trekking operations. Jammu, Srinagar, Ladakh, Amarnath cave trek are examples. Proper clothing and shoes are required for trekking.
It requires more skills and fitness than trekking. Due to adverse weather conditions, requirement of equipments are much more. This increases the expenses. Himalaya attracts both domestic and foreign climbers.
Skiing is a major tourist attraction in European Alps. Not much equipment is required, but infrastructural costs are high at ski resorts. The high snow line in Himalayas limit the ski season to only a few months. Popular places are Gulmarg in Kashmir, Shimla etc. Hell-skiing is a new sporting entry. Group of tourists are taken directly to hotels in mountain regions and they are lifted straight to the base of snow slopes. Another helicopter takes three or four people to the top of the slope.
iv) Rock Climbing
This is a fast emerging sport in India. It involves climbing straight flat rocks under guidance. Little equipment is required. Delhi, Mount Abu, Western Ghats are examples.