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Father’s Day special: 10 top experiences to share with dad

The pristine coral islands of Lakshadweep have some of the best dive sites in the country.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

From daring endeavours in the wild to soft escapades well within humanity’s reach, there’s something in India for adventurers of all ages and experiences. So, pack those bags, and dive in to adventure with your father on this special day.

Manali–Leh road trip

The long drive from Manali to Leh – almost 500km – packs in the best mountain scenery possible. A precariously narrow road across five dizzying mountain passes puts your driving skills (along with patience and determination) to test. Weather can be treacherous, adding drama and challenge to this two-day drive. The end result of the road trip – the stunning lunar valley of Leh – however, justifies all the hype around it.

Skiing in Auli

Auli offers every possible kind of snowy thrill. Skiing is what draws people to Auli, and it doesn’t matter if you have never tried your hand at the sport ever before. Paid guidance is easily available. There are almost 5km-long slopes here for you to blaze on your skis. And you can get back to the moutaintop in one of the ski- or chair-lifts from the bottom of the slope. Apart from skiing and other winter sports, Auli is also known for its fantastic scenery and sweeping mountain views all around. Photographers are bound to have a whale of a time here – snap as many mountain panoramas as you can, including dramatic perspective of famed summits such as Nanda Devi, Kamet and Mana Parbat.

Jaisalmer camel safari

Golden sand dunes, a fort, beautiful pavilions, haunting music, a thousand folk tales… the picturesque town of Jaisalmer is all this and much more. And nothing quite brings out its ‘desert’ appeal like a camel safari. It’s not just a ride to the dunes on camelback. The experience includes camping in the desert at night. The camel drivers turn both cook and entertainers by night, belting out one folk song after another. The food is rustic, the flavours simple – something dad will like. The day itinerary of a camel safari always includes a long stop for lunch – which is also the hottest part of the day. At resting points, the camels are unsaddled and hobbled; they’ll often have a roll in the sand before limping away to browse on nearby shrubs, while the camel drivers brew tea or prepare food.  Photo-worthy episodes, indeed.

Forest safari, Kanha and Bandhavgarh

The forests and wildlife sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh have lovingly nurtured and protected the majestic tiger. And it’s very rare that tourists have returned from Kanha and Bandhavgarh without spotting the striped cat. Jeep safaris are the best way of exploring the forests that are also home to many other species – leopard, wild boar, langur, gaur, sambar and barking deer. Kanha has more than 300 varieties of birds. Bandhavgarh also boasts a crumbling fort.

Kutch jeep safari

Much has been said, written and sung about the golden sands of Rajasthan. Not far from that state lies a blindingly white desert. Instead of sand, it is covered with salt. That’s the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. You may think it has little other than just salt pans. Not many know that the Little Rann is home of the last remaining population of the chestnut coloured Indian wild ass (also called khur), as well as bluebulls, blackbuck and chinkara. There’s also a huge bird population from October to March. Like most trips related to wildlife, a jeep safari is the best way to go about the Little Rann. You start after an early breakfast, and go right into the heart of the Little Rann, stopping by bets on the way where you can spot khurs and other local wildlife.

Konkan road trip

If smooth, charming and easy is your holiday motto, a drive along the Konkan coast fits to the tee. Dad won’t say no to this. The beauty of the coast will remind of you seaside sketches from childhood storybooks. Tourist infrastructure along the route is almost absent – it’s a price you pay for enjoying nature in its primal form. Basic beds and showers are all you may get as accommodation. The incredibly delicious Konkani food is somewhat rustic. And any kind of vehicular problem may put you in a spot. Nonetheless, you will be rewarded with an experience that money can’t buy.

Dzongri–Goecha la trek

Towering over the skyline of Sikkim and visible from almost every major town in the state, Mt Khangchendzonga is best viewed from the high-altitude pass of Goecha La. Yuksom is the starting point for this classic long trek Goecha La, with jaw-dropping views). A shorter version of this trek can be completed in as little as four days, going only about midway to the rolling meadows of Dzongri and grabbing great views of the mountain from the nearby viewpoint of Dzongri La.

Kaziranga forest safari

Home to around 1800 rhinos, Kaziranga boasts the world’s highest population of the endangered creature. That apart, Kaziranga is known to house the highest density of tigers among all designated parks and sanctuaries around the world. And the list goes on: elephants (believed to number around 2000), swamp deer, water buffaloes, leopards and several species of resident and migratory birds. Encounters with the rhino and the elephant is more than certain in Kaziranga, and the tiger – though as elusive as in any other park – makes sudden cameo appearance out of the wilderness. Sure to be a hit with dad.

Diving in Lakshadweep

The pristine coral islands of Lakshadweep have some of the best dive sites in the country. Kadmat Island is one of the most popular haunts for divers – with dive sites at North Cave, the Wall, Jack Point, Shark Alley, the Potato Patch, Cross Currents and Sting Ray City. Yet another option for divers is the island of Bangaram – here you have the choice of taking a plunge at Manta Point, Life, Grand Canyon and the sunken reef at Perumal Par. The Thundi Beach in Minicoy offers world-class shipwreck dives as shallow as 8m into the sea. If diving is too hardcore for you, you can always settle for the smaller thrills of snorkelling, or plain swimming in the ultramarine waters of placid lagoons. Alternatively, hop on to a daylong boat tour of coral reefs and explore the waters at leisure.

Adventures in Hampi

Hampi and heritage are words synonymous with each other. The same Hampi is also an adventure sports hub, courtesy of its boulderstrewn landscape. The most popular (and fairly easy) adventure activity in Hampi is the dawn trek to the summit of Matanga Parvath, a giant rocky outcrop. The 570-step hike up Anajanadri Hill in Anegundi (Hampi’s neighbouring village) is another popular activity. For exploring the landscape at leisure, the best activity by far is a bicycle ride. For some light aquatic adventure, try a coracle ride.

For more on adventure spots in India, grab your copy of 50 Great Adventures