Tuesday, 15 January 2019

My Nepal Trip Part 10: Paragliding In Pokhara

One of the things which I'd never plan to do but which I did in Pokhara was paragliding. I still couldn't believe that I literally ran down a slope and jumped off  the cliff of Sarangkot Hill with a paraglider pilot as I do not normally indulge in adventure activities which is perceived as 'risky'. Anyway, I am back in one piece and would like to blissfully share my paragliding experience here. This is how it all started.

Two members of my group expressed the desire to go for paragliding in Pokhara and being the organiser of this Nepal trip, I was obligated to clear a slot in the itinerary for them. In the process of helping to look out for companies with the best deal for a paragliding session I came across pictures of paragliding participants with that gleeful look hanging in mid air and I suddenly thought it could be real fun up there. I finally found a company that offers the best deal and which is willing to give a further discount of 1000 NPR if I make a booking for 5 pax. At 6000 NPR for a paragliding session with return transportation and go-pro pictures and videos, the deal was too good to resist and I decided to give it a go. I even persuaded 2 others to make it up to 5 pax to enjoy the big discount.

Team 5 Nepal Paragliding which has an office at  Lakeside Rd 6, Pokhara is by far the cheapest company that offers a paragliding session in Pokhara. The  company has 5 pilots (referring to the people trained to maneuver the paraglider parachute)  so the maximum number of participants that can sign up for each session with this company is only 5. The company operates 2 sessions (9.30am and 11.30am) each day and we booked the 11.30am session.

We had to register at the office in Pokhara city before being transported to Sarangkot Hill in a van. During the half hour drive the 5 pilots who were travelling with us introduced themselves and we were told to make our pilot pick. Mine is a burly guy by the name of Baloo. 

A number of people were seen at the launching site and some paragliders from other companies were already flying in the sky. This is my first time getting up close with this sport and I learnt a few things about it which is both educational and enlightening. Paragliders are actually ultra light aircraft with no engines or motors. They are foot-launched, free flying and can be maneuvered by a trained pilot using certain gadgets that are attached to the wing. A paraglider consists of a few essential components namely the wing which is shaped like an arc, lines, risers and carabineers (these look like nylon wires and they are multi-colored)) which are used to control the speed of the paraglider, etc. There is also a harness which is connected to the wing by the lines, risers and carabineers.  The pilot and his pillion are securely strapped onto the harness which have soft seats. I also learned that there is a reserve parachute below the seat just in case an accident happens or a technical problem arises.
I was too busy looking around and didn't have time to feel anxious. Seen in this picture is the hill slope that ends with a sharp cliff. This is the Sarangkot launching point where you will need to run down the slope and off the cliff with the pilot guiding you along.
Before the launch a helmet was put on my head and something quite heavy over my shoulder. This is going to be my seat when we start flying and this will be strapped onto the main harness.
It happened so fast and before I realised it I was already floating in the air. Baloo was holding a Gopro pole which is used for taking snapshots and videos of the entire flight. This guy has closed to 10 years of experience flying the paraglider.
With the world below being fully visible and with the cold winds gushing on the face I now have an inkling on what it's like to soar like an eagle. It was an out of the world experience for me.
Using air currents and shifting their own body weight, paragliders can fly to heights of 23,000 feet.  Baloo asked if I would like to fly high and I said, "Yes". At one point we were the highest among all others. He started whistling a Nepali tune and that feeling of being on top of the world is indescribable.
If you are flying it is important to wear fitting sneakers or shoes as anything can fly off. It is also advisable to wear a jacket as the wind is very cold. By the way whether a paraglider can be launched or not depends on the weather and wind condition.
My paraglider wing with hues of red, blue and yellow is one of the most radiant.
10 minutes into the flight, I started feeling nauseous due to motion sickness. This is a common phenomenon as the paraglider would be making circles in the air and bobbing about causing imbalance in the body system. If I had known I would have popped in a motion sickness pill before the flight.
I asked Baloo to descend as the nausea was quite bad and I felt like throwing out.

The paraglider landing site is on the shore of Phewa Lake.

We finally landed and the lines all came falling over us.
I walked around and soon got over the motion sickness. The whole experience was unforgettable and I am glad I didn't skip this awesome adventure.

Related Posts: Click To View
1. Nagarkot -The Himalayan Views, Sunset And Sunrise
2. Nagarkot - The Village
3  Nagarkot - Staying In Club Himalaya
4. Bhaktapur - The Arrival & Bhaktapur Durbar Square
5. Bhaktapur - Pottery Square & Taumadhi Square
6. Bhaktapur - Walking Back In Time Photo Gallery
7. Road Journey From Bhaktapur/Kathmandu To Pokhara
8. About Pokhara And Where To Stay
.Boating At Phewa Lake, Pokhara
10.Paragliding In Pokhara
11. Pokhara Attractions

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