Paragliding in India
Paragliding in India can be enjoyed at various hill stations dotted across the country. So, if you are making plans to indulge in the exciting and adrenaline-pumping activity of paragliding, all you need to do is to make your bookings for the hill station you have zeroed in and reach there! Most of these places are well-connected by railways or roadways, and hence are easily reachable. Once you reach your destination, explore, relax and prepare yourself to enjoy the thrill of paragliding. However, before indulging in this activity, you should know in detail about it and its various aspects.
During paragliding, you sit in a chair, which is attached by means of strong ropes to a structure made of fabric, known as wing. The wing consists of two layers of synthetic material, either of nylon or polyester, woven around a supporting frame. Due to its aerodynamic structure, the wing stays naturally inflated when it enters the jet stream. Even though, there is no engine in the glider to get it propelled, the wind does enough to keep it off the ground. The glider is launched into the air, either by being pulling or pushing it from high takeoff sites. Once in flight, the paraglider is required to control the velocity and direction by changing the angle between the glider and the ground. This can be done by pulling or pushing certain levers, fixed to the seat.
Paragliding in India is generally conducted from hills as they serve as natural takeoff sites. Hence, a number of places in the two most prominent mountain ranges in the country, the Himalayas and the Western Ghats serve as ideal sites for this adventure sport. Almost every such place has training institutes, where you can learn the sport if you are not experienced in it. As the sport is relatively new in the country, many of the instructors in these institutes are from countries where it is highly popular. They are trained experts and answer all questions and clarify doubts for the first timers, and even the experienced ones.
If you live in the western part of India or travelling there and wish to paraglide, then heading to Kamshet can be a great idea as it is among the most famous paragliding in India destinations. This place lies approximately 102 km from Mumbai and 47 km from Pune. Both these cities can be reached by air, road and rail from anywhere in the country.
Kamshet is located in the Sahyadri Mountains, which are of moderate elevation. To reach the takeoff sites here, you will have to do a bit of hiking. This place has a tropical savannah climate with annual mean temperature of around 30 degree Celsius. The maximum temperature in April, which is the hottest month here, hovers around the higher side of 30s. In January, Kamshet experiences its coldest days, with the minimum temperature around 10 degree Celsius. Know more about Paragliding in Kamshet near Pune.
Solang, Himachal Pradesh: It is a great place to enjoy paragliding in India as it too is located in the mountains. Set in a scenic valley, located at about 8400 feet above sea level, it provides amazing views of lush forests and snow-covered mountains. Flying from here will give you a chance to see the picturesque Kullu Valley below.
Bir and Billing, Himachal Pradesh: Bir is situated about 7800 feet above sea level and is a launching spot for this activity. Billing is located at an altitude of approximately 5003 feet and is the place where participants land. Both thermal and soaring flying can be enjoyed at this place. Know more about Bir Billing Paragliding.
Bedni Bugyal, Uttarakhand: This breathtaking meadow lies at an approximate altitude of 11000 feet. Since there are no trees here, the risk of getting tangled in them is nil.
Kunjapuri, Uttarakhand: Kunjapuri is approximately 31 km from Rishikesh. It is quite a popular spot among paragliders, as from here, you can behold panoramic views of thickly-forested Shivalik Hills.
Weather is the biggest factor that governs paragliding in India or anywhere else in the world. Generally, winds up to 20 km/h are considered ideal for this adventure sport. Another important thing to consider for this activity is the direction of the wind. From the start till the completion, you will need to align your glider with the direction of the wind to get the desired lift/descend and velocity. Also, remember to take the altitude of the takeoff spots into account.
If you are a beginner, then you should find a place with low hills and lot of open areas like in Kamshet. Experienced ones can choose for places like Solang or Kunjapuri, because of their high elevation and relatively more rugged terrain.