Paragliding in India

Paragliding in India

Experience paragliding in India and flying like a bird acros...  Read more

Experience paragliding in India and flying like a bird across mesmerising terrains of India from forests and lakes to snowy mountains with several paragliding destinations across India

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Paragliding in India overview

Paragliding in India

Paragliding as an adventure sport was introduced in India in 1991-92, when a team of foreign pilots decided to explore flying possibilities in the Kullu Valley. Since then, it has seen a tremendous rise in popularity. In the last few years, numerous places have mushroomed all over India.

From the mountains in the north to soaring over the Rajasthan desert. From the hills of Karnataka to the coastal regions and hill stations of Maharashtra, there are plenty of great places in India for you to kit up and fly like a bird.

What is paragliding?

It is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders, using lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure.

It is the closest you can get to the feeling of flying like a bird. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing comprising a large number of interconnected baffled cells. Once in the air, a pilot is able to maintain and even gain altitude using lifting air currents and thermals. If you’re not trained or licensed, you can still go on tandem flights.

What is tandem paragliding?

For an unlicensed, inexperienced adventurer, a certified instructor will take you up. The paraglider is equipped with two harnesses, so the instructor is strapped in behind, and controls the aircraft. You’ll be seated in front, in your own harness, and have to do nothing except sit back and enjoy the ride.

What is solo paragliding?

If you want, you can even bring your own car via the Mumbai-Pune expressway. And if you're getting your own bike, then take the old Mumbai-Pune highway (NH4) as two wheelers are not allowed on the expressway.

A number of courses are available in the country. For instance, Indus Paragliding offers an elementary pilot course of four days which has you undertake 8-10 solo flights under complete guidance. You learn everything there is to know about taking-off, landing, handling the glider and a number of air and ground techniques.

Courses for paragliding in India might be or might not be licensed. You can check with the tour operators about the same. In any case, all such courses grant you the eventual freedom to fly in the skies like a mighty bird, all on your own, upping the adventure quotient.

Paragliding in India: The Himalayas

The Himalayas are rife with ideal flying places, thanks to the high hills and mountains, and the long valleys that direct the winds upwards. The best and most popular place in India is Bir Billing in Manali, Himachal Pradesh.

Bir Billing has an altitude of 8500 ft and is surrounded by beautiful tea gardens. Solang Valley and Marhi are two of the other most prominent spots in Manali. Here you can do tandem paragliding, expedition paragliding and trans-Himalayan paragliding flights. Flying is possible throughout the year except during the monsoon.

Another great place is Nainital as paragliders take off from 6500 ft up and fly over Nainital’s famous lakes, Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal. You can soak in the crisp mountain air as it gently caresses you, and get views of the spectacular landscape below.

Bedni Bugyal is a Himalayan alpine meadow in Uttarakhand, and is pretty as a postcard. From here, you’ll get breath-taking views of the Himalayan mountain ranges and meadows, which makes it a dream destination for high flyers.

Paragliding in India: Maharashtra

Taking flight over the rolling landscape of Kamshet is an unforgettable experience. The weather and wind conditions here are favourable almost all year round, and there’s plenty to look at below. The green landscape dotted with hills, lakes, and with railway tracks running across. Let the pilot do the work while you enjoy the ride, without a care in the world.

Other places for paragliding in India

Kerala, or God’s own country as it is better known, is legendary for its natural beauty. Criss-crossed with sparking rivulets, the land also features dense forests with high waterfalls and emerald green fields.

At nearly 6,000 ft above sea level lies Vagamon, a hill station that is ideal for paragliders. The paragliding Grand Prix is held here during September and it brings together paragliders from across the world. Nandi Hills, 65 km outside Bangalore is the perfect terrain for flying. These hills attract a lot of adventure enthusiasts from Silicon Valley, especially those interested in light aviation.

Weekend Classic Tandem Flight Lonavala - 1 day

Sketch itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Start point: Rangoli Restaurant, Kamshet
  • End point: Rangoli Restaurant, Kamshet
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Maximum elevation: 2000 feet
  • Flight time: 10 minutes

Detailed itinerary:

You need to reach the start point i.e. Rangoli restaurant sharply at 08:00 hrs. You will be greeted by an operator who will then take you to the launch site.

A quick briefing session will follow after which you will be weighed and prepped to fly. You might have to patiently await your turn depending on the number of fliers for the day but fret not because the wait will be worth it.

You will be on the island by 10:00 hrs. Put on the equipment and dive into the marine world underneath. You can also have a go at fishing if you are so inclined.

