India and extreme sports go together like a good curry and raita. With the mighty Himalayas counting among its seven mountain ranges, India is also home to six major rivers and vast swaths of jungle. This diverse and dramatic topography makes India prime territory for a an adrenaline-pumping excursion or two, and there’s no need to leave the thrills and spills by the wayside just because you’ve got the kids along. These heart-racing activities will guarantee major kudos with the kids, whether they can take part themselves or cheer you on from the sidelines.
Cliff Jumping in Rishikesh
Who doesn’t want to fling themselves of a 30-foot-high rocky cliff edge for fun? Suitable for pretty much anybody aged 12 and over (vertigo sufferers, non-swimmers or anybody with an extreme fear of heights need not apply), this heart-racing experience draws hordes of thrillseekers to the Himalayan town of Rishikesh, which sits in a sheltered bay on the banks of the River Ganges. This is not a DIY activity–the right gear and preparation are vital to making this disaster-free. Tour operators such as River Rafting Rishikesh will make sure everything goes smoothly.
You got this: It might sound terrifying, but it’s hard to beat the thrill of jumping off a sheer rock face into the ultra-refreshing waters of the Ganges. The jumps are usually enjoyed as part of a rafting trip, and jumpers can start off low and build up their height as they build courage. The rush gets faster and more intense the higher you go!
Be Snake Savvy: Would-be adventurers in India should be on their guard for snakes – there are some 270 species in India, around 60 of which are highly venomous. The beautiful King Cobra is the world’s largest venomous snake, while the Indian Python and Saw-Scaled Viper are other slithering beasts you definitely don’t want to bump into. Snake lovers can see the beasts in relative safety at Nag Panchami, the Hindu snake festival held each year to honor the beautiful, but deadly creatures.
Flyboarding in Goa
You could spend your time in Goa getting some down time on the beach, or you could spend it shooting straight out of the water like a Marvel superhero. Goa is India’s biggest water sports destination, and the latest trend among thrill-seekers at Baina Beach is Flyboarding, where a board is attached to a jet ski and sent soaring into the air by a powerful stream of water. It looks incredible and, while this is strictly for older teens and adults, the little ones are going to be agog at the grownups’ new-found superpowers. It doesn’t take long to master the moves (Atlantis Watersports will soon have you up in the air), although you’ll need to be a reasonably strong swimmer, and leave your sense of fear at home.
Down a Notch: If Flyboarding is a step too far, families in Goa might want to start with Kneeboarding. It requires less balance than waterskiing and wakeboarding, so it’s a good option for members of the family looking to build confidence in the water.
Take South Asia’s Longest Zip Tour
Wheeeeee! Families in northern India can soar over the jungle canopy on South Asia’s longest zipline tour: a two-hour Flying Fox aerial adventure that will thrill anybody with a love of heights and a penchant for good views. It’s worth making the 80-kilometer trip from Chandigarh to reach Kikar Lodge, in Nurpur Bedi, to fly above the forest and valleys on five ziplines with jungle canopy walks in between. If any members of the family are fearful fliers, not to worry! You can distract them with the lodge’s other adventures, like paintballing and night safaris.
⛷ Boxout: Shiny Happy People
The city of Chandigarh, capital of the states of both Punjab and Haryana, was voted the happiest in India in 2017. With low crime levels and high per capita income, its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a pleasant place for families to take a stroll.
Canyoning in Manali:
Canyoning is like several adrenaline-pumping activities rolled into one, and there’s no better place to practice it than the high altitude Himalayan resort town of Manali. Canyoners will climb, jump, abseil, scramble and swim down sheer rock faces, crashing waterfalls and rock pools. Although it looks challenging, it’s surprisingly easy to master the techniques, and is suitable for physically fit people from the age of around 14 and up. Don’t attempt to go it alone though! Operators such as Himalayan Trails will make sure all the safety measures are in place before you set off on your adventures.
Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan
This is one adventure that’s open to every member of the family regardless of age, fitness level or fondness for exhausting physical activity. It might seem like a soft option, but soaring high into the air over mountains and villages is definitely going to get the blood pumping. At around $260 USD per person with SkyWaltz, the price might also send your pulse racing, but getting a bird’s eye view of the landscape, fortresses and palaces is pretty incredible.
Inside Info: Families are in for a treat if they take their flight during November’s Pushkar Camel Fair, when thousands of camels, horses and cattle head to Rajasthan in one of India’s longest-established and most colorful festivals. Pushkar is also one of the top shopping destinations in Asia!
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