“I believe I can fly”, this is how it feels when you are literally high. For adventure freaks paragliding is yet another fascinating sport. Flying is thrilling, it feels as if we have wings like a bird and are soaring in the sky. Well, adventure is just another part of me. It’s the adrenaline rush that attracts me towards adventure.
Any adventure sport is not without a slight possibility of risk. I think its the risk that seduces some. The idea of trying paragliding came when I actually saw some gliders flying in Manali. I inquired about various places which provide coaching and certification for Paragliding.
I came across the following paragliding schools in India.
Templepilots is a certified, registered and operating school no.9 with APPI International located at Talegown, Pune. It is run by Avi and Anita a paragliding couple (Anita was one of the first students of Avi). They have a really dynamic team and they usually operate in small groups so that they can give individual attention. I did my first two courses (P1 & P2) from Templepilots. For people who are looking for homely environment I would suggest this place. Only disadvantage is their location is far from the flying site. (PS: They are shifting to Pavana lake soon). If you plan to do a course here please contact Shriya: (+91-9970053359) or Email Templepilots!. Do tell them you have been referred by me, so that I get some free flying hours. Muchas gracias.
Fly Nirvana is located in Kamshet, Pune. As per the reviews I got from ex-students its one of the best places to have fun and learn the art of flying. Pros: They really have a nice location to stay and a beautiful place to fly. It is a bit expensive as compared to the other places but if you don’t mind spending extra bucks for more fun its a good place to go. Also this school is quite popular among foreigners.
Indus paragliding is yet another paragliding school near the Mumbai-Pune Highway. I have seen these guys training as we shared the same flying site. The training is quite similar but I would prefer to go with the Templepilots (or) Fly Nirvana in terms of infrastructure, coaching and student-teacher ratio. Well the paragliding schools usually work on the basis of recommendations. I usually don’t see more reviews as compared to others.
Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Water Sports is a government institute which provides courses for paragliding located at Pahalgam, J&K. The cost of doing a course here is 4000 Rs which is 1/4th of the cost you spend at other places. I couldn’t get direct reviews from students as it is located really far which is a major drawback. The travel cost will make it to the same category. It is the right place for people high up in the northern parts of India.
Things to note before registering for a course:
- It is a costly sport (around 12,000 to 16,000 INR per 3-4 days course).
- If you are scared of heights try tandem and get the feel of flying.
- There are three course P1 (Basic course), P2 (Intermediate course) and Certification (Pilot license).
- P1 is relatively easy and will help you make the decision whether you have the feel for flying or not.
- Yes, accidents do happen usually during takeoff and landing. They vary between minor injuries to loss of death. I survived an accident with minor bruises which took a month to heal. Usually its the pilots mistake but sometimes weather also plays its part. It is a risky sport but with the right attitude the risk can be reduced.
- Whichever school you choose you will prefer to continue with them.
- Go for it if you want to experience being high.
After the end of the course I am definitely Paraddicted. I was to get my certification last year but since I got injured during my P2 course I had to leave back to home. Its my fear of heights & climatic condition that caused the accident. I was lucky enough to just be saved with minor injuries. Unfortunately I couldn’t get time to get back to Pune to finish my course. I am looking forward to get my license soon.
For pictures: Course 1