STRING A BOW AND SHOOT
Visit Anantara Resort at Jabal Akhdar and take part in archery as a hobby. This 60 minute recreational activity is truly destressing.
When I was asked to pick my activities at Anantara, I was thrilled to find that apart from the conventional touristy things, there were some recreational activities that were a little offbeat. Like archery! Though Robin Hood was as far as my knowledge got with the sport, there was something distinctly charming about archers. One of the oldest arts, archery has evolved with the evolution of the humankind itself and even though archers don’t really go into the war field anymore, it still holds a commendable place even at the Olympics.
Confident that I’d take some impressive shots, little did I know archery would teach me more than just the game. There come those points in life, when you realise how delusional your thoughts about the own self are and I had my virtual-world-meets-worldly-reality moment right there. The majestic archer who had taken the most distant of shots with such ease, grace and poise on the Playstation was now struggling to hold the bow straight. I was so glad my virtual disciples weren’t there to see this and instantly made a mental note to never begin another sport with that all-knowing nod (In my defence, the virtual games were pretty life-like). Bidding my self-proclaimed toxophilite stature a humble goodbye, I decided to get my hands on (not the controllers) and learn this noble sport that I had been quite keen on trying. On a side note, I also understood why the aged relatives would snort at the thought of playing football on a screen as opposed to meadows under the sun.
The archery range at Anantara is spread over a wellspaced area that apart from giving us ample place to make mistakes, gave the distinct sense of actually being in the right atmosphere for this sport – out in the open. The view of the not-so-distant rocky mountains that met a horizon of clear blue sky formed the perfect backdrop. Our instructor, a jovial young man, who took great enthusiasm in the sport and teaching amateurs like us, went from the basics of maintaining the right body posture to even the working of the bow and arrow. After slipping on an arm guard, which we were told was worn to protect the archer from bow snaps, we were briefed on how to place the arrow. I learned that the coloured feathers had a meaning — of the three feathers, the one coloured different (cock feather) faces the archer, while the others face away. Placing the ‘nock’ of the arrow (a groove at the rear of the arrow) to the ‘nocking point’ on the bowstring, my opponent and I took aim. ‘Stand, Hold and Aim’ — that was the course to follow; and we followed; however, with a result significantly less satisfactory than what our instructor had demonstrated earlier. A more careful attention to the rule of three while aiming however yielded remarkable results. The three primary points to look though were the ‘nocking point’, the ‘point of arrow’ and the ‘centre of target’.
Standing at a 90-degree angle to the target, I lifted the bow, pulled back the string until my index finger reached my chin, the string almost touching my nose, closed one eye to align my three points and without waiting until I start quivering like jelly, I drew a shot. To my own amaze, I managed a bull’s eye! To this day, I maintain my humility and say it was a bit of luck. Now fairly comfortable with keeping my arms straight while shooting, establishing the right amount of pull on the bowstring and shooting relatively closer to the targets, we got ready for a competition. Our proud instructor, who was initially quite paranoid of my arrows sailing over the walls, now confidently placed additional arrows on the stand for the consecutive rounds. My opponent had taken on a decent lead, but archery was just too exciting to get enviously competitive. Our deciding shot was a moving target. Although I wouldn’t shoot anything that moved, a non-living object like the bobbing balloon which had now placed itself strategically on the board and seemed to sneer at my capabilities was perfectly acceptable. Sadly, I never really got to burst its smirking face as my opponent got to his balloon first. Not brooding over the loss in the game, the only remorse I felt was that we were done.
Probably the most exciting of the recreation activities at the resort, in my opinion, the 60-minute session had me all charged up like I was ready to take on a battalion with the skill I’d mastered with my new found weapon; though that really wouldn’t have been the wisest of decisions.
More than just refreshing, I realised the sport was strangely quite de-stressing and I was pretty certain all that lifting and aiming had burnt a significant amount of the morning cupcakes calories I had downed. I was told it works to strengthen the back and tone the upper body too, but my thoughts were elsewhere. There I was, standing at Diana Point overlooking the expansive plateaus below, effortlessly flicking a glistening arrow, sending it slicing through the silent mountain air, bull’s eye at my target. Was I just being dreamy, or was it my new found sports addiction!
(60-minute archery sessions are available daily and are limited to six guests per range. The activity is however subject to weather conditions and prior reservations are recommended).