As I look around, I find many other parachutes flying in the sky effortlessly. The hills at a distance appear inviting to meet them. The water in Phewa Lake below complements the green surrounding perfectly. The sound of wind in my ears reminds me of its importance. I see some eagles at a distance wondering what humans are doing in their territory. This is what I exactly felt during my first paragliding experience in Pokhara – “Flying like a bird”.
Pokhara as mentioned in my previous post about Nepal, is an adventure sports hub. Depending on your interest you can choose among plenty of activities and I booked my first paragliding flight with a local agency. They first make you sign a form which states you take full responsibility of your participation in the activity. After signing formalities are done you are taken by minibus to top of hill along with fellow riders. It takes around 30-45 minutes to reach hill-top from Pokhara town.
Once we reached the top, each rider was assigned a pilot who gave us instructions for take off. If you follow the instructions as it is given by pilot, your take off will be very smooth and not at all scary. I was under impression that we have to jump off the edge of the hill which might be scary but as you start running and approach edge of the hills, you are automatically lifted by the wind as parachute at the back take position. It is not at all a scary experience and your flight starts at a pleasant note. The equipment is designed in such a way that you have a seat to sit and your pilot is tied to seat via belts.
During the Flight
Once we were in air we just sailed as my pilot controlled the flight based on wind directions. We moved up and down, went left and right enjoying the scenery around. My pilot showed me eagles flying at a distance and told me eagles are their teacher who help them to understand wind directions. After flying for around 20 minutes we started to descend. My pilot asked me whether I wanted some additional thrill and after getting an affirmation, he twisted the parachute so that we got a couple of quick 360 degree turn around. Some people in the group later told me that they stomach pain after the additional thrill, so you can opt out if you don’t feel like going for it.
Finally we landed at a pre-decided landing spot where I met my fellow riders again smiling at each other. We greeted each other with a hi-five and every one looked happy after finishing their ride successfully. The pilots packed the parachutes, took photos with us and then we were taken back to the agency where we got our photographs and video taken during flight. I waived the group good-bye and was happy to tick mark one more activity from my bucket list.
- There are tons of agencies in Pokhara and everyone offers similar prices. You can talk to 2-3 agencies and can go ahead which you find comfortable. The prices are in range 5500 – 6000 NPR which includes transportation from your hotel to hill-top and return to hotel.
- Some agencies charge higher prices as they have foreign national as pilots but I don’t think that is important. In fact a local person has more knowledge about the place and as all of the pilots are certified and experienced pilots there isn’t any difference.
- Do not eat anything heavy before the flight and if you have any medical condition then tell the agency so that they can decide whether you should go for a ride or not.
- Try to book the morning flight so that if its cancelled for unfavorable conditions, you have a chance to take next flight if weather changes.