Tag Archives: Water Sports

Hanuwantia can be the change you need this new year!


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A bird’s eye view of the Hanuwantia island in days of Jal Mahotsav

On the lines of Rann Utsav of Kutch, Madhya Pradesh tourism has dared to do the unthinkable of bringing tourists to a location as remote as Hanuwantia with nothing to lure them. Now Hanuwantia is a hub for air, land and water adventure activities. Jal Mahotsav is in its third year now and gradually increasing its time span. For ten days two years back, it increased to one month last year and now 80 days. This year Jal Mahotsav specially targets the year-end tourists. So, if you are looking for any new destination this new year eve, why not try Hanuwantia. This year festival started on 15th October and will continue till 2nd January 2018.

One of the clusters of the tent colony

The vision of Hanuwantia Festival was actually inspired by Sentosa island of Singapore. Although these are very early days for Hanuwantia to climb to any comparable league half as good as Sentosa. The main attraction of Jal Mahotsav is water sports in its huge reservoir which will often look like a sea. But there are aero activities too, like paramotoring, parasailing and ballooning. Swiss tents have been put up for the tourists at the Jal Mahotsav. There are houseboats as well. An exhibition focused on Narmada river besides food zone, craft bazaar is being organised.

For all those who have been to Kutch, they will find quite a similarity between the tent colony at Hanuwantia and the tent colony at Rann Utsav of Kutch in Gujarat. Few clusters of tents and every cluster having a tents surrounding an artificially levelled ground.

Away from concrete cities, this is welcome change to be besides an artificial sea of water. Hanuwantia is besides the Indira Sagar Reservoir which is said to be the biggest such inland water body in Asia.

A paramotor at Hanuwantia in evening lights
Closer look of an airborne paramotor
Two paramotors in the sky at sunset, best time to enjoy
You can have fun riding a bicycle around the tent city

But being here is fun, only if you are planning to indulge in some air or water activities. Otherwise it could be boring after some time. Since Hanwantia has got no other activities, therefor the experience of coming to Hanwantia had to be a packaged one with everything under one roof. Hence came the idea of a tent colony and all sort of land, water and air activities.

Jet scooter on waters of Indira Sagar

Water sports is a genre getting immensely popular among Indian tourists and Hanuwantia has plenty of water to play upon. You can find a host of water activities here.

Jungle trek on Boria Mal island
Smaller cruise boats to take you to ride in the lake

Besides, you can also take boat trips to other islands in the reservoir. Some of these islands like Boria Mal has even got tents to stay overnight. Even forest department has pitched some tents on its own for the tourists. These islands can be explored even on non-festival days. Some of these islands have also developed wildlife due to reserved forest land. You can also enjoy trekking in these islands. Some other islands are haven for migratory birds in the winter.

What would have been a top dome of a big temple in its prime is now a testimony of the submergence alone in this huge waterbody!

Hanuwantia is popular as Hanuwantia Tapu among locals, named after a village of same name in Malhargarh tehsil of Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh. Foundation stone of Indira Sagar project on Narmada river was laid way back in 1984, but the work on project started in 1992. This was the earliest project on Narmada river and later the downstreams of the project paved way for more projects like Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Sardar Sarovar projects. Indira Sagar project reached to its full capacity in May 2005.

Locals in their boats near Boria Mal island

For a reservoir that big, it can be easily estimated that how huge would have been the submerged area. All islands in the Indira Sagar reservoir would have been little hillocks in the past. These islands have been named on nearby submerged villages. A history got submerged in the lake.

Where to Stay:

Inside the Swiss tent
Tents besides the Indira Sagar reservoir!

All tents are Swiss tents, with minor difference in facilities as per the package one opts for. Tents are undoubtedly good, with attached toilet and shower. Beds are comfortable. Tents are spacious, there is a sitting area inside the tent and a covered sitting area, outside the tent giving you the full view of the cluster. Tents also have air conditioners. The ground outside the tents work as a activity ground or playground where you can enjoy cycling. Teas can be served at the tents but dining area is separate, where all guests have to go for breakfast and meals.

