It's raining adventure!

Bangalore is not just blessed with great weather; it is blessed with great places to go out to. And the monsoons make the perfect time to backpack into the hills for a hike or toodle down to a river for some heart-stopping rafting.

The outdoors are not just good for fitness — a gym can never offer you the mental toughness you gain from beating a mountain — but are also great for the mind as well.

Imagine the persistent sound of driving rain, the thunder of serpentine river rapids, a clothes-snapping wind against you, the carpet of paddy on valley floors, the green cover of coffee plantations, black pepper and cardamom and the grassy lower hills with moss and patches of shola forest. As Juggy Marwah, VP, RMZ Corp says, “It can ventilate the mind and irrigate the soul.” Marwah has been out with his wife and two kids on cycling trips and thinks it’s great activity for joint families as well.
 
Real-life Nat-Geo!

Amongst the thousands who go out every week into this alluring landscape is former Chief Executive of BPL Telecom VN Bhattacharya. He is just back from a tough and demanding high altitude trek in the Himalayas, but is keen to take off in the neighbourhood. Bhattacharya, who now works as a management consultant often goes out with youngsters from the Sunil Bhave-led Rock Climbing Meet Up Group for bouldering and the Bangalore Mountaineering Club (BMC) for hikes. Says Neeraj Malve, founder of BMC that has 7,000 members, “We enjoy the romantic and lively monsoon weather. We have treks every weekend to places like Kumarparvata, Kudremukh, Kodachadri, Mullyangiri, Ombattu gudde, Wayanad, Tadiyandmole.” There are others who go camping, fishing, bird watching, parasailing, bouldering, white water rafting (which is only possible in the monsoon) and many go for uninhibited bicycle rides in the rain. There's muck, bugs, leeches, shivering cold, wet clothes, mud in the shoes and, often, soggy food. But it's worth the effort of going out on a hard-core outing on your own. It's like being in a 360 degree, never-ending, real-life version of National Geographic.

Think you want to go canoeing in the Dandeli forest waterfalls? Says Santosh Kumar, founder of Bangalore-based adventure company ‘Getoff yr ass’, who organises rafting in Dandeli, “This is fantastic countryside to drive through. Besides, there are wildlife reserves at Anshi and Dandeli that can be enjoyed.” Rafting trips to Coorg are popular too, says Santhosh, because of its proximity to Bangalore. It has hiking trails, easy access to home stays, great food options and is a global hotspot for conservation.

No more herding around

According to Santosh, inquiries for adventure travel have begun to come from women. It is the women who look after the details and men join them on these trips. “Perhaps it is because women are more organized and men want to leave everything in their hands,” says Santosh. But the biggest reason for the boom is because of Indians who have experience the outdoors in the US and in Europe. There was a trend of people being herded around in a bunch from activity to activity pretending to be excited. But it had the exact opposite of individual enrichment that the outdoors are about. A new crop of outdoor adventure companies are changing that with their real understanding of, and concern for, nature, wild life and conservation.

Xtrails Expeditions offers bird watching, trekking, kayaking and cycling tours in exciting formats. “But our biggest infrastructure is nature,” comments Omer Kaiser, Managing Director, of the two-year-old company. “Kids enjoy nature — it appears to fill their need to be in open spaces and their sense of awe and curiosity never ceases to amaze us.”
It's perhaps time for you to become a kid again as well— just walk out into the rain, into the outdoors and let nature take over.

The writer is an author and a Bangalore-based content and communications consultant.

Made to thrill

Try these activities around Bangalore this season:

* Hiking/ Trekking: Malavali, Mandya
Lots of well organized treks and hikes available. Great for kids. Details at www.georgiasunshine.com.

* Mountain Biking: Ragehalli Village, Bangalore
About an hour's drive from Bangalore, Ragehalli Village offers some pretty interesting terrain to do a variety of mountain bike rides with different skill levels.  More details at ww.xtrailsexpeditions.in

*  Rafting: Barapole, Coorg
Coorg is a paradise for adventure seekers.  You can trek, hike through wild life sanctuaries or go mountain biking. Getoff ur ass (www.getoffurass.com) does regular packages.

*  Rock climbing/Bouldering: Ramanagara
About 50 km from Bangalore, Ramanagar was made famous by Sholay. It is a silk centre but is known amongst rock climbers as having some of the oldest granite outcrops anywhere in the world. Log in to www.bmcindia.org or at http://rockclimbing.meetup.com/cities/in/bangalore/ for more options.

*  Nature walks: Malenadu - Agumbe
Blessed with 8,000mm of rain — next only to Cheerapunje  —  is the 7,000 acres of private forest at Malendadu that supports a variety of habitats. Regular trips until August. Details at www.getoffurass.com

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry