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Para Gliding

Paragliding is an adventure sport that has been around for over 50 years. People take to this activity because of the liberty and tranquillity that one can feel while engaging in this activity. Paragliding involves gliding through the air or free flying with the help of a parachute. The parachute, a wing made of fabric takes shape with the help of suspenders that are fastened behind the flier. The flier is attached to the parachute with the help of a harness. This popular sport has been introduced widely in many places in India. The idea location preferable has undulating terrain which will allow the flier to navigate without any obstacles. In the presence of obstacles, the flier is in danger of getting stuck in trees, or against buildings.

The most popular paragliding locations in India are- Uttarachal, Himachal Pradesh, North-East states, Goa, etc. The terrain in these states is suitable for safe paragliding. An international paragliding event has been hosted in Himachal Pradesh since 2002. Himachal Pradesh is a centre of many adventure sports like paragliding. The most popular destinations in Himachal Pradesh are Manali, Kangra, Bir- billing. Bir-Billing is considered one of the best locations in the world for paragliding. The spectacular view of the Dhauladhar Himalayan ranges in the background and the ridges below will make the experience a memorable one. Paragliding in Bir-Billing makes it possible for one to immerse him or herself in the natural bounty that one has to relegate to imaginations for personal goals.

Billing is the site from where the paragliding journey begins. Set at a high altitude, it offers a scenic and perfect opportunity for fliers to fly cross-country. On a day when the weather is suitable for paragliding, one can easily fly for 100-200 km. On a bad weather day, one can fly for up to 20 km.

The Solang Valley and Manali are also very popular for paragliding.

The charges for paragliding vary according to the season and the time period of flying. Short paragliding costs as much as Rs. 550 per person while long flying can cost Rs. 2000. Short paragliding lasts for 2 to 3 minutes while long paragliding lasts for 20 minutes.

Best Time for Paragliding

The best time for paragliding in Bir-Billing is October and November in autumn and March, April and May in spring/ summer. Paragliding in spring/summer will give fliers a greater adrenaline rush because of stronger thermals and cloud base.

Manali has a year round paragliding season though. People flock to Manali as summer havens or for the snowfall during winter. During both seasons, paragliding is taken up by many tourists.

Precaution During Paragliding

Paragliding locations must be approved by the government before it can be open to visitors. Thus, make sure that you find details about your paragliding instructors and the location on some handbook. Recently, a paragliding location that was illegal was curtailed in Manali.

Going to a recognised paragliding location assures the flier’s safety as rules and regulations are adhered to. There is a lot of potential for accidents and fatal mishaps while paragliding. Make sure that you are trained by an expert or a professional.

Equipment for paragliding includes helmet, suit, boots, gloves, glasses and harness. It is important for all the equipment to be of superior quality. Any compromise in the quality of equipment can result in injury during the flight.

The landing site must clearly visible to the flier from the site of flight. The landing site must also be easily accessible without any obstacles in between. Always carry a knife with yourself so that there is a way to release yourself from the harness and the parachute if you get stuck somewhere and are unable to safely undo it all.

Do not try to show off your navigation skills, especially if you are a beginner. Take advice from an expert who is on site about launching, landing and navigation. You can avoid spraining your limbs or any fracture because of faulty manoeuvres.

Be very cautious while flying. Most accidents in paragliding happen due to the flier himself. If the experts insist that the weather is unsuitable for paragliding or that you are not allowed to go paragliding, listen to instructor instead of being a maverick and endangering yourself.

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