When your turn comes around, you will be strapped in and the instructor will guide you along the other necessary steps. Once you are all set and ready to go, you will take to the skies and soar among the clouds in your tandem paragliding session. After an exhilarating flight, you will turn around and land. Once everyone is done, you will be dropped back to the restaurant, bringing the trip to an end.

Inclusions:

The cost covers the tandem flying session. All equipment necessary for the flight: safety harness, glider, helmet and the rest is also included. The expertise and services of the experienced pilots and crew is included in the expenses as well as all taxes are included

Exclusions:

Transportation to and from the starting point i.e Rangoli restaurant is not covered in the expenses. Also, the cost of travel from the restaurant to the launch site is not included in the itinerary. This cost of approximately Rs. 1200 per vehicle will have to be split evenly between the 5-6 travelers and paid directly to the operators.

Another additional but optional expense is of Rs. 500 for the video of your flight. Should you wish to be recorded, you will have to bring along your own micro-SD card for the same. The video will be recorded by the crew, depending on the weather conditions.

Expenses arising out of unexpected circumstances and all personal expenses such as meals, apparel etc. is excluded. The itinerary does not provide adventure or health insurance. Apart from this, anything not mentioned in the inclusions will be additional.

Short tandem paragliding in Bir Billing - 1 day

Sketch itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Start point: Billing
  • End point: Bir
  • Day start time: 05:30 hrs
  • Maximum elevation: 8530 feet
  • Flight time: 15-20 minutes

Detailed itinerary:

The reporting point is the Tibetan Colony in Bir village and the reporting time is sharp at 05.30 in the morning. Do note that this time is subject to seasonal changes and will be conveyed to you by the operator.

Transportation will be arranged for you from Zim Zim restaurant from where you move towards Billing. This is where your tandem paragliding session will truly take off.

You will be on the island by 10:00 hrs. Put on the equipment and dive into the marine world underneath. You can also have a go at fishing if you are so inclined.

A thorough briefing session will be conducted by the instructor to make sure you are ready to fly. You will equip yourself with the flying gear with assistance from the crew and then placed in a harness. An adrenaline-fueled flight will see you soar the skies with the instructor. The landing point is Bir, where the adventure will end.

Inclusions:

The adventure cost includes a 20 minute tandem paragliding session which will commence in Billing and terminate in Bir. The cost also includes all required equipment and safety gear for the flight.

The expertise and services of the instructor who will fly with you is part of the inclusion. The transportation from Bir to Billing as well as all applicable taxes are part of the inclusions.

Exclusions:

Transportation from your hotel to the pick up point and from the drop off point will not be included. Meals and refreshments will be as per the packages selected. Personal expenses on meals, beverages and snacks are not a part of the costs and will be additional. The itinerary does not come with any adventure or health insurance and must be purchased separately, if needed. Lastly, anything that is not mentioned in the inclusions should be considered as an excluded cost that must be met separately.

Elementary Pilot Paragliding Course (EP) - 4 days

Sketch itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Start point: Indus Paragliding
  • End point: Indus Paragliding
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Maximum elevation: 950 feet
  • Flight time: 50 mins

Day 2:

  • Start point: Indus Paragliding
  • End point: Indus Paragliding
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Maximum elevation: 950 feet
  • Flight time: 50 mins

Day 3:

  • Start point: Indus Paragliding
  • End point: Indus Paragliding
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Maximum elevation: 950 feet
  • Flight time: 50 mins

Day 4:

  • Start point: Indus Paragliding
  • End point: Indus Paragliding
  • Day start time: 08:00 hrs
  • Maximum elevation: 950 feet
  • Flight time: 50 mins

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1:

The first day is ground training. The day begins sharp at 08:00 hrs. The morning session will be practical while the evening one will be purely theoretical. A number of topics will be covered in the course of the day.

You start off with familiarising yourself with the canopy and all related equipment. There will be a demo session and practice involving parachute landing fall (PLF). You will be introduced to the forward/alpine launch method and taught ground handling. The final lesson will be on directional control.

Day 2:

The second day deals with flight training. Report at 8 in the morning to be there in time for the session. Like the first day, the morning session begins with a practical session and the day ends with a theory session.

You will kick off the day by learning how to assess sites. This will be followed by first hops i.e. low level flights. You will then learn how to keep course and maintain airspeed. As you gain in confidence, you will learn all about turns and landing procedure. Finally, there will be a session on high altitude flights.

Day 3:

This is theory and examination day. As all days, a practical session at the start of the day will be followed by a theory session in the evening. Many interesting topics will be learnt today.

You begin by understanding the principles of flight. There will then be an introduction to basic meteorology which will move into learning the rules of the air. On day 3, you will watch and learn from various videos and bring the day to an end with an elementary examination.

