believe I can flyyyy….ouh! I believe I can touch the sky… My dream…is to fly…over the rainbow!
So high! I’m like a biiiird I wanna fly away…
Do these lines ring the bell? We all know these songs, lyrics, poems and dreams. People have a thing for flying. We love to be in the space that is not exactly our space. Under water, under ground, up in the air. High up in the sky feeling free and and so so different. Humans find their ways to make their dreams come true. Paragliding is one of them.
What is paragliding you may ask? It’s an adventure sport – a lightweight, free-flying (no engine!), foot- launched (yes you kind of have to jump off the cliff…) glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot seats in a harness suspended below a fabric massive wing comprising of large number of interconnected baffled cells. The pilot controls the flights with the suspension lines using the air pressure that occurs while the air enters vents in front of the wing. It’s a sport with skills and certifications required if you want to control the wing. But for all of us who have no clue how to do that there is a perfect solution! Go in tandem! That is when the second flying person is attached to the pilot below his knees. You – the second person have to just sit, follow his instructions and feel awesome.
In India paragliding becomes more and more popular. There is a Paragliding Association of India registered on 26 May 2010 in Goa. They provide a national platform for the paragliding community in India, promoting the sport and keeping its highest standards. There are more and more places in India where paragliding becomes one of the attractions. Around Manali in foothills of Himalayas, in Rishikesh, Naukuchiattal, around Maharastra (Panchgani), Kerala and Goa. The common feature in all of them is of course natural conditions allowing the wing to “catch” the air. In Goa it is on the cliffs of Northern beaches with stunning views of Arabian Sea. Doesn’t it sound tempting and just divine? Goa generally has this special hippie freedom vibe. People go there to unwind, let the steam off and be 100% on holidays. Multinational groups of travelers chill on the beach, in the water, in bars and cafes and explore the area with peaceful and cheerful attitude. We do recommend exploring from the air.
How does it work?
Go to Arambol, the famous chilled beach in the North of Goa. Over there you will find many reggae and chill out places lined along the beach. Take a walk along the coastline towards north that leads to the smaller Sweet Lake Beach. You will have to go through a path filled with shops selling all those typical Goan favorite stuff (hippie style clothes, yoga books, jewelry, incense sticks, Nepalese bowls etc.) and at the end of it go through the dark brown rocks to find yourself on the secluded beach. Sweet Lake beach is in a small bay surrounded by bushy hills. This is where you will climb. The paragliding instructors are most of the time hanging out here waiting for perfect wind. Usually the best time to fly is after 1-2 pm until late afternoon (imagine the sunset!). They are local instructors with certifications gained in Indian paragliding schools usually in the North in Manali. That means they spend majority of the year in the air – winter in Himalayas and summer on Goa. What a life! So you don’t need to worry about safety. They know what they are doing and will take care of you.
Take a bottle of water, comfortable shoes (flip flops won’t do…) and light clothes that won’t create problems while flying (for example a sari 😉 ). Don’t carry to much stuff – just the camera and water. Choose the cliff – one is a bit higher than the other so the flights are a bit more expensive from there. We checked out both and both are super fun. Your pilot will carry the whole gear on his back and will lead you through twisted jungle path to the top. It can be around 25 min trek in full sun so have your UV cream on. As the altitude raises so does your excitement! Once on the top with spectacular view of Goan coastline your pilot will tell you exactly how to get into the harness, put the helmet on your head and tell you what’s going to happen. Basically by the time you realize what’s happening you will be already swinging below him high above the ground feeling euphoric. The flight is around 20 best minutes of your life. You can admire the views, think of how lucky you are, wonder about sense of life, take videos and selfies or listen to the instructor singing Hindi songs… Joyful time guaranteed! Probably you won’t be willing to finish the flying but landing in this area is also quite cool. You land right on the beach among all the sun tanning lovers. And that’s definitely making you look awesome 😀 ! Shake hands with the pilot who will seem to you like a sky God from now and head to the beach bar for cold beer. The whole thing will cost you around 1500 INR ( 20 Euros)
Goa is still number one place to try paragliding. It’s the ambiance, the sea, blue sky, the sand… For all those who want to do a bit more than sun tanning and create memories lasting for years.
TRIPS IN INDIA where you can do paragliding: