A few years ago Hritika Thadeshwar, 13, rolled down a hillside in Himachal Pradesh inside a giant ball. The year was 2009, and Hritika had just been ‘zorbed’.
Nothing is too bizarre, too scary or too obscure for city folk when it comes to adventure activities any longer. Thadeshwar and her mother, Sejal, were on a summertime adventure that included trekking, and river crossing.
“It was a very new experience, it was really nice,” said Sejal. “I was out of my comfort zone, but we all enjoyed it.”
The Thadeshwars went on a camp organised by Escapades Adventure Trips. This year, Escapades will be taking people to Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh and the backwaters of Koyna Dam in Maharashtra.
This summer, camp operators are expanding their palette of destinations to cater to the city’s novelty seekers.
Adventure activity group, Kshitij, for instance, is taking people to Aronda this year near the Goa-Maharashtra border, expanding its activities to offer opportunities such as dolphin spotting, crocodile safaris and snorkelling.
YMCA has launched a special ‘trailblazers’ advanced camp for older children in Maharashtra where they will be traversing caves, forts and villages, and in the process learning first aid, pitching tents and building campfires.
Other companies such as Jungle Lore is exploring the relatively untouched Satputa range in Madhya Pradesh for tiger safaris and canoeing. Nisarga Prerna has multiple location options for people to choose from. “People want more and more new destinations and new activities every year,” said Santosh Rede, organiser of Nisarg Prerna.
Hritika, a self-confessed adventure junkie, will be going again on a camp this year, this time to Kanha.
“Earlier, I used to get scared of the adventure activities,” said Hritika. “It would be freaky doing some of those things, but then I also had fun.”
Specialist outfits that deal with specific adventure sports will continue to offer packages in the summer too. Paragliding is increasingly popular every year, and Space Apple that conducts courses is planning on introducing one more adventure activity, which is to be finalised.
“There is a lot more interest and awareness in the youth about adventure activities,” said Samson D’Silva, proprietor of Space Apple, which operates out of Virar. “We have had a very good response. There is so much information available through the Internet these days.”
But it’s not only adrenaline-heavy fun and games. “At our camps we try to ensure that the children experience something they wouldn’t be able to in the city,” said Brigadier Sushil Bhasin, chairman and managing director of Empower Camps. “The idea is about experiential learning. It’s not only about having fun.”