Adventure seekers put themselves through endurance tests and return with smiles
Don’t ask me if I’ll do this again,” says architect Vedasri Siddamsetty. She has just returned from her trek to the Himalayas and cannot get the sights of snow-capped mountain peaks off her memory or the conversation. Vedasri and her brother were part of a 16-member group that took up a 12-day trek. “When I signed up, I thought it would be good to go with a large group to interact with people of different nationalities and more practically, there will be someone to help if you fall sick,” she laughs. While most of her team members stopped at the Everest base camp, she and three others trekked till Kala Pathar from where they caught a glimpse of Mt. Everest. Vedasri and her friends are an example of groups combining travel and adventure in summer.
Siddharth Shetty was pondering over two options — scuba diving in Goa and paragliding in Kamshet, Pune. He chose the latter. Photographer Arvind Chenji and his wife Shipra, along with their friends, returned recently from a bicycling trip covering Palampur, Dharamsala, Mcleodganj, Dalhousie, Khajjiar and Pathankot. Each one of them has returned with memory sticks full of photographs and memories that could last a lifetime. “The idea of travelling to this zone took shape last year when one of our friends in the Army was posted there,” says Shipra. The group members dismantled their cycles and carried them in specially-ordered sports bags. From Delhi, the group cycled around the tea estates at Chandpur before heading to Dharamsala. The one-week trip saw the group biking along river banks, taking in the crisp air and tackling tough weather conditions. “It was biting chill when we cycled downhill to Patankot; we couldn’t even hear each other speak,” says Shipra. The trip has whetted the group’s appetite for more biking trips.
Siddharth’s four-day paragliding holiday was a mix of learning and fun. “On the first day, we were asked to run down a slope with the glider on us. If you run too fast, you’d be in the air for a second or two. On day two, we were asked to do the same from a slightly higher slope and the third day, a steeper slope so that we’d be in air longer. We’d have morning and evening sessions of three or four hours each,” he says. Vedasri’s preparations for the trek in the Himalayas began three months ago. “The fitter you are, the better you can trek. We were asked to walk at least five km each day, swim or do some form of cardio. Our group had people in the age group of 18 to 66. Among us was a ballerina trained in yoga and she aced the trek,” she recalls. Great food was a boon. The sore point? “Horrible washrooms,” she laughs.