DAMS - RESERVOIRS
RIVERS AND LAKES
Learn to swim before heading on to the beach, it saves lives and never swim alone even if you aree a strong swimmer. If your kids aren’t strong swimmers or are just learning how to swim, make sure they stay close to shore. Actively supervise your children at all times- when in water or on the shore.
Avoid: Avoid head first into the ocean as murky water can obscure underwater obstacles in the shallows. Protect your neck by always entering the sea with feet first. Avoid alcohol; it not only inhibits judgement but also accelerates dehydration. Do not pretend drowning. Avoid rip currents that are powerful channels of water that flow perpendicular from the beach; they can sweep swimmers far from the shore.
Tip: To get out of a rip current: Remain calm. Don’t fight the current. Swim parallel to the shore: rips are usually narrow; swim left or right until you no longer feel the current. Then swim to shore.
Drink water at regular intervals. Apply sunscreen often, and use broad-spectrum lotion that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Young children require a higher SPF sunscreen than adults because their skin is more susceptible to UV rays. Apply lotion 15 to 30 minutes before heading outside for optimal absorption. Other sun-protective measures wear a broad rim hat and sunglasses are mandatory. And obey all caution warning signage on the beach.
Trekking on the mountains is a pleasing and unforgettable experience. However, it is important to keep your safety in mind. Weather conditions can change by the minute and in case of an accident, medical help is seldom available.
Preparation: Know about the destination you are heading to and make sure that you know the details of your trek. Take proper clothing for all weather conditions (warm clothes, rain gear balaclava and gloves, compass, GPS to name a few). Try to get prior information about the weather forecast.
Be prepared for tough weather conditions, especially if you are trekking in high altitude areas like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Amarnath and Manasarovar that are above 3,000 m/10,000 ft. The effects of high wind chill can dramatically lower the body temperature. This can be dangerous and potentially fatal. It is therefore very important to be properly equipped when walking high up the mountains especially in rough weather.
While, trekking never walk alone, go with a friend or porter/guide. Always carry warm clothes, rain gear, first aid kit, torch, enough water and snacks; make sure you know when you can restock yourself with food supplies. Personal hygiene is important in order not to get sick. Always wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating. If the water is too cold then you can as well use hand sanitizers.
Tip: You will regularly come across mules or yaks during your treks in the Himalayas, so stay on the mountain side while you wait for them to pass and don’t move towards the valley side.
In cold weather we tend to be more in the sunlight and this leads to heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration. So consume lots of water to avoid heatstroke, use big hats, light coloured clothing and SPF 60 sunscreens to avoid sunburns. Make sure you pay attention to the advice of your guide/porter, who knows about trek conditions.
Altitude Sickness/Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Altitude sickness, also called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) generally occurs above 8,000 ft. It ranges from a mild headache and exhaustion to a life-threatening condition, when fluid in the lungs (HAPE) or brain (HACE) is built-up. AMS is caused when body is unable to acclimatize to the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Usually this is due to quick ascent, and sometimes personal sensitivity and this can be fatal, so it is vital to know about its symptoms.
Symptoms: Tourists usually have a mild headache, loss of appetite and nausea. These symptoms are quite common but it is important to inform the guide or trekking companion about your symptoms, and keep a close watch that the symptoms don’t get worse with severe headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, shortness of breath, nausea.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema occurs when fluid builds up within the lungs, a condition that can make breathing extremely difficult and this can happen gradually or all of a sudden. If ignored, it can progress to respiratory collapse and death. Symptoms: Shortness of breath even while resting, fatigue, gurgling respirations, dry cough with frothy sputum and high fever.
High Altitude Cerebral Edema
This occurs when fluid builds up within the brain and leads to swelling of the brain tissue. The person’s mental state changes resulting in loss of coordination, coma that can lead to death. Symptoms: Difficulty in stability and coordination, hallucinations, lethargy, confusion and as the brain continues to swell and this might lead to unconsciousness and death.
Tip : How to identify if someone is seriously suffering from AMS, HAPE or HACE? Ask the person to walk in a straight line or ask the person to close his eyes and bring his finger to the tip of his nose and if he is unable to do so, the situation is quite alarming.
How to prevent AMS?
