If it is adventure it is Kashmir. You name any adventure sports, the Himalayan Valley has it. From the skiing, snowboarding, ice-staking, ice-hockey, ice-climbing, snow cycling during winter months or mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, paragliding, angling or off-road motor rally, Kashmir is the best play field for all the sports.
The department of tourism has been actively promoting adventure sports which attracts adventure enthusiasts especially hikers from across the globe.
The Valley is blessed with high-rise mountains which boasts of hundreds of high-altitude lakes frequented by the mountaineers especially foreigners.
It offers numerous exciting and adventurous trekking routes and Srinagar is a good take off point.
During the treks, the mountaineers will feast their eyes on spectacular mountain scenery, beautifully flowered campsites and excellent fishing points besides being a photographers dream.
From one-day treks to a week-long treks covering major Himalayan ranges, one has a choice. The most popular among the adventure enthusiasts is a Great Lakes trek covering Kashmir’s largest high- altitude Lake Gangbal perched at surface elevation of 3,575 metres (11,729 ft) having maximum length of 2.7 kilometres and maximum width of 1 kilometers situated at the foothills of Mount Harmukh in Ganderbal district, north of Srinagar city. Gangbal is at a distance of 12.5 kilometres from base point Naranag. The other important sites and lakes en-route a length of 65 kilometers are Vishansar Lake, Krishansar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Nundkol Lake. The trek falls between Sonamarg (East) and Naranag (West).
With Kashmir receiving abundant snowfall it is a dream destination for skiers all over the world. The ski resort Gulmarg offers powder snow considered to be the best for skiing and snowboarding. Gulmarg Gondola, the world’s second highest operating cable car, is an added attraction for skiers, snowboarders which takes them to a elevation of a height of 3,747 m (12,293 ft) on Kongdoori Mountain while as the first phase transfers skiers from the Gulmarg resort to 2,600 m (8,530 ft).
Besides, for holding championships, Chair Lift covering a distance of 1601 meters takes skiers with their gear on to Marry shoulder in 10 minutes.
Over the past few years, the heli-skiing and heli-boarding in Pir Panjal Range of western Himalayas based in Gulmarg besides guided backcountry skiing / snowboarding tours are major activities.
The foreigners all over the world mostly from Austria, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, USA, Australia, Switzerland enjoy breathtaking slides over crisp snow powders.
The other winter games that are hugely popular in Gulmarg are ice-skating, ice hockey, snow cycling, snow rugby, snow-shoeing etc for which the department of tourism organizes special programs to make them popular among the locals also.
Pahalgam, which is mostly a summer destination, has now been promoted as winter destination also. Skiing and Ice-climbing has been organized during past few winter seasons at this beautiful resort.
White Water Rafting
With the onset of summer, the famous rivers of Sindh at Sonamarg and Lidder at Pahalgam are important attractions for river rafting. The rafting in Kashmir has become one of the popular water sports in India. At Pahalgam, you can do it with a group from Langabal to Ganeshpora covering approximately 12 kilometers and having rapids ranging from Grade I to Grade IV.
In Sonamarg and in Kangan there are many places where private companies offer these joy rides at nominal rates.
The department of tourism is also organizing championships among local teams to make it poplar among local populations so that they earn livelihood by offering services to the tourists.
Off late, Mountain Biking is increasingly becoming popular in Kashmir where in the bikers steers his bike over rocky tracks and around boulder-strewn paths.
The department of tourism has also set up Bike Hire Shop at Zabarwarn Park on boulevard Srinagar where locals and the tourists take the bikes on rent and paddle around the hills in Srinagar.
New biking trails have been developed at Shankracharya hills for armature bikers or for bingers.
The hot spots for mountain cycling are Srinagar to Gulmarg, Gulmarg to Pahalgam, Pahalgam to Srinagar, Srinagar to Sonamarg, Sonamarg to Wular / Manasbal lake and back to Srinagar .The Srinagar – Leh highway gives you a chance to conquer the mighty Himalayas through ten mountain passes.
The paragliding is one of the latest adventure sports being promoted by the department of tourism, which attracts both domestic and foreigners besides locals.
If you want to enjoy the breathtaking aerial view of the green Valleys while enjoying the adventurous sky ride, paragliding is the sport you should select.
The department is promoting the paragliding at Dara in Srinagar where from you get a bird’s eye view of the Dal lake and some part of the Srinagar city.
At Aru in Pahalgam, one can enjoy solo flight also.
Both brown and rainbow trout are abundantly found in a huge network of rivers and streams and hundreds of high-altitude lakes in Kashmir making this place an anglers paradise.
The snow and spring fed streems and the larger rivers like Sindh, Lidder, Erin, Ferozpur, Aharbal, Doodh Ganga, Daksum, Noobug, Ahlan, Krishen Ganga & Hirpur etc. are covered with snow, which starts melting between the month of May to July which become ideal spots for fishing in summer.
The angling in Kashmir is controlled by the Department of Fisheries to ensure that there is no depletion of stock by indiscriminate fishing. Before heading for fishing to any stream or river, obtain permission from the department and revel in the sports.
Other sports: Other sports are becoming popular in Kashmir which include ice-climbing, rock-climbing, horse riding, bird watching, wildlife, sky-running, polo etc which the travellers can relish here.
“Kashmir is one of the best adventure sports destinations in the world. We are committed to promoting the state not only for leisure tourism but for adventure sports”
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah.
Recent Major Event
Expedition India 2017 Adventure Race
Kashmir hosted an international adventure race ‘Expedition India 2017’ organized by Johannesburg based adventure company Kinetic Events in collaboration with Department of Tourism and J&K Bank.
Fourteen teams which include 13 foreign teams from the countries like South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Argentina and Czech Republic and a local team participated in the event which began in Srinagar and culminated at Leh.
During the event, the teams covered 450km while mountain running, trekking, white water rafting, cycling, rock climbing through major high-passes in Ladakh.
It is the first ever international adventure event in which athletes passed through Land of High Mountain Passes at an average altitude of over 3500m, breathtaking Valley’s, and beautiful rivers making it one of the most fascinating and highest adventure races in the world.