Slacklining refers to the act of walking or balancing along a suspended length of flat webbing that is tensioned between two anchors. Samar Farooqui, India’s leading slackliner, is seen walking on a highline at approximately 40 feet above the ground. In 2014, the 30-year-old became the country’s first ever representative in an international forum, when he participated in Poland’s Urban Highline Festival. Farooqui will be conducting the highlining workshops on the first two days of the festival. Photo by: Sayandeep Roy
When it comes to a weekend getaway from Delhi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh seem like promising options. But Mangar and Dhauj—villages in Haryana’s Aravalli range—hold little known secrets best suited for adventure enthusiasts. The region also prides itself as a nature’s oasis. Here, Nilgai—Asia’s largest antelope, and birds such as the yellow-crowned woodpecker and black-headed cuckooshrike reside freely amongst the locals.
Situated in Faridabad, around 15 kilometres from South Delhi, the twin villages act as a base for rock-climbing and hiking. Dhauj experienced a wave of climbers in the 70s’, and the trend made a comeback in the following decades.
Cut to 2019, a group of outdoor enthusiasts headed by Tenzing Jamyang—a Ladakh-origin climbing pioneer—founded GRITFest, owing to the sport’s popularity. The adventure-themed festival is set to host its third edition this year between February 26 and 28. While rock climbing remains its marquee activity, those who sign up can dabble in highline workshops, adventure-movie screenings, a clean-up drive, and a walk led by Sunil Harsana—an experienced environmental activist.
Day passes are available from Rs1,000. For more information on the festival, visit www.gritfest.in
30-year-old Namgyal Phuntsog climbs the 45-feet tall classic ‘problem’—a terminology used in climbing to often refer to a route on a rock’s surface. This problem in focus, located in a zone called the Sanctuary, is named Comfortably Dumb. Here, Phuntsog is seen hanging with only a harness attached to a rope for safety. This problem was first conquered on November 9, 1992 by Deepak Jhalani, Annie Jacob and Paramjit Singh.
Dhauj’s Aagman Farm Stay, an eco-camp situated in close proximity to the Sanctuary, provides accommodation, food and lodging facilities in collaboration with GRITFest. Guests can opt to stay in one of the seven luxury tents or pitch their own on the open ground.
A hike to the Lake Shail starts from the Aagman Farm Stay, visible in the backdrop juxtaposed with the rocky terrains in the Sanctuary. Subu, a member of the organising committee, is seen leading the group as the sun burns in the afternoon sky.
A group makes its way to Lake Shail, an hour’s hike from the camp. The walk introduces one to the biodiversity of the region, and winds through the forests of Dhauj and Mangar.
Lake Shail is also accessible via a detour from the main road, which is estimated to cut down the time of the hike by 40 minutes.
The Prow area offers easily accessible lines—such as Talwar, as seen in the photograph—which are best suited for rock-climbing novices.