The best way to prevent AMS is to ascend gradually not more than thousand feet a day or rest for a day to acclimatize instead of continuing the tour/trek. Drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated and carry some tablets of Diamox (Consult your doctor before the tour) Diamox re-acidifies the blood, balancing the effects of the hyperventilation that occurs at high altitude in an attempt to get oxygen. This acts as a respiratory stimulant and accelerates acclimatization. In case your symptoms are getting worse take the help of the guide to descend to lower altitude.
Tip: You cannot strain yourself or get into any activities for 24 hours when you arrive at high altitudes places like Leh /Ladakh by a plane as this could lead to fatigue, breathlessness and nausea because of low oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Rest for a day to acclimatize as this will help you to have a safer and enjoyable holiday.
Wear proper footwear and this should place the entire foot on the surface and have heavy treads. Avoid a smooth sole and opt for a heavy treaded shoe with a flat bottom. Be cautious of thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet pavement, or black ice. UV light bounces off snow even on a cloudy day and the effects of UV rays increases with altitude. It is therefore essential to have 100% UVA and UVB protection for the Eyes and Skin. Use lots of Sunscreen with high SPF values and proper sun glasses.
Eyes - Sun Glasses
UV Protection: Ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) has been proven to cause a variety of eye disease. These include damage to the cornea which can develop into problems such as cataracts, muscular degeneration, cancer of the eye and sunburn to the retina (photokeratitis).
Lenses: Polycarbonate and NXT (Light Translation Technology) lenses have high impact resistance, and will not break upon impact with the ground. NXT lenses are so strong that it has been proven to deflect the impact of a bullet. Polycarbonate is lightweight and more resistant to fogging than any other lens. The material is also naturally UV absorbing which means that the clear lens can boast 100% UV protection.
Frames of Goggles Plastic frames perform much better than metal frames in any conditions. Plastic frames can be designed to wrap around your eyes providing extra wide fields of view and will not bounce or shift during travel or travel sports related activities. They also keep out the wind, snow and minimise glare by blocking out incidental light from the sides. Some advanced eyewears have side protectors that can be added or removed to provide additional protection.
Safari, Camping and Hiking are the adventure activities that take you close to wildlife. It is breathtaking fun while we are in the wildlife zone. However, a protected area involves many risks as well; hence there are many fundamentals that should be followed.
Avoid smoking - anything can start a forest fire. Avoid spending a lot of time outdoors and avoid plastic and never hike unaccompanied at night. Group of three or more hikers more formidable and hence are safer than a single hiker is. Stay away from aromatic items. The sharp sense of smell of animals makes them able to detect the presence from far away. Thus, one should avoid beverages, lotions, scents and food with strong aromas. It is wise to keep dry food as they smell less and are light in weight as well. Do avoid bright colours and stick to muted shades of green, black, grey and brown. The more you set with the background, the safer it is. Wear comfortable walking shoes and don’t forget your hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, torch etc.
Dress for comfort: Gumboots or covered shoes, denims, compass, watch, torch, full shirt and a whistle.
It is important to stay alert while being in an area where there is a probability to find wild animals. Look for the signs of wildlife such as footprints, droppings, scratch marks on trees, etc. One should stay watchful in such areas, as there is a risk of being attacked.
The sound of your passing through the woods is a warning for wildlife, and walking quietly means it is more likely you will startle animals you meet, which may in turn react unpredictably. When walking in remote area, plan a route, and let someone know where you are going, and when you will be back.
When any wild animal approaches, it is wise to make loud noise. One can also blow the whistle. It is imperative that one should never show the back to these wilds. Above all, do not run. Running from any animal that hunts for a living will incite its prey chasing mechanism faster than you can blink. So just hold your ground and breathe steadily.
Tip: Try to make yourself appear larger than you really are. Lions are fairly lazy on the whole and if you look like a challenge, the chances are that the lion will treat you as such and be less inclined to attack. Things that might help increase your physical size appearance include pitching your jacket between your raised hands or wave the arms in order to look big.
Stay away from carcasses. It can prove risky if someone goes near the carcasses as the wild animals stay near these carcasses to guard the food. There is a high probability of finding a wild animal near the body of a dead animal.
Dress appropriately: Because of extreme temperatures – high heat during the day and cold at night—be aware of the risk for heat stroke and hypothermia. Protect yourself from the sun’s rays with a broad rim hat, sunglasses, and broad spectrum sunscreen. Bring an extra jacket with you in case you’re out after dark when temperatures drop.
Orient yourself: It’s easy to become disoriented in a desert environment. Bring a GPS or compass with you.
