PARAGLIDING – AN EXPERIENCE


By: Anubhav Mishra (LTEN)

We all have atleast once in our life wished to abandon our daily chores, and immerse ourselves in abundant natural beauty, bereft of all worldly noises and disturbances. And atleast once, we all have certainly nurtured a secret desire to fly like birds. But how many such moments do we actually get to live amidst our busy lives?

I did get to experience one such  moment during paragliding at Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand. Our trip to this place had been awesome till the day we had planned to do paragliding on a bright Sunday morning. Then it became super awesome!

We had opted for the least duration of the flight(because of monetary considerations). Standing atop a hill, I witnessed all my friends taking off to their flights with me being the last one to risk my life on a big piece of cloth.

The launch site
The launch site

After a minute’s brief up on how I was supposed to take care of making the essential run before the take off as my guide was shorter in height, I started ruing the fact that I had not left a ‘I love you Mom and Dad’ note behind at the hotel! But then it happened! I made the run and with all the adroitness of my expert glider, I was up! Flying!

The initial feeling is difficult to put to words! It was a blend of slight nervousness and sheer awe. I was airborne gliding at about 1800m above sea level looking down the beautiful Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal lakes. The only sound intermittently pinching me back to reality was that of the wind fighting off to show its might against my parachute.

I’m up there, somewhere
I’m up there, somewhere

We had opted for 3-5 minutes flight. But (for reasons I am yet to ascertain) my guide had other plans for me. We kept ascending for good 7-8 minutes! With every passing minute the  mountains of the Kumaon range kept getting smaller. In about 10 minutes I was the highest amongst all the others paragliding in the area!

The serenity and the calmness high up at that altitude made the breath taking sight seem even more awesome. Isolated settlements perched over every mountain top make you realise that our urban lives have made us habituated to an intrinsic chaos everywhere. I spotted a big settlement at a distance, perhaps Nainital, which is 40km from Naukuchiatal.

para3

After about 15 minutes as we started descending, it was time for a not-so-gentle farewell from the skies. My guide had to suddenly fight off very strong winds and our parachute took a violent 720 deg spin. In about 5 more minutes we were almost about to land and I spotted my friends waiting down at the landing spot. Since an intrinsic happy ending is a stuff made only for Bollywood movies, my flying stint ended with a crash landing!

My crash landing
My crash landing

Though my guide was welcomed with a flurry of questions from my friends on how much I had bribed him  to turn our flight from a 3 minute one to a 15 minute one, I had only him to thank  for this surreal experience! The moments spent up there will always be etched in my memory and the sight of the Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal lakes from about 1500m above sea level has forever been painted on the canvas of my heart!

Details:-

Place:- Naukuchiatal

Service Provider:- High Sky Adventures

Rate:- Rs.1500 for 3-5mins flight

Experience:- Awesome!