A Tough terrain had protected Assam from invaders in the past. Today, it has made the state an incomparable outbound destination. Since the late 1960s, diehard adventurers and explorers in Assam have streamlined the activities to produce mountaineers, rockclimbers, trekkers, cavers, hang-gliders and rafters. The state’s tallest peak Hempieupit is perfect for trekking. Guwahati too offers some exciting trekking routes and rock-climbing spots. A network of rivers, rivulets and mountain streams make the region ideal for white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking and other water sports.
Adventure across the Northeast is incomplete without trekking through the deep forests, the thickest in India. Hiking through the famed Kaziranga, Manas and Dibru-Saikhowa national parks can be an unforgettable experience. One can add Meghalaya’s mysterious stalactite and stalagmite caves to the itinerary. ATDC Ltd facilitates outbound expeditions through organisations such as Assam Mountaineering Association of 1968 vintage.
Mountaineering: The Simhasana Hill in Karbi Anglong district and the hills of adjoining Dima Hasao district are ideal for mountaineering and rock-climbing. Some 50km east of Guwahati is Elephant Rocks ( Morigaon district) that off ers ample scope for rock-climbing. Guwahati too has rock-climbing destinations such as the 80ft Rohini Bhuyan Memorial Rock field located at Japarigog within the Assam State Zoo, Bhubaneshwari above Kamakhya Temple and Dirgheshwari (North Guwahati).
Trekking: Assam State Zoo has a trekking trail but the most popular among trekkers is the 17km one from Basistha to Garbhanga Reserve Forest via the hills of adjoining Meghalaya. For the more resilient, the trek can stretch 80km to Barapani in Meghalaya via Rani Reserve Forest. Among the most convenient is the trek from Kaziranga National Park to Kukurakata Hills that allows a panoramic view of the park. The trek is within an area of 4.5 sq km.
Horse-riding tours: Private operators such as Purvi Discovery organise casual hack ride through tea gardens or an exhilarating sandy gallop on the banks of river Brahmaputra in eastern Assam districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. One can also go for extended trail rides through forest reserves in the area.
Mountain biking: The hilly terrain off ers a very good challenge to mountains bikers. Assam Tourism Department in collaboration with ATDC Ltd and other adventure organizations have organized several bicycle and motorbike rallies in and outside the state. Foreign individuals and groups have participated in these.
Motorcycling tours: Explore Assam and adjoining states in the Northeast through motorcycling tours that often take riders to pristine rural settings and villages of ethnic communities. A major part of these tours are off -road and through hills and plains.
Parasailing: ATDC Ltd facilitates parasailing at Dalibari in North Guwahati. The sandbars at Guwahati (during the annual Brahmaputra Beach Festival) and near Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in eastern Assam are ideal spots too. Private tour operators organise parasailing at Dibru-Saikhowa.
Boat racing: Speed fests similar to snakeboat racing in Kerala have traditionally been organised during festivals in Guwahati, Hajo, Sualkuchi and Barpeta. For kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts, one can head straight to Charanbeel in Morigaon district, barely an hour’s drive from Guwahati. The Assam Boat Racing and Rowing Association, together with the Department of Tourism, also organises boat racing during the annual spring-time Brahmaputra Beach Festival.
River Rafting: The Brahmaputra and its turbulent tributaries such as Manas and Kopili dare adventurers with their swift current and fiery rapids. But rafting is most organised at Jia Bhoroli, also a Brahmaputra tributary.
Angling: Jia Bhoroli, Kapili and Manas are the best places for angling. The Jia Bhoroli river is home to the fierce game fish, the Golden Mahseer, or tiger of the Himalayan rivers. An annual Angling competition is regularly organised by Assam Bhoreli Anglers’ Association at Nameriat Jia Bhoroli where a number of anglers both from outside the state as well as abroad participate every year in November or December.
Camping: Eco Camp situated at the fringes of the Nameri National Park is an avid camper's ideal getaway. Apart from birding, trekking and angling, it offers local cuisines. Eco Camp has thatched tented accommodation and equipment for rafting and angling. There are private resorts in the vicinity too, offering tents, cottages and dormitory with basic facilities. Bird-watching is a bonus for anglers and rafting enthusiasts who frequent Nameri.
Similar camps organised by private parties at Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia district are embellished with ethnic flavours.
Getting there: The airport nearest to Nameri is Tezpur, 35km away, from where one can hire cabs (also available from Guwahati, 215 km to the southwest). The nearest airport to Dibru-Saikhowa is Mohanbari near Dibrugarh town 40 km away while the nearest major railway station is Tinsukia (15km).
Where to stay: The Eco Camp at Nameri and private resorts on the river bank while ATDC Ltd has a tourist lodge at Bhalukpong 25km away. For Dibru-Saikhowa, there is a forest bungalow (Guijan) and resort (Padumoni) outside the park.