Tip: If you are stranded, move to the top of a dune, carry a mirror or piece of aluminium that can reflect sunlight and be used to flash a potential rescuer.
Avoid walking in the heat. Try to walk before 11am and after 4pm. If you’re walking or hiking, keep a slow and steady pace, and take regular breaks. During breaks, don’t sit directly on the ground, where it is hottest. Remember that a foot or two above the ground will be substantially cooler. Be aware that distances are deceptive. What may look like 5 miles may actually be 20 miles in the desert. Be aware of mirages.
You may not encounter desert creatures, as most are nocturnal. However, some deserts are home to venomous snakes and spiders. To avoid being bitten, be sure to watch where you walk, where you put your hands, and where you sit, and avoid stepping over rocks.
Beware of flash floods. If you’re travelling in summer, remember that this time of year can be very hot, with sudden rain storms and flash floods. Beware of lightening and any signs of storms. Try to get to get a shelter such as a car or building. If you are unable to get to a shelter, it’s best to lie flat between the dunes.
It should be noted that most visitors suffer from sunburn, rashes, heat exhaustion and heatstroke than most of the other injuries put together. Water is your best friend in helping prevent heat-related illnesses in theme parks. Chugging water in the park won't help as much as getting well hydrated two to three days before your trip.
Alcohol dehydrates you, leaving you at risk of sunstroke and heat exhaustion. So avoid alcohol. Put on a water resistant sunscreen before you enter the park, and remember to reapply it throughout the day. Wear comfortable shoes and clean, dry socks. Never enter a restricted area in a theme park. Don't climb or hop fences , If you drop a hat or other item that falls into a restricted area, such as under a roller coaster, ask a park employee for help.
People who are overweight often have high blood pressure, which could put them at higher risk on some high-speed, twisty rides. If you have high blood pressureskip the big roller coasters and simulator rides until you've checked with a doctor.
You might think a ride looks tame enough for you. But sometimes there are potential problems on a ride that most visitors can't see - a hidden drop or turn, a sudden stop, or a portable ladder that riders will have to descend if the ride shuts down. Don't think that you know more about a ride than the park does. If they tell you not to ride, don't. Don't use lifts or other tricks to make your kids look taller than they are, height and safety restrictions are there for a reason.
Do not get on or off a ride until you've been cleared by an attendant to do so. Make sure that your cart has stopped next to the unload platform before you get off. Often, cart stop short of the unload platform to wait for groups up ahead to exit.
Some rides, especially roller coasters and simulator rides can leave you at risk of headaches as well as more serious head injuries. On these types of rides, sit in the middle of the chair and don't slouch or lean to one side. Relax and keep your balance in the seat. When the seat pitches you to the left, relax your torso and bend to the right to keep your head upright and centred, and vice versa.
Tip: If you pretend you're "driving" the coaster, that extra sense of control can help you keep your balance and avoid nausea.
Again, if you are prone to headaches, epilepsy and migraine, have any neck or back problems, or have been diagnosed with aneurysm, do not get on any roller coaster or simulator ride. If you are visiting with a child, take a moment to explain the ride to them, and tell them how they should behave. Their safety depends on you.
Honeymoon should be an exhilarating affair, with high dosage of enjoyment. But at the same time, it should be completely safe and secure. The safety of the honeymoon can be insured by opting for a travel insurance that covers the two of you in case of any untoward incidents.
Besides that before visiting a particular destination, gain some prior knowledge. This knowledge would stand you in good stead, in case of any trouble. For example, if you are visiting a honeymoon destination, which though beautiful, is known for its touts and local criminalsit is better to be beware of them beforehand, and be circumspect in dealing with the local people, so as to avoid falling into unnecessary trouble.
In case you are planning an outbound trip for your honeymoon, it is always better to dress in a style that comes within the purview of the conventional moral code or the societal norms of that destination. That would prevent you and your partner from getting unwelcome attention on the streets, cafes or busy markets.
Take the Forex from registered vendors only otherwise you may end up with malicious use of the exchanged currency for anti social activities. Currency exchange is very costly at the airports so avoid taking them at the Airports. We need to submit a copy of Passport with valid Visa and Airline Ticket to the ‘Money Changer’.
Tip: Take the Forex from registered vendors only otherwise we may end up with malicious use of the exchanged currency for anti social activities.
Primary benefit of travel insurance is; should something go wrong while you are abroad, you won't be responsible for finding the money, at a time when you are already stressed out.
