A youth jumps during a Parkour practice on top of a seven-floor building in Taizhou, Zhejiang province. Reuters/Stringer
In India, adventure tourism has seen an exponential growth in the last few years. Yet, it is only lately that thrill seekers have been actively looking out for international and desi destinations where they can bungee jump or skydive. This, in turn, has resulted in a number of local operators offering these activities.
“Based on customer feedback, hiking, rafting, kayaking and skiing feature as top favourites in the adventure seekers itinerary. Exhilarating activities like skydiving and bungee jumping are fast gaining momentum,” says Rajeev D Kale, chief operating officer-MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. He adds that destinations within the country that feature on the adventure-seeker’s radar include Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and North-Eastern states.
Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox&Kings Ltd, recommends Mysore, Bangalore, Jaipur, Dhana in Madhya Pradesh for skydiving, while Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, Goa, Rishikesh (Shivpuri) in Uttrakhand are the venues to head to for those who are into skydiving. He says, “The interest in these adventure sports has been growing steadily for the past six to seven years.”
Keep in mind
1 Choose a well-known operator: If you know you are in safe hands, you’ll feel better.
2 Ask questions: Read up. Don’t lose it if they make you sign a waiver seeking indemnity in the event of death. It’s just a formality.
3 Avoid negativity: If your harried parents or friends insist on calling, switch your phone off. Listen to music or read.
4 Take your time to jump: Try and jump last. Watching others jump before boosts confidence.
5 Pull out if you feel you can’t do it: But remember, once you jump, your job is done.
Top five places we’d recommend for first-time divers.
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand: Freefall from 15,000 feet above New Zealand’s highest snow-capped mountains (below). Capture views of Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring, which tower above the Mt Aspiring National Park, a world heritage site, where glaciers feed glistening lakes and rivers.
Cape Town, South Africa: With the Table Mountain acting as the perfect backdrop, jump off a plane at sunset to take in the natural beauty of this beautiful city.
Mount Everest, NEPAL: Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest mountain peaks. Tandem skydiving starts at 29,500 feet and offers the best view of Mount Everest.
Victoria Falls, Zambia: Take a scenic flight that lasts 25 minutes and takes in all the local landmarks. Most of the skydives include a close-up aerial view of the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls
Sao Paulo, Brazil: Clear blue skies and wonderful weather make Sao Paulo a pristine drop zone. Located near the Atlantic ocean just outside of Rio De Janeiro, this jump offers up one of the most beautiful skylines in the world.
Top five places we’d recommend for first-time jumpers.
Verzasca Dam, Switzerland: This hydroelectric dam has been a favourite haunt ever since James Bond’s famous stunt in Goldeneye (1995).
Queenstown, New Zealand: Located at the top of the gondola, 400 metres above Queenstown, ledge bungee by AJ Hackett Bungy is designed to provide the maximum rush. Unlike other sites, the special harness allows you to vary your jump style. And at the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre, the home of bungee jumping, you have a stunning view of the Kawarau River as you take the plunge.
Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, USA: The jump takes place from a bridge suspended above the Arkansas River.
Jecheon, Korea: One can bungee jump at Cheong Pung Land, a theme park. At 62 meters, it’s the tallest bungee jumping tower in South Korea. One faces the tranquil Cheong Pung Lake while green mountains provide the backdrop.
Macau Tower, China: This 338 m tall tower is perfect for bungee jumping and ranks among the giddiest entertainments that Macau has to offer.
Closer home, a tandem jump at Aamby Valley is the best way to experience skydiving. Climb into the turbine-powered aircraft and climb all the way to 10,000 feet to 15,000 feet before jumping off.