SHOULDERS shouted my instructor. And I found myself airborne in front of the majestic Himalayan ranges at Auli. Harnessed securely to my paraglider, I was soaring like an eagle with the beautiful peaks of Nanda Devi, Haathi Matha (Elephant’s head), Ghori (Mare), etc. staring at me. Even the inquisitive eagle flying next to me looked baffled. My dreams of walking in the air and soaring like a free bird were beginning to be realized.
I was flying on my own. Going with the wind, my paraglider took me to the right, and I maneuvered to the left and then back to the shoulders position. After a few precious seconds, I found the ground closing on to me and I knew it was time to land. I pulled up the brakes on my flying machine to a hundred percent and thanks to the parachute landing fall techniques taught during the training, I did a fairly good landing which earned me applause from my fellow trainees.
It was a great experience flying in front of the snow-capped peaks. It was exhilarating up among the clouds. The lush green valleys at Auli with the endless line up of the snow-capped mountains at the back formed a perfect landscape for a master painter.
Well, MAN… has always dreamt of flying like the birds with complete freedom but the closest he has come is with Paragliding. Man’s oldest dream became a reality.
Imagine … Walking in the beautiful Himalayas,, stopping at a lovely spot, feeling the wind on your face, and layout a light parachute wing taken out of your backpack. You put on your helmet, clip on a light harness, then with a gentle tug, raise your wing into the wind. Moments later you are flying, smoothly circling among the hills with the silence of a soaring bird. No roaring engines. No heavy equipment. No running costs, just the song of the birds and the beauty of the mountains, the eternal dream of free-flying come true.
PARAGLIDING … is the latest aero sport that has taken the world by storm. The sport originated in the 1980s in the French Alps and has grown explosively in the last few years as thousands of people discover the safety, freedom, convenience, and sheer fun of soaring in these simplest flying machines.
PARAGLIDING .. is flying (gliding) with foot/winch launched specially designed rectangular parachutes from a ridge or a mountain/flat land and aided by thermal/ridge lift, continuing to soar.
PARAGLIDING … has drawn from the sports of parachuting, parasailing, and mountaineering to become a form of aviation that will probably produce more pilots in a few years than all the others put together. The sport is fast overtaking Hang Gliding due to its ease of learning, low cost, portability, and safety. Paragliding pilots are traveling all over the world to fly to new and exotic sites with their flying machines in their backpacks.