As with all insurance policies, it is important that you read the policy documents carefully to ensure that the cover you require is included. Policies vary quite a bit so take time and find a policy that covers your intended activity at no extra cost.
Tip: Medical Evacuation
In the absence of hospital capable of treating you locally, this section of the policy covers the costs of transporting you to the nearest hospital that can treat you, even if you are abroad.
Check the valid reasons to claim under the ambit of the policy that you have taken:
Cancellation, Curtailment & Trip Interruption, Missed Departure, Personal Liability, Legal Expenses, missing personal Belongings/Baggage etc.
To summarize, a standard travel insurance policy contains various sections of cover, but usually a standard travel insurance policy will cover all the unexpected events that can occur while away from home. Please bear in mind that if you buy a travel insurance policy that is fit for purpose, you have wasted your money.
Tip: During overseas travel we get tax refunds from some countries against the goods purchased, so make sure if any such benefits are offered by the countries that you are touring.
In case of any emergency please contact the local police or the Indian Embassy. They will provide the necessary help.
Before You Check In
If you're not travelling as part of a package tour, consider finding a hotel via the Internet. There are plenty of reliable services to connect you, and by paying in advance you often get a very good deal. Before you leave home, make a photocopy of your passport or any Govt. Approved ID, and keep it with you at all times during your travels. Also, make sure you have a return ticket, and keep it in a safe and accessible place.
Check-in ought to be a simple, quick procedure but upon arrival see to it that the entire luggage from the taxi has been taken out and the same has been brought by yourself/bellboy to the room. Put your valuables in the hotel safe or if your room has its own safe. Never leave anything important outside the safe as this might encourage theft and always make sure your room is locked.
One thing you should definitely do within a few minutes of arrival is learn your fire exit routes. All being well you'll never need it, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Taking three minutes on your first day could literally prove to be a life saver. If possible, choose accommodation that has unmarked 'swipe cards' rather than numbered keys for each room. If you lose your swipe card or if it is stolen, the thief won't know which room to rob. When arranging to meet people you've never met before (such as business associates), wait for them in the lobby. Don't ask them to come up to your room.
Tip: Ask your hotel manager for advice on 'safe' versus 'unsafe' local areas. As a general rule, city streets that include children and women suggest the area is safe for families.
Make sure you have packed everything before you leave the room for the last time. Check the drawers, under pillows wardrobe, and bathroom and don't forget the safe. Check all the charges on your bill before you pay.
Tip: Make sure you pack the luggage yourselves and don’t carry anything without checking. If drug peddlers end up keeping their consignment in your bag without your knowledge this would be a very grave offence.
Houseboats have all the comforts of a good hotel: furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen to have an exciting stay but it's important to remember that you're still out on the water, and as such, boating safety rules should be observed. By paying attention to just a few houseboat safety tips, you can ensure that safety concerns wouldn't ruin your experience.
Safety Tips: Look out for life jackets, fire extinguishers, don’t consume too much of alcohol. Check the weather forecast and when anchoring for overnight stay see that it is anchored in a safe area and properly anchored to get a good night's sleep.
(Also read Boat and Hotels section for further safety precautions)
Home stays are operated by the homeowners themselves and gives you a unique and unforgettable experience of the destination and local lifestyle. Home stays should be meticulously researched before you book. Check review sites, travel forums and make your booking through a reputed tour operator. (Also read Hotels section for further safety precautions)
If you feel like you're being watched and just want to make sure your privacy is protected.
Here are some ways to locate hidden cameras and microphones.
Do a physical search of the premises.
This involves a slow, meticulous search of the room you suspect with hidden cameras. Look around for anything that seems different or out of place, Check for smoke detectors, look for a speaker, light fixtures, and other places where a camera/ microphone transmitter can be kept stealthily. Turn off the lights and look around for tiny red or green LED lights.
While the lights are off, grab a flashlight and carefully examine all mirrors. These can be made transparent from one side so that a camera can see through, but they rely on the observer's side being darker than the area observed in order to keep the other side of the mirror reflective.
Pinhole cameras are kept behind a tiny opening in a wall or object. For this flash the light from your torch over the room and pay attention to any small glimmers that reflect back.
Carry a RF signal detector -These portable devices are small, simple to use, and fairly inexpensive, once it detects a RF it gives a beep.
Tip: Place a call on your cell phone, then wave the device around where you think there might be a camera or microphone. If you can hear a clicking noise /signal Interference on the call, it means your phone might be interfering with an electromagnetic field.
