Madhya Pradesh has something for every traveller. Wildlife enthusiasts keep returning to the jungles of Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench; history buffs can spend hours touring Khajuraho and Sanchi and food lovers never miss a chance to savour delicacies in Indore. Many of these sites are ideal for family fun: Mowgli’s adventures set in M.P’s jungles are loved by children and adults alike, and history textbooks on larger-than-life monarchs and warriors can come to life in the historic spots of the state. In fact, one of the state’s most exciting festivals, Jal Mahotsav, can be an ideal getaway for some uninterrupted family time with the kids.
In its third edition, the festival has been extended to a two-and-half-month-long extravaganza from 15 October 2017 to 2 January 2018—perfect to plan for the upcoming Christmas and New Year breaks. Popular as an adventure sports destination with its commencement last year, the festival hosted at Hanuwantiya in the Madhya Dweep islands, is back with a host of new activities. There are adventures in land, air and water, as well as a tent-city with Swiss tents to accommodate visitors and there is something for everyone in the family, especially the kids.
Water sports are the biggest draw at the Jal Mahotsav. While younger children can go zorbing, or lie prone on a slide, the older ones and parents can opt for more exciting options. Parasailing over the expansive Indira Sagar reservoir can be just the adrenaline rush needed before jumping on a jet ski. Those more comfortable outside the water can opt for more adventurous activities like parasailing while being assisted by a vehicle over the grounds of the festival, or even paramotoring on their own.
Even for non-adventure junkies, there’s plenty to choose from. You could kick things off with a ride on an All-Terrain Vehicle or put on a harness and breeze down a zip line in the activities area before going on to wall climbing, a test of stamina and strength. This could be the perfect opportunity for some healthy competition between family members. Those looking to experience the thrill of an adventure but not willing to take on something quite as extreme as paramotoring can choose the hot-air balloon experience. The vantage point from the balloon affords perfect views of the calm waters in the morning and a lit up festival site in the evenings.
The luxurious tents are welcoming after a day of adventure.
While Hanuwantiya itself is far removed from the everyday din, a 45-minute boat ride from here can take the family to a forest on another island. Walking through the wilderness trails can give the children a chance to enjoy simple pleasures of nature like chasing butterflies or listening to the chirping of the island’s many birds. For a night enveloped with cricket sounds and the rustle of leaves, opt to stay at the tents close to the woods on the island.
Back in Hanuwantiya, try the popular bullock cart ride around the nearby villages. Along the lanes, the story of everyday rural life unfolds in the form of painted houses, farms and fields.
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