Sunday, October 26, 2008

Paragliding in Manali

What a fantastic vacation it was. I have always had a knack for adventure sports and Paragliding was loads of fun as well as satisfaction to learn something new. Five of us went together to do a course on Paragliding at Solang close to Manali  Best travel blog for Manali

Continuing the tradition of live blogging in Ladakh, I wrote most of the blog during the vacation itself, and this time it was much easier to type on my iPhone. 

10-10 8:30 PM
Learning from the mistakes of Ladakh Trip, we booked a HPRTC Volvo Coach well in advance. In the bus right now and it looks pretty good. This is the last official bus to manali. However, lots of private deluxe and sleeper buses seem to be available.

11-10 11:30 AM
Reached manali in exactly 15 hours. Gonna be leaving for Solang