Outside the tents

Be watchful to keep you tent door nets zipped, specially in evenings as there can be mosquitos around as there is ample water everywhere. Food is good if not exceptional. Try to taste some local delicacies of the Malwa region. The existence of this tent city comes only during the duration of Jal Mahotsav. SO if you plan to be at the Jal Mahotsav, than this tent city is perhaps only mainly available accommodation in Hanuwantia.

MPTDC Cottages at Hanuwantia

Hanuwantia also has a Madhya Pradesh Tourism resort with beautifully designed lake facing cottages but during the time of the festival these cottages mostly remain occupied by officials and politicians. But if you go outside the festival dates, you can certainly stay in these cottages.

House boats at Hanuwantia

There is another stay option during the festival time and also afterwards and it is Kerala style houseboats, a couple of them at Hanuwantia. These houseboats have three rooms on the lower deck and an open upper deck sitting area. There is a kitchen as well. These houseboats can also take you on a trip inside the lake.

How to Reach:

Islands near Sailani on the Indore-Hanumantia route

Hanuwantia  Tapu (island) is in Khandawa district of Madhya Pradesh. Indore is the nearest airport which is almost 140 kilometres away. Road to Hanuwantia from Indore passes through Omkareshwar and Barwah. This road journey takes around three to four hours, depending on road as well as vehicle. If you prefer train to reach here Khandawa is the nearest railway station on the Main Delhi-Bhopal-Itarsi rail line. Hanuwantia is 48 kilometres from Khandawa. Barwah on the Indore-Hanuwantia road also has a railway station but this is a metre gauge section line coming from Mahu.

A fisherman in the Indira Sagar lake

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Finding Nemo while walking underwater in Bali Sea

It is indeed one of the most adorable and loved  fishes of silver screen and also of aquariums thereafter. Orange Clownfish Nemo has been craze of kids world over after that landmark film – Finding Nemo. Hence watching Nemo in its natural habitat in the sea is indeed filled with a lot of excitement. But of course, this is not about Nemo, it is about walking under the sea and feeling the nature’s bounty around you. Sea Walking is a gem of an adventure for all those who don’t want to go in nitty-gritty of diving. And there can be perhaps no better place for sea walking than beautiful waters of Bali in Indonesia.

Orange Clownfish ‘nemo’ in its territory

Sea walkers are the latest craze for the under water adventure seekers and what a place can be better than Bali to do this. Tanjung Benoa in South Kuta district of Badung Regency in Bali is the hub of water sports activities in Bali and it has lot to offer. One of the best among them is the Sea walker, where one walks few metres under the sea with the help of special helmets filled with oxygen. While you walk, you see the fishes and corals around you. You can be under the water for 20 to 30 minutes or more. A thrill and lots of fun, if you are not afraid of water.

Boats in the sea to take you down

The host of water sports activities in the region include snorkelling, sea walking and diving besides the regular ones like parasailing, jet-sking, water scooters and lot more. Sea Walking is fairly new but interesting adventure.

Under the sea for a stroll!

For this activity, once at the beachside base, you are registered. After the paper formalities, one has to change-in in special suits. Then they are transported by speed boats to offshore docking stations which are actually boats anchored in the sea away from the coast.

Once you reach at the docking station, you are given instructions on the process, which is mostly related to sign language that has to used with the instructor. Walkers are given a helmet to wear, which provides oxygen supply through pipe attached to docking station. Walkers are supposed to breath normally. It is a walk, not a dive or a swim. Special rubber footwear are also given here (these are not flippers as of divers).

You go down the sea through a ladder attached to the boat. The instructor than pulls you down further from the ladder and parks you on the sea bed, where you can stand holding specially fixed rails and ropes. Now you are ready for the walk.

With directions from the instructor you walk on the sea-bed holding rails and ropes, enjoying corals and fishes around. You will be seeing many of them for the first time in your lives, as was with me.

Enjoying corals

What is interesting that, you even carry bread with you to feed the fishes so that they gather around you and one has the few of being surrounded by the fishes under the sea.

After spending around 20-30 minutes under the sea and walking around, you are taken back to the boat, through the same ladder.

Back to the boat after thrill

Its an exhilarating experience and good one for first timers who don’t have an exposure of going under the sea water. With safety of life jackets and oxygen helmets, it is a safe activity for even those who don’t know to swim.

