The recently concluded two-day Horsley Hills Adventure Festival, which received an overwhelming response from nature lovers and spirited adventure sports enthusiasts from across India, has galvanised the Tourism Department to sustain the efforts and to introduce several vibrant events for the tourists on a permanent basis.
According to the tourism officials, it is for the first time in the history of the 150-year-old hill station to attract over 20,000 participants in just two days (January 18 and 19), as against the regular statistics of just 200-500 tourists during weekends. The dream of turning the Horsley Hills into a hot destination for adventure sports conceived during the 1970s became a reality after 50 years with the success of the festival launched with a budget of 1 crore.
District Tourism Officer (Chittoor) D.V. Chandramouli Reddy told The Hindu that the triathlon event cycling, trekking and running covering a 10 km distance from foothills to hilltop, saw the participation of over 200 youth, besides health fitness freaks even above 40 years. With a nominal fee, a large number of youth joined the rock-climbing event guided by the expert coaches, during the two days. The zip line, tree climbing, zorbing, the elements, bungee trampoline and cycle gyro were some of the events which witnessed overwhelming participation. All these events were put into action for the first time in Horsley Hills for the adventure festival, Mr. Reddy said.
Our publicity efforts were a hit with southern States. Now, our immediate priority is to continue some of the adventure sports activities on a permanent basis. Initially our focus would be on the triathlon of cycling, trekking and running, and rock climbing. For the festival, we had engaged the services of a private agency to guide the participants. Now, we will send proposals to have a permanent camp for these prime sports, the tourism official said.
Hot air balloon ride
In view of the heavy winds atop the hill station, the much-publicised event of hot air balloon ride could not be grounded during the festival. The department has plans to further improvise the action plan for this particular activity. Interestingly, there was good response to the tent accommodation atop the hills for the visitors, which was provided due to shortage of accommodation blocks.