Look out for mirror hanging on the wall if its a real mirror/two-way mirror I.e., they can see you, but you can't see them.
Tip Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface and if there is a GAP between your fingernail and the image of the nail, then it is a one-sided mirror if your fingernail directly touches the image of your nail, then be cautious it is two way mirrors.
If you find something, alert the authorities. Don't move or disable the camera or microphone.
Generally crowds are mobilized in goods carriers like trucks, tractors to pilgrimages in our country. This is highly dangerous. Travelling in trains and buses beyond the capacity is also prohibited. Pilgrimages in India are mostly on the hills so we need to travel by ghat roads. Always avoid night journeys on the ghat roads. Verify the road conditions before you start the journey. Most of the ghat roads are prone to landslides especially in rainy season. If drivers are fatigued give them rest. Do not disturb the driver while driving and don’t forget to warn rash and negligent drivers. If you are travelling on such roads, always keep your medical kit handy.
Highway and Ghat Roads
Giving way to uphill traffic is the golden rule for the ghats because cars, bikes and heavy vehicles especially coming uphill require a lot more effort to climb the hill. Usage of the handbrake on the hills becomes all the more important because one may not be used to the high levels of inclines; balancing the clutch and throttle becomes tricky. Never halt your car in a narrow section of road even for a short while, because it could hold up traffic or cause a serious accident.
Symptoms of motion sickness are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and a sense of feeling unwell. These symptoms arise from the inner ear (labyrinth) due to changes in one's sense of balance and equilibrium. While it may be impossible to prevent all cases of motion sickness, the following tips can help you prevent or lessen the severity of motion sickness.
Watch your consumption of foods, drinks and alcohol before and during travel. Avoid excessive alcohol and foods or liquids that "do not agree with you" or make you feel unusually full. Heavy, spicy, or fat-rich foods may worsen motion sickness in some people. Avoiding strong food odours may also help prevent nausea.
Try to choose a seat where you will experience the least motion. Do not sit facing backwards from your direction of travel. Do not read while travelling if you are prone to motion sickness.
Tip: When travelling by road it can sometimes help to keep your gaze fixed on a point straight ahead on the road. This is the reason drivers do not suffer from motion sickness as they look straight ahead on to the road.
Many over-the-counter medications can be very effective as preventive measures for short trips or for mild cases of motion sickness. This helps in regulating Histamine a chemical that is involved in your immune system for digestion and central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which helps you break down the food in your stomach
Our highways are unique in that we have to share space with bullock carts, cycles, three-wheelers, cars, SUVs, tankers, buses and stray animals at all times. It is best to be very cautious and take some safety measures while driving on our highways.
Check your spare tyre and tool box. Have all documents pertaining to your car and your driving license with you. Most importantly avoid driving at night, use your judgment and drive according to the conditions. Do not be in a rush. Do not keep honking and trying to overtake vehicles excessively. Keep to the left and avoid over laden tankers and lorries and unmarked humps before village entrances. Read the signs as driving long distances can result in fatigue leading to driving errors that could result in an accident. So, take a break every three-four hours of driving.
Handling a breakdown: In case of a breakdown pull your car to the left, ideally off the road if there is space and turn your hazard lights on till you get help. If the battery is the problem a rooftop reflector comes handy. Remember to carry one, on your highway drive.
Consider carrying a 'dummy' wallet holding a small amount of cash. If you are directly confronted by a mugger, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress.
You should consult your doctor before flying if you have any of these symptoms :
Fever of 100° F or greater, skin rash, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, severe cough, bruising or bleeding without previous injury, diarrhoea and vomiting. Blood Clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
Airplane travel, especially flights longer than 8 hours, may increase the risk for blood clots, also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis/Pulmonary Embolism (DVT/PE).
You are at increased risk for DVT/PE if you have had recent surgery, pregnant, smoker, taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, or have cancer, restricted movement, or a blood-clotting problem.
If you have any of these conditions, consult your doctor before travelling. People at higher risk for DVT/PE may be prescribed medication during travel.
To prevent DVT/PE during flight stay hydrated, wear loose-fitting clothing, Make an effort to walk and stretch your legs and arms at least once an hour. Your doctor may recommend that you wear special clothing that reduces leg swelling and encourages blood flow.
