Horses were one of the first animals to have been domesticated and used for various purposes such as riding. The earliest dates going back to 3500 BC, horse riding or equestrianism has evolved to become a popular sport in the 21st century. A major transportation method in some areas, the skill of horse riding is also used for police work, as a part of cultural exercises, fox hunting, trail riding and even for therapeutic purposes in order to improve the health and emotional development of human beings. Horses continue to provide us service through farming, by pulling carriages and also by forming a part of some traditional ceremonies and customs throughout the world. But most familiar as a leisure activity, the skill of horse riding is gaining popularity throughout the world. In India, 7 places for an ultimate horse riding experience are listed here.
1. Udaipur, Rajasthan
Look no further than Rajasthan, the gorgeous desert state of India, for an amazing horse riding experience. With several trails, horse riding in Udaipur provides an excellent and an interesting way to explore this semi-arid city with luxurious forts and majestic hillocks. Many ranches here offer rides to explore the rural settlements and the mesmerizing Aravalli mountain ranges of the state.
Home of the floating palace, Udaipur offers a dazzling range of locations to be explored. From the wilderness of the Aravalli range where you can spot leopards, panthers, sloth bears and wild boars, to the golden castles of the city, horse riding combines a unique way to view the glory of the city while enjoying comfortable and luxurious stays at heritage resorts and hotels available throughout.
2. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
There is possibly no other place on the planet that offers more to its visitors than the blissful Ladakh region in Jammu & Kashmir. A vast landscape that is still largely unexplored, Ladakh is amongst the best destinations for horse riding in India. Various trails are present in the region encouraging you to explore the remote and charming nature of Ladakh.
The Changthang Plateau or “the land of Tibetan Wildass and Tibetan Wolf” is an exceptional spot for horse riding giving a glimpse of the nomadic people of the land and exotic wildlife. Zanskar Valley, Tsomoriri Lake and Pangong Lake are other famous sites for this sport. One can also visit the regions of Zangla, Penzela Pass, Panikhar Fort and monasteries of Zongkhul, Stongdey and Gelugpa on horseback.
3. Sonmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Translating to the “Meadow of Gold”, Sonmarg is an enchanting hill station located in the Ganderbal district in Jammu & Kashmir. To explore these lofty mountains on rugged terrain surrounded by the lush green beauty of the region, Sonmarg offers a breathtaking experience on horseback. In the backdrop of the majestic snow-filled mountains against the turquoise skies, Sonmarg is a paradise for nature lovers. Resting in the vicinity of some of the grand Himalayan glaciers of the Kashmir Valley, Sonmarg offers an opportunity to explore the Kolhoi and Machoi Glaciers on horseback. The Sirbal Peak, Kolhoi Peak, Amarnath Peak and Machoi Peak of these glaciers are just few of the great summits that rise above 5000 metres.
4. Shillong, Meghalaya
A travel-friendly state of the country, Meghalaya offers a hassle-free, serene and an enchanting vacation to its visitors. A cherished tourist spot amongst the travelers, this state is also ideal for horse riding. The capital city of Shillong or the abode of clouds has vibrant towns, dense green hill ranges to be explored on a horseback. The city still retains the aura of the British Raj in its architecture, and also preserves the custom of horse riding which the British personnel followed in order to run some errands or just to overlook the proceedings in the city. Surrounded by hills, the city can be explored on horseback all the way to the highest peak, the Shillong Peak at an altitude of 1965 metres. The sweeping view from this peak is simply rewarding after an exhilarating ride on the horseback.
5. Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
Situated at an elevation of 3564 metres above the sea level, Yumthang valley is a breathtaking region of land located in the North Sikkim district of the Sikkim state. A grazing pasture, this region is also popularly known as the “Valley of Flowers” and accommodates the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary which is home to more than twenty-four species of the state flower – rhododendron. An ideal place to spend some solitary time, this is a grazing pasture of the yaks and a beautiful spot for horse riding. On horseback, one can follow the course of the Teesta river that flows through this valley towards the town of Lachung.
6. Digha, West Bengal
Located in the East Midnapore district and forming the northern end of the Bay of Bengal, Digha is a gorgeous and the most popular resort town in West Bangal. With gentle blue waves of the water lashing at the light colored sand and the golden sun shining in the brilliant azure sky, Digha beach makes for an ideal destination for horse riding. Overlooking the confluence of the Hooghly river with the Bay of Bengal, this spot provides a calming and tranquil site to undertake the sport of horse riding.
7. Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra
One of the most popular destinations of horse riding is the city of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. This lovey hill station is nestled in the lush greenery of the Western Ghats at an average elevation of 1353 metres. The Echo Point provides horses for short as well as long rides, offering you a chance to witness some famous attractions like the 3 Monkey Point, Arthur seat point, Venna Lake, Kate’s Point, Needle Hole Point, Pratapgad and the Lingmala Waterfalls.
Just 7 of a great many destinations for horse riding, India accommodates myriads of amazing sites and scenic spots offering enthralling experiences on horse-back.