Sledging and Tobogganing in Gulmarg

Gulmarg is one of the finest winter adventure destinations in India. Located in the Northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir in India, Gulmarg has all the facilities of winter sports like Skiing, Heli-Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledging and Tobogganing. Located at a distance of around 56 km from Srinagar, Gulmarg is known as 'Switzerland of India'. It covers 3.5 km long and 1 km wide area fully dedicated to winter sports.

Sledging is just like Skiing but in it one need not to stand and the person remains in seating position. A special equipment called Sledge is used for Sledging. In it one has to make a downhill maiden run with Sledge, which gives you a start and decides your Sledging speed. Though no special training is required to enjoy this sport but for the beginners Sledge pullers are also available. One can also try different style in Sledging like by sliding down in lying position. The superb snow terrains of Gulmarg make Sledging in Gulmarg a memorable experience.

Tobogganing is a sport in which a person climbs up the snow covered hill and slides down. The special kind of equipment called Toboggan is used in this sport. Toboggan is made of wood and is shaped in an arch style from the front so that it can have easy and fast movement on the snow. The best thing about the sport is that no special training is required and there is no such risk of life like skiing in India.

Snow crowned peaks offer the best facilities of Sledging and Tobogganing in Gulmarg and attract adventure loving crowds to this unmatchable winter sport destination. The best season to enjoy Sledging and Tobogganing in Gulmarg is from December to March.

Other destinations where Sledging and Tobogganing in India can be enjoyed :

Manali in Himachal Pradesh
Auli in Uttarakhand

White Water Rafting in Himalaya

White water rafting is one of the most exciting adventure sports to have the thrill of exploring rapids, big drops and riffles of mighty snow fed Himalayan rivers. With a number of rivers originating from the Himalayan mountain range, stretching 3,200 km, India is one of the sought after destinations for exploring water rafting wilderness.

Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are the Himalayan states which offer ample opportunities to adventure enthusiasts crazy for exploring the unexplored wild waters throughout the year, except during the monsoon season in the months of July and August.

Indus and Zanskar rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir, Satluj and Beas rivers in Himachal Pradesh, Ganga, Alakhnanda, Bhagirathi and Tons (tributary of Yamuna) in Uttarakhand, Teesta and Rangit rivers in Sikkim and Tsiang and Subansari rivers in Arunachal Pradesh offer the unmatchable experience of deep gorges and remote parts of the region. White water rafting in Indian rivers gives you an adventure experience second to none.

More info on: Rafting sites, Best time to visit etc.

How to Pack Light for Winter Travel in India

If you are travelling to India in winters, here are a few tips that you can follow.

> For how many days are you going to stay in India? Select only one or two major outfits to be worn per day. Pack your clothes in a mix-and-match fashion, so you may wear anything and everything together.

> Roll small clothing items or the ones that are less bulky. T-shirts, vests and scarves can be easily rolled up and packed.

> Don't pack duplicates like three black sweaters. Use the space that you save to pack an extra scarf, broach or other similar accessories.

> In case you have too many bulky items to pack, go for a 'Space Saver' type bag. A large Space Saver can hold around 10 sweaters. And after you vacuum-remove the air, the total mass will reduce to almost half.

> Pack your socks and undergarments in outer compartments of the bag. You can also tuck them in between clothes you have already packed.

> Large things like the fluffy wool cardigan can be packed on top of the heap. Put the cardigan on top of the heap just before you close up the luggage.

In fact these winter travel tips are not just for India but for almost every place that you are planning to visit during winters.

Para Gliding in Bir-Billing, Himachal Pradesh

The land of Himachal Pradesh is most suitable for adventure activities. Then be it Skiing, Mountaineering, Camping, White Water Rafting, Trekking or Jeep Safari, Himachal is ready to pamper you like anything. But among all the adventure sports, which has attracted the attention of most of the adventure lovers across the world is Para Gliding.

Bir-Billing, in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, been a most favourable venue for conducting International Paragliding competitions in India since 2002. Located at an altitude of 2,290 meters above mean sea level, Billing is the take off site whereas Bir with an altitude of 1,400 meters serves as landing site. Bir, which is at a distance of about 14 km from Billing, is a small and beautiful village located amid the green tree gardens and habitated by Tibetans. Situated in the Dhauladhar mountain range and regarded amongst the best gliding sites in the world, it also got an opportunity to conduct Pre-World Cup competition of Paragliding in 2008. A total of 80 pilots from various countries participated in the competition, out of which 14 were women.

Bir-Billing offers an opportunity to the fliers to fly upto 180 kms. The sport is based on the prevailing weather conditions and if the weather is favourable, considering wind speed and direction, one can make a cross country and landing either in Dharamshala or Manali. Other than Paragliding, Hang Gliding and Para Sailing can also be enjoyed here. The annual Hang Gliding Rally is organised, by the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, every year in the month of May at Bir-Billing.

Aero Sports Complex at Bir and Adventure Sports Hostel at Dharamshala conducts training courses every year for freshers as well as trained pilots. Bir is located at a distance of 12 km from Baijnath and 70 km from Dharamshala. The best season to visit Bir-Billing is from March to May and from September to November.

Get detailed information about Gliding in India here.

