The Great Outdoors in India

Information on hiking, mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing, river rafting and fishing in India…

India’s diverse topography and variety of natural habitats and landscapes offer numerous opportunities for adventure sports. Popular activities include hiking, mountaineering, rock- climbing, skiing, river rafting and fishing.

Hiking and Mountaineering

The Himalayan mountains in northern India are at the top of most hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts’ must-do list. There are numerous trails of varying difficulty levels offering everything from one-day hikes to month-long treks.

The range runs through the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Assam. There are more than ten mountains higher than 7,000m.

For further information on popular treks, visit the respective state tourism website below:

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute offers basic and advanced mountaineering courses at Gobu and Tenzing Norgay Rocks in Darjeeling, West Bengal. For more information on its courses: Click here

Rock-climbing

Rock-climbing can be undertaken during most of the year, except the wet monsoon season, which generally runs from June to September. Expert climbers will find the high-altitude climbing in the Himalayas more challenging.

Several regions are popular with climbers:

  • Himanchal Pradesh: There are opportunities for high-altitude rock-climbing in Manali Valley, Parvati Valley, Miyar Valley (also known as the Valley of Flowers), Sar Pass, Chattru, Manikaran and Rohtang Pass
  • Jammu & Kashmir: Popular climbing destinations include Sonamarg and Shey Rock in Leh, Ladakh
  • Uttarakhand: Gangotri in the Garhwal Himalayas offers excellent high-altitude climbing routes
  • Haryana: Just south of Delhi, the Aravalli Hills at Damdama Lake are popular with rock-climbing enthusiasts, as are the Morni Hills
  • Rajasthan: Mount Abu and the Sariska sanctuary are suitable for rock-climbing
  • Maharashtra: There are rock-climbing opportunities at Mumbra and the Ajoba Hill Fort, and Darkoba Peak in Malshej Ghat
  • Karnataka: The state has many destinations for rock-climbing. Among the most popular are: the Chamundi Hills near Mysore; the Sahyadri Mountains in the Western Ghats; Badami and Hampi in North Karnataka; Ramanagaram near Bangalore; Savandurga Hill, Thuralli, Kabbal, Raogodhu; and Madhugiri near Tumkur

Skiing

The slopes of the Himalayas are popular skiing destinations. The ski season runs from December to March or April.

  • Uttarakhand: There are ski resorts at Auli, Dayara Bugyal and Mandali
  • Himachal Pradesh: Manali, Kufri, Narkanda and Solang are popular skiing destinations
  • Jammu & Kashmir: Gulmarg ski resort was opened by the British in 1927 and is one of the best known in India. Regular skiing classes are held in Patnitop

River Rafting

  • Sikkim: Sikkim Tourism organises a trip down the Teesta and Rangeet rivers
  • Uttarakhand: A river-rafting trip down the Ganges is offered by Uttarakhand Tourism. For more information: Click here

Fishing

  • Himachal Pradesh: Fresh-water fish such as goonch catfish, trout and golden mahseer thrive in the rivers of the Himalayas. The fishing season runs from September to June
  • Karnataka: Huge mahseer fish are the prized catch on the Cauvery river

It is necessary to apply to the relevant state authority for a fishing licence, which will be valid only for a certain area. There may also be restrictions regarding the number of fish that can be caught and a condition that fish be released back into the water.

  • For more information on fishing in Himachal Pradesh and who to contact for a licence: Click here
  • For more information about fishing in Karnataka: Click here