Oxygen Levels in Flight
The air pressure in flight is lower than that at sea level. This lowers the amount of oxygen carried in the blood. Most healthy travellers will not notice these changes. However, passengers with certain medical conditions, particularly heart and lung diseases and blood disorders, such as anemia, may not be able to cope with this reduced oxygen level. If you are concerned about oxygen levels, talk to your doctor and the airline a few days before your trip to arrange for additional oxygen during flight.
In case of air rage, a person loses his mental balance and starts to behave crankily and this might hurt the co passengers and he may even go to the extent of tampering with the aircraft by attempting to open the cabin door or entering the flight cockpit, it can become very serious indeed. The first thing to remember is that air crews are all professionally trained to deal with air rage incidents. Therefore, you should leave things to the professionals wherever possible.
Sea sickness is an adverse result of being out on the ocean and one that can ruin the trip. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and lack of equilibrium. Sea sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages about where the body is. When your inner ear canal and skin receptors indicate to the brain that the body is moving but the eyes don't agree. This visual disorientation confuses the brain and the physical manifestation of this is sea sickness.
Some over the counter drugs are effective in treating the symptoms of sea sickness before they have a chance to occur. Taking a prescribed dose of medicine the night before going out on the sea will give you a chance to calm any stimulation in the inner ear canal. Consult your doctor before the trip. Eating ginger /ginger ale prior to going out on a boat will prevent sea sickness.
People who are prone to sea sickness should stay up on deck and keep their eyes on the horizon. By focusing on the horizon you can maintain your equilibrium more easily. Excess consumption of alcohol, greasy or fatty foods or even just overeating the night before can bring on the onset of sea sickness. By eating lightly the night before, you won't feel any ill effects.
Tip: There are also wristbands that when worn properly, put pressure on certain points in your wrist that helps the body maintain its equilibrium.
For adventure tours, like Trekking, Rock Climbing, White-water Rafting, Paddling, Snorkelling, Underwater Diving, Kayaking or Canoeing; one should never forget the basic tips and guidelines to remain safe and healthy.
Before heading for any kind of adventure trip, consider all the health risks you and your family may face and always carry first aid box and other allergy related medications along with you.
While trekking, carry sleeping bag, trekking shoes and trekking rope for safe climbing. For white- water rafting, do arrange life jackets, rafts, paddles and wetsuits for safe travel. Wear comfort fit life jacket, because a loose jacket will not provide any safety in case of emergency. Never go for snorkelling adventure amidst water currents, waves or complex eddies under the water.
While skiing, always use poles or skiing gadgets to balance. To be safe, do not stop or halt yourself in blind curve or beneath the hill crest. While mountain climbing, always check safety knots before starting. Also check that the ropes are properly tied through both the harness leg loops and waist loop. (More information in Hill stations section)
While being on Wildlife Adventure or Night Safari, never get off your vehicle to watch wild animals from too close or to click their snaps. It could turn out to be very dangerous as you may get attacked by wild animals. It can endanger your life as well. (More information in Forests section)
The simplest form of diving is free diving, using a snorkel. This is suitable for tranquil and shallow waters. To get into deeper and more interesting waters, you will need scuba equipment with high-pressure air tanks. You can only scuba dive if you have proper training.
When diving, you need to equalise (clear your ears) by holding your nose and mouth closed and breathing out when changing depth.
Tip: You cannot dive within 24 hours of going on a plane as this is dangerous and could cause severe sinus problems due to vast pressure changes.
Your instructor or team leader will always give a brief before the dive and no matter how many times you've heard it you should always listen as every dive site is different and every dive centre may do things differently.
Boat: If you have to travel by boat, check whether it is in good condition or not and never allow people board beyond capacity. Many people in our country ignore this and suffer huge casualties as a result. Check official permit to operate a boat, carriage capacity on the boat, life jackets, river currents and weather conditions favourable for travel. Boats/vehicles with poor safety kits often ferry the passengers at cheap and throwaway prices. If you find that the operator of such boats/vehicles is not following minimum safety standards, complain to the local police or concerned authorities. Make sure all the boats are properly equipped with first aid kits.
In case the boat starts to sink; before leaving boat/ship that is sinking, if you have time, ensure that you are wearing long sleeved clothes and pants. Try your best to get a life jacket if you're not wearing one; staying buoyant is vital and look out for all the possible things that can keep you afloat and help the children accordingly. Be vigilant about rescuers scouting and be alert to attract their attention. If you're with others, set up a round-the-clock rotation for keeping watch for rescue.
