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 paragliding has seen a tremendous increase in popularity and in the last few years, paragliding places in India have mushroomed all over. From the mountains in the Himalayas, to paragliding over the Rajasthan desert, and from the hills of Karnataka to the coastal regions and hill stations of Maharashtra, there are plenty of great paragliding places in India for you to kit up and fly like a bird.
What exactly is paragliding?
When you go paragliding, the pilot/flier takes off from the ground in a lightweight, free-flying glider aircraft that is lifted by the wind. The glider has a harness beneath it, and the pilot is safely strapped in, with the controls in hand. The pilot does a short running start and then is lifted off the ground, and can gain altitude by using air currrents. If you want to fly solo, you’ll need to be certified, but if you’re looking for a joyride, you can go tandem paragliding.
What is tandem paragliding?
For an unlicensed, inexperienced adventurer, tandem paragliding is a fun ride with no responsibility. The glider has two harnesses beneath, and you’ll be seated in the one in front. A certified instructor is strapped in behind, and will take you up and control the glider. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Paragliding in India: Paragliding in the Himalayas
The Himalayas are rife with ideal paragliding places, thanks to the high hills and mountains, and the long valleys that direct the winds upwards. The best and most popular paragliding place in India is Bir Billing in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Bir Billing has an altitude of 2600m and is surrounded by beautiful tea gardens.
Find paragliding trips in Bir Billing.
Solang Valley and Marhi are two of the other most prominent spots for paragliding in Manali. Here you can do tandem paragliding, expedition paragliding and trans-Himalayan paragliding flights. Paragliding is available throughout the year except during the monsoon.
Find paragliding trips in Solang.
Another great place is Nainital as paragliders take off from 2000 meters 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.
Paragliding can also be done in Bedni Bugyal, one of the prettiest alpine meadows in Uttarakhand. This take-off spot offers you spectacular views of the Himalayan mountain ranges and meadows around, which makes it a dream destination for high flyers.
Paragliding in India: Paragliding in Maharashtra
Paragliding 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 and lakes, and the railway tracks running across. You’ll also get a bird’s eye view of the Western Ghats, which is quite a sight just after the monsoon when it’s lush green.
Find paragliding trips in Maharashtra.
Other places for paragliding, India
Kerala, or God’s own country as it is better known, is legendary for its natural beauty. Criss-crossed with sparkling 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 paragliding. The paragliding Grand Prix is held here during September and it brings together paragliders from across the world.
Nandi Hills, 65 kms is outside Bangalore is the perfect terrain for paragliding. These hills attract a lot of adventure enthusiasts from the Silicon Valley, especially those interested in light aviation.