Sail through the Air like a Bird–Enjoy Paragliding
Since the dawn of civilization, man has aspired to soar like a bird in the vast, azure sky, unfurl his wings and fly off wherever his fancy takes him. This dream became a reality when the aeroplane was invented a few centuries ago. However that was more commercial than adventurous. That is why simpler and less mechanized methods of flying were invented and developed.
Picture yourself standing at a height of 3000 m or more above the ground level and then suddenly taking a plunge into the air with nothing but solid cords to support you? If you have nerves of steel to withstand the leap, then paragliding is just the right sport for you!
Sailing or gliding through air, whatever you call it, has two aspects. One, hang gliding is an air sport which utilizes a sturdy metal (mainly aluminum) contraption fitted with a synthetic sail cloth. This functions as a wing. The rider or pilot is strapped to a harness suspended from the metal structure. Since the device is non-motorised the rider controls it by adjusting his position and body weight in directions opposite to the control frame. For paragliding, a flyer uses a lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft which does not have fixed basic structure. In this case the wing is made of fabric which is actually a combination of interconnected baffled fuel cells. The flyer sits in a harness beneath the wing.
Though hang gliding is a fairly new activity in India, yet like paragliding it has already garnered immense popularity especially among the affluent, urban youth. The mountainous northern state of Himachal Pradesh has emerged as a haven for paragliding and hang gliding enthusiasts.
Nestling at a height of 2400metres above sea level, amidst the Dauladhar range in Kangra district, Bir-Billing is considered to be one of the finest aero sports sites in the world. The place has both launching and landing facilities. The lush green meadows above the villages of Bir and Chaughan, and the sprawling Kangra valley below offer a feast to the tourists – of unlimited natural beauty blended with adventure!
You can also enjoy paragliding at the picturesque Solang Valley in the state. The verdant hill slopes of the valley and the vast open spaces are ideal for adventures in the air. However one must exercise abundant caution while indulging in these activities. Lack of concentration or a slip of the hand might prove fatal, or land you up in a hospital. The ideal season for these events is September to November. This is also the time when tournaments are held for enthusiasts who flock here from across the globe. On an average a 40 min flight would cost around Rs 600 and longer ones between Rs1500-3000 or more.
So, if you are willing, undertake an out-of- the- world experience: feel the wind in your hair, heart thumping, and adrenalin rushing through your veins; become a winged creature for a few moments while drinking in the panoramic beauty that surrounds you.