Large ships such as cruise liners can take hours or even days to sink and in order to be rescued quickly, it's best to remain with the ship unless the crew has advised otherwise. Always put a life jacket on at the first sign of sinking and try to have a long sleeved top and long pants on to help with warmth.
Designed for hydropower production and recreation, reservoirs offer wonderful opportunities to camp, picnic, boat, fish and hike. It is important to note, however, that there are areas around reservoirs where extra precautions should be taken. Stay out of spillways and water-intake areas. Water sometimes rushes in, making them dangerous places to play. Don’t swim or play near the dam and powerhouse; the area can have strong underwater currents, sudden water discharges, slippery surfaces and submerged hazards. Always obey all warning signs.
They are intended to keep recreationists away from areas where water activity can change suddenly, posing a risk of injury or death. When you’re near a body of water that is part of a hydropower system, it is important to know the signs of an emergency. Warning Signs In case we are near the streams always look out and be cautious to the variation in the flow of the river. Intensified sound of rushing water, increased water speed or depth, unusual amounts of debris in the water, change in water from clear to muddy, unusually cold water temperatures indicates flooding- by cloud burst /rain in the upper catchment areas of the river or due to water being released from the dam site.
Tip: Streams near the dam site have clean rocks and shores with little mud on them as water keeps changing its levels in regular intervals due to the water released by the dam. This is the indication not to venture near the stream
Streams, Rivers or lakes
Majority of drowning among older children occurs in open bodies of water. These happen when an older child overestimates his or her swimming ability or when he or she is swimming in an unsupervised area (over confidence and show off are usually involved).So never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds - make it clear they are off limits and tell them why. Many times children underestimate the depth of water.
Never enter streams without checking warning signage
Crossing a river is not the same as swimming across it. If the depth of the water is above your thighs during a crossing, turn around, then find a better place to cross. Never get fooled thinking that shallow water is less risky than deeper water.
Look for the side of the river closest to you or the area near to the bank. If there are rocks near the banks, they usually form an area of water called an eddy. If you look closely at the water in an eddy, you'll see something very counter-intuitive: the water in them flows slowly upstream. The same thing happens on the inside curve of a river. Again these can be safe havens during a crossing, out of the current.
Look for rocks that are sticking out of the water. If you look closely at the surface of the water, you can see that the water flowing behind exposed rocks is moving more slowly than the water on either side of it. The current here is less powerful and these can be good places to rest during a crossing. If you are in strong currents, increase your safety level by crossing together with one person standing directly behind the other. In this scenario, the upstream person breaks the current, creating slower water behind them, and making it easier for the downstream person to help them remain upright.
River crossings are dangerous so you need to know what to do if your climbing buddy falls into the water. Whenever you try to save someone, make sure you are securely anchored so you are not pulled into the river
Travel story: Experience the Rann Utsav
A festival which redefines Luxury, which fills our hearts with warm colors, unique Art and blissful music. Rann Utsav is a festival celebrated every year during November to February in the Kutch District – Gujarat. It’s a magnificent experience to see the seasonal shimmering salt marshes in the Mighty Thar desert………. As they say “Kutch nahi dekha toh kuch nahi dekha” (if you have not seen Kutch, you have not seen anything) explains the beauty of this place.
How to Get there:
Kutch is 1.5 hours from Bhuj. Bhuj has good connectivity from all the major cities in Gujarat like Ahemdabad, Surat, Rajkot or Baroda.
Means of Transport: 1. Many Buses operate in this route and can be booked online. (I booked it through Patel travels) 2. Car Rentals (Zoom car or similar)
Where to Stay:
There are plenty of Hotel options in Bhuj, who Organize for Day tours to the Rann of Kutch.
I stayed in the Tent city-Rann Utsav in Dhordo village. Amazing Hospitality-Cultural nights organised every night-Vegetarian local food-live music shows-local hand-looms to shop, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. They also offer pick up and drop services to Bhuj.
Ludiya – A Hand-loom village
Ludiya also known as Gandhi nu gam is a handloom village in kutch district, standing still after the 2001 earth quake devastation, the village offers rich culture and amazing hand-looms which are worth a buy. The locals are very welcoming, their colourful mud houses are a visual treat to the tourists.
Kala Dungar/Black hill being is the highest point in Kutch gives an amazing panoramic view of the white desert. The indo-pak border is very near by and no tourists are allowed beyond this point. I’ve experienced one the most beautiful sun sets here
Don’t miss star gazing while you are here!!!