By Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
As travelers seek new and different experiences, adventure tourism, according to Adventure Travel Trade Association, is a tourist activity that includes a physical activity, a cultural exchange or activities in nature. You don’t necessarily have to go base jumping or go scuba diving with sharks to be an adventure tourist. Adventure tourism is about connecting with a new culture or a new landscape and being physically active at the same time. It is not about being risky or pushing your boundaries. In fact it is especially important to know and respect your limits while you are in an unfamiliar area. Lists of adventure tourism activities has plenty of options if you are not necessarily a thrill seeker. Adventure travel is a type of niche tourism involving exploration or travel with a certain degree of risk(real or perceived) and which may require special skills and physical extortion.
Adventure tourists may have the motivation to achieve mental states characterized as rush or flow resulting from stepping outside their comfort zone. This may be from experiencing culture shock or by performing acts requiring significant effort and involve some degree of risk, real or perceived or physical danger. This may include activities such as: mountaineering; trekking; bungee jumping; mountain biking; cycling; canoeing; Scuba diving; rafting; kayaking; Zip-lining; paragliding; hiking; exploring; canyoneering; sandboarding; caving and rock climbing. Some obscure forms of adventure travel include disaster and ghetto tourism. Other form of adventure travel include Social and jungle tourism. As a closely related sub-pieces of adventure travel “Event trips” involve various kinds of touristic travels that aims at particular activities as an important part of the travel which don’t necessary fulfill the criteria of being proper adventures.
Activities comprised under the term “Event Trips” range from the international sports events (i.e. FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl) to renowned cultural events (i.e. Bayreuth Festival, Venice Film Festival). Access to inexpensive consumer technology with respect to Global positioning system, flash packing, social networking and photography have increased the world wide interest in adventure travel. The interest in adventure travel has also increased as more special travel websites emerge offering previously niche locations and sports.
Some of the important type of tourism which may or may not belong to adventure travel are: Accessible tourism a trend for developing tourism specially for the disabled; Culinary tourism is the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences; Cultural tourism is the act of travelling to a place to see that location’s culture, including life style of the people in that area, the history of those people ,their art, architecture, religion and other factors that shaped their way of life; Ethno tourism refers to visiting a foreign location for the sake of observing the indigenous members of its society, some extreme form of this include attempting to make first contact with tribes that are protected from outside visitors; Extreme tourism involves travel to dangerous(extreme) locations or participation in dangerous events or activities; Disaster tourism is the act of travelling to a disaster area as a matter of curiosity and it can be cataloged as disaster learning; Jungle tourism is a rising subcategory of adventure travel defined by active multifaceted physical means of travel in the jungle region of the earth, it pertains particularly to the context of region, culture and activity. Besides these Overland travel,urban exploration and Spiritual tourism may also be mentioned.
Manipur valleys and hills provide an ideal platform for a range of adventure sports and outdoor activities. From rock climbing to long trekking, adventure activities are plenty like: rafting; rock climbing;wind surfing; paragliding; Eco-tourism; caving and trekking. Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA), located at Khuman Lampak sports complex, Imphal is a deemed State Institute of adventure and affiliated to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), New Delhi; Manipur Mountaineering Institute (MMI) is a part of MMTA that organizes various adventure programs focusing on hot ballooning; paragliding; rafting; rock climbing and other sports.The Association also offers Eco-tourism and trekking packages.
The MMTA, featuring Kangla Rock and sports climbing wall, hosts climbing competitions regularly.The adventure and Leadership Park run by MMI of the MMTA located at Lamdan, near the Loktak Hydro Electric Project about 35 Km from Imphal, over an area of around 250 hectares with natural rocks is the first of its kind in India. The park features Natural Rock, spider Net, Burma Bridge and other obstacles. Plenty of adventure tourism facilities are available in the state of Manipur. MMTA, MAASI (Manipur Adventure and Allied Sports Institute) and Adventure Academy of Manipur (AAM) are engaged in promotions of these facilities.
There are numerous land, water and air based adventure sports sites across the state such as the Loktak Lake ,for water sports ;the Barak River for rafting ; the Mount ISO along the Dzuko valley,famous for its endemic Dzuko Lily( LiliumChitrangada) and shirui Hill ,famous for Shirui Lily( LiliumMackliniae) for mountain climbing and trekking ;the Tharon and Kangkhui Caves for caving adventures; Koirengei Old airfield and Nongmaiching foothills at wakha for hang gliding, paragliding and parasailing adventure sports and eco-tourism sites. In fact, Manipur is paradise / heaven for all sorts of Adventure Tourism.
Manipur has always been one of the least-explored places in India. Despite being home to the best of natural beauties in India, it is nowhere close to being a most –visited place. However Manipur is assuredly a must-visit destination, especially for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From deep echoing valley to thick forest and dazzling lakes to prolific plains, this beautiful state of India has everything in its arms to surprise its visitors. If you are among the adventure- loving people, then pack your bags and be on the route leading to Manipur. There is nothing better than getting that awesome kick of adrenaline while inhaling a breath of fresh air. The adventure refreshes our minds and gives us a better perspective of our lives. So how about some adventure on the wonderland of Manipur?
(The writer is Faculty at NIELIT, Akampat, Imphal)