Famous Winter Destinations in India

If you are planning to spend your winter vacations in India, where should you go? During wintertime, you can head towards a number of winter destinations in India. If you are coming to India around December, you can decide to enjoy a snowy Christmas or enjoy a gala carnival. You can also choose to explore the Thar Desert by way of a camel safari in Rajasthan. Another wonderful option is to escape to the Himalayan destinations to meditate and respond to the tranquility of the mountains. Given below are some of the most visited winter destinations in the country. Read on.

Perched at a height of 9,500-10,500 ft above sea level in Uttarakhand, Auli is known for being a premier ski destination in India. The pine scented mountain slopes of Auli have become a favourite of skiers from all across the globe. You can also enroll yourself in skiing courses. It would be wonderful to combine your adventure trip to Auli with a sightseeing tour.

As snow sets in December, its keeps whole of Shimla blanketed till January. You have an excellent opportunity to reconnect with nature. Besides, you can also plan to visit the temples, churches, colonial mansions and markets of Shimla during your tour to the hill station.

The place is famous both for being the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile and for being the residing place of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. During your trip to Mcleodganj, do remember to explore Buddhist meditation centres, health clubs and Buddhist gompas among others. The tourist destination lies in close proximity to Dharamshala.

Between October and February, Halflong in Assam is a place to be. You have the opportunity to explore during winters orange orchards, pineapple gardens and the wildlife species in the surrounding forests. Spend some quality time amidst blue hills, green rivers and cascading waterfalls.

Mount Abu
Whether you are a pilgrims, a trekking enthusiast, a boating lover or a bird watching freak, all your wishes can be fulfilled at this uniquely wonderful winter destination in Rajasthan. During winters, you can also participate in the Winter Festival of Mount Abu. Dilwara Jain temples are also a big draw for tourists arriving at Mount Abu.

During summers, Jaisalmer experiences scorching heat. However, the temperature during winters vary between 10 degrees and 14 degrees centigrade, making it much loved among other winter destinations in India. The labyrinthine streets, handicraft-laden bazaars, temples and havelis are major tourist attractions in this desert city. The Annual Desert Festival (February) is the biggest attraction for travellers arriving here during winters.

Lake Chilka
If you are an avid bird watcher, you should head straight to the Chilka Lake in Orissa. During winters, migratory birds come here from as far as Siberia and Iran. Lake Chilka also has the eminence of sheltering the largest population of aquatic bird in Asia.

Corbett National Park
Having the eminence of being India's National Park, Corbett National Park is home to around 50 species of mammals, 580 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles. Leopards, jungle cats, fishing cats, sloth bears, Himalayan bears, black bears, jackals, yellow throated martens, Himalayan civets, mongoose, otters, hares and elephants are some of the most commonly wildlife species sighted here.

Backwaters of Kerala
The 900-km long intricate network of backwaters make Kerala one of the most coveted destinations on earth. It can be a wonderful winter destination because here you will enjoy tropical winter (good for those who want to avoid winter chill). Kottayam, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kumarakom and Kochi are popular backwater destinations in Kerala

Whether to celebrate Christmas or New Year, Goa is a winter destination which is second to none in India. A number of festivals are organised in Goa during the wintertime. These include Feast of the Three Kings, the Goa Heritage Festival, the Konkani Drama Festival and the Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. For party freaks, travelling to Goa is undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime.

This is not all. You can really look forward to visiting some more Indian winter destinations. However, you can never afford to miss the destinations mentioned above during your winter holidays in India.

Ice Hockey in Leh-Ladakh

In the past Skiing, Heli-Skiing, Ice Skating and Snow Climbing have been the main attraction of winter sports in India. But now Ice Hockey is also growing with a pace because of the interests shown by the localites.

Leh-Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir
, located in the Northernmost part of India, has now become one of the famous winter sports destination with the popularity of Ice Hockey. Taking the help from Army men posted in Leh, localites have shown great interest in learning the game with very less support from the government.

The famous Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink has become the most sought after destination in Leh during winters for the localites as well as tourists having a passion for Ice Hockey. It is the highest Ice Hockey rink in the country, which is situated at an altitude of 3483 meters above sea level. 2009 has been an year of achievement for the local players from Ladakh, where they got an opportunity to represent their county in International Ice Hockey Federation Challenge Cup of Asia held at Abu Dhabi.

Ice Hockey was introduced by army men in the region in 1970's as a pleasure activity on frozen lakes. The sport gained popularity in Leh-Ladakh region in 1980's when localites started forming Ice Hockey Clubs and started conducting tournaments. At present Ice Hockey can only be practiced during winter season, when there is snowfall, but efforts are in progress to build modern all weather Ice Hockey stadium in Leh, meeting international standards.

Though Leh-Ladakh is famous for its safaris and Buddhist monasteries, it is the highest plateau in India bounded by two mightiest mountain ranges, Himalayas and Karakoram. It lies at an altitude ranging from 9000 feet to 25,170 feet above sea level and is also known by the name of cold desert of India. Tourism is the mainstay of economy of the people habitating in Leh-Ladakh. Hence, winter sports are being promoted by the government to help in boosting the tourism activities in the picturesque region of Jammu and Kashmir.