You can watch a video of my sea walking experience on my YouTube channel by clicking on the link below:

With many competitors around in the Tanjung Benoa area of Bali, rates are often bargained. We did this activity for 600K Indonesian Rupiah (roughly 2800 Indian Rupee). Don’t forget to carry your water proof cameras for capturing memorable experience, but if you don’t have it, than sea walking operators will click your images with their cameras, but of course for a handsome amount.

Goa Tourism to run all water sports booths

goaTo bring some order in the functioning of water sports operators, beginning next tourism season – October 2014 – the tourism department through Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC) will operate all the water sports booths in the state. The booths run by GTDC will issue tickets, maintain the queue system and control sport activities. The decision has been taken in view of complaints against water sports operators that they don’t follow a queue system. The new water sports policy of the government will also be implemented from the next season. Tourism officials say that despite their directive, water sports operators operating from popular beaches in the state reluctantly, follow the queue system.

calangute-beach-goaDuring the last two years, although the queue system is being followed, there have been constant fights among the operators. The tourism department has been in receipt of many such complaints. Also, many complaints were about irregularities against water sports operators, alleging that safety measures are not followed as most of the boats are overcrowded and expose passengers on-board to danger.  Also, two writ petitions were also filed in the high court seeking directions to tourism department to intervene in the interest of safety of the tourists. Nikhil Desai, director, tourism department, in the affidavit filed before the high court, said GTDC would undertake operations of water sport booths, but only from the next season. This is because the process of taking over of the queue system from the water sports associations will take some time as all the necessary infrastructure will have to be created as also additional staff will have to be employed to maintain the water sports booths.

The tourism department has moved the proposal to the government for taking over the queue system from the water sports association from ongoing season itself, Desai had stated in his affidavit filed in the high court. There are over a thousand water sports operators operating from various beach stretches but North Goa beaches Calangute, Baga, Sinquerim and Candolim are most crowded. Touts also move around tapping customers.

Water Sports In Goa

The fabulous golden Goan coast is sprinkled with water sports excitements from windsurfing to paragliding. John Lucas, an Englishman, who first came to Goa in the early 70s like thousands of other westerners on a spiritual journey, found his heaven here in Goa. Being a keen windsurfer, the next time he came back to Goa, he had with him, his board and rig. And the trend for water sports in Goa was set. Today there are a number of water based sports and activities available in Goa. The best season for enjoying water sports in Goa is from October to May when the skies here are cloudless and blue, and the waters fairly placid.

Surfing. Photo: alphagoa.com
Surfing. Photo: alphagoa.com

Windsurfing trainers and experts alike claim Dona Paula bay to be the ideal location for the beginners. The prevailing winds and the calm sea, ensure almost lake-like conditions. The morning breeze is light and steady — just right for learners; while stronger winds that set in during the afternoons offer a perfect challenge for the more experienced.

For Dinghy Sailing Dinghies are available for hire at the Cidade de Goa and the Taj Holiday Village. Instructors are available for beginners.These 15-odd feet long crafts hold three to four people comfortably. The Zuari estuary at Dona Paula is an excellent learning area – its calm waters being the kindest Goa has to offer.  Scuba diving is also fast gaining popularity. Underwater visibility in the more tranquil of Goa’s bays and lagoons ranges between five to ten meters. Although Goa does not have magnificent coral reefs it boasts of myriad schools of fascinating marine life. For the speed-lovers Goa offers the thrills of venturing into the sea on speedboats. The high-class speedboats for Water Skiing which are available in some places, can achieve speeds of up to 30-40 miles an hour.

watersports_ goa2The beaches of Goa offer a varied and plentiful, almost inexhaustible, supply of seafood, still fairly cheap and absolutely fresh. The Agonda beach in Canacona, which lies a short distance from the more famous Palolem beach is a popular spot for Angling. Soormai, salmon and mullet are frequent catches.  High fliers amongst the speed lovers can opt for Parasailing.  There’s a rope about 300 feet long attached to the parasail harness at one end and to the speedboat at the other. When the boat speeds off on the water, the parasailor just takes one or two steps and he is lifted into the air, the parasail lifting behind him.  Water Scooter are readily available at Dona Paula jetty, Cidade de Goa, Majorda, and Candolim beach.