I start writing on this, quoting the great Artist Leonardo Da Vinci “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Nothing puts my experience on air better than this. Its joyous, Its serene, its blissful, its probably inexplicable.
Nepal is one of the best places in the world to go for paragliding. It was on our mind ever since we planned our trip to Nepal. 4 (which included me of course) among the 6 of us dared to take the final plunge and fly up above along the Himalayas. We booked our tandem flight through Open Sky Paragliding (one of the reliable group with the best set of pilots to guide you and fly with you). We boarded a Jeep and took ride up the mountain to Sarangkot. This is where we took off from, an amazing spot 2000ft above, overlooking the Pokhara valley, with 3 of the highest mountains in the world – Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manasulu dominating the skyline. After about 5 min, our pilots arrived and 4 of us were assigned one pilot each who will fly with us. We opted for the 30 minutes Tandem Flight.
We were tied up along with our pilots with the necessary equipments and instructed that we have to run down the slope and take the final jump and then automatically our parachute will open up and we shall fly. Well the final jump from a height of 2,000 ft was the toughest job. But the moment you just forget the world and jump leaving everything in your life behind, you know you have learnt one of the best lessons in life “to let go”. Yes after minutes of apprehensions I finally took “The Leap of Faith”.
I WAS FLYING!! WoooooHOOOOOO!! That was a moment I can never explain in words. My pilot was a gem of person with over 25 years of flying experience, he just whispered on my ears: “You got it, now sit back, breathe and relax.”
In the exhilaration of flying I realized that I was not breathing. I slowly began to relax and then it hit me: I am actually flying with nothing but the wind and a few birds around me along the majestic snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. I felt weightless as I flew in the air, the cold air caressing my arms. Whatever anxiety and nervousness I had, immediately disappeared as a feeling of calmness and tranquility took over me. I fell in love with my life again, realized nothing would hold me back from that moment on to take risks, I have finally learnt the beauty of letting go… wrong things, wrong people and all that burdened me time and again. Life is indeed Beautiful and too short to live with Regrets!!
The beautiful Fewa Lake was beneath us and the Himalayas along us.. probably the few pictures we managed to click mid air will tell 0.1% of what we experienced.
After half an hour of the best journey of my life, it was time to land. While landing all you have to do is keep your feet stretched and stand, the rest will be handled by the pilot. We landed safely and all I did after landing was hug my Pilot tight. The man who taught me to fly, the man who took all my fears and convinced me I can fly if only I believed in myself. Thank you Mr Pilot (I regret a lot of not having kept his contact details) for helping me learn few of the best lessons of my life.
Cost of Tandem Flights: INR 8500 including photographs.
Other Flight Option Available are:
Cross Country Tandem Flight. (Cost around INR 12,000)
Acrobatic Tandem Flight. (Cost around INR 9,000)
How to Book:
Plan a trip to Nepal and keep 2 days for Pokhara. We did our Booking through Open Sky Paragliding, Pokhara. I personally recommend them for my experience though there are many others as well. All the offices are along the Pokhara Lake. Prior booking is not manadatory, since the flight depends of weather conditions.