Day 4:

This is the day you have been waiting for. The fourth and final day is the day of the solo flight. Report to the training site at 08:00 hrs to get ready for solo flying. There will be a practical session to start the morning and evening will have one theory session.

Put all your knowledge and learning of the last three days to good use as you take to the skies; all on your own. Feel the exhilaration and confidence of flying alone in the sky.

Inclusions:

The package includes all instructions and course materials necessary to learn how to fly solo. All the equipment and gear needed for the same will be provided. Meals and refreshments will be served as per the packages selected. Accommodation will be provided in non air conditioned dormitories with bathrooms on a multi-sharing basis. Upon request, availability and additional costs, twin-sharing rooms can be availed. Kindly speak to your operator about the same.

Exclusions:

The course might be extended if there are any delays in the training flights due to unforeseen weather conditions. As such all additional food and stay costs for those days will be additional and communicated to you under such circumstances.

The entire course takes place at the training center and you will have to bear all expenses to reach the place. The course does not cover any travel expenses for the same. Any personal expenses on additional food apart from the one mentioned in the inclusions will have to be borne on an individual basis. Insurance is not included. Anything not mentioned in the inclusions will be additional.

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Best time to go/Weather

Paragliding in India is active throughout the entire year. The only exceptions are the monsoon months and the peak winter months in certain states of the country. At these times, the severe weather conditions make it difficult and dangerous to paraglide.

Getting there

Almost all the flights across the country take place at or near major tourist destinations like Mumbai, Pune, Dharamsala, Bir Billing, Solang etc. These places are well connected to all major Indian cities by airports, railways and roads including state and privately run bus services.

What to wear

For paragliding in India, you do not need to wear any particular clothing. You should, however, cover yourself in warm layers with jackets or thick t-shirts as it can get cold when you fly high. Shoes are mandatory and you could opt for light gloves when flying during winters. Comfortable clothing is a must for any flight. As such, you can choose to wear comfy pants or jeans along with t-shirts for your adventure. A cap is optional.

Keeping in mind that comfortable clothing is preferred, neither sarees nor skirts should be worn for your flights, tandem or solo. Sturdy shoes are the only acceptable footwear as sometimes the landing can be hard on the feet so floaters or slippers are not permitted.

What to carry

All equipment necessary for paragliding in India is provided by the operators. To ensure you are secure, all safety gear is also handed to you for the flight.

You can choose to carry sunglasses with you for the adventure but make sure it has a strap. Sunscreen is advisable for protection against the sun. Bring along your camera should you wish to click some pictures and cement the experience with photos. You can carry some snacks with you as well.

Preparation/Fitness

No expertise or prior skills are required for tandem paragliding in India. For tandem flights, you simply strap yourself in and enjoy as the instructor manages the glider for the entire duration of the flight. Relax and take in the gravity-defying experience while soaking in the gorgeous views of the mountains and valleys.

Do note, however, that a basic level of fitness is necessary to be eligible for the flight. There is a minimum age as well as a weight limitation. Kindly consult with your operator regarding the same before you consider any flights. If you have any prevailing medical issues, it is best to ask your doctor before you decide to soar the skies.

FAQs about paragliding in India

Is paragliding in India dangerous?

All adventure sports carry with them some element of risk. That is what makes it an adventure after all. However, the risks are minimal because the operators choose the highest quality equipment and safety gear.

Plus all pilots are well trained and experienced enough to handle incidents that arise during the flight. Considering this, it is quite a safe adventure sport to partake.

What kind of shoes should I wear?

Shoes serve no purpose while flying but can come in handy during a difficult landing. During such landings, you may end up on an uneven surface or approach the ground too fast which will need you to run before halting. For these instances, strong sturdy shoes that provide ample ankle support are needed.

Can beginners go paragliding in India?

Tandem flights require no experience or knowledge and can be taken by complete beginners. The pilot with you on such flights takes care of everything from take-off to landing and all you need to do is relax and enjoy the experience.

How long does a session last?

The length of a session depends on the operator and the flights that they offer. Flights can range anywhere from 15-20 minutes, which are short tandem flights to cross country ones that last for 90 minutes. Choose what works best for you.

What is the best time for such activities in India?

Paragliding can be done at all times of the year except during the monsoons and peak winter months. During this time, the weather conditions are not suitable to fly safely.

However, at all other times, the conditions are ripe to fly fearlessly in the sky. The winds are smooth and allow the flyer to fly at a high altitude while maintaining a comfortable pace.

Can I fly the paraglider myself?

In order to fly solo you need training or prior experience. You can get these from certified paragliding courses which are available in many parts of the country. Once you have gone through the necessary training, you can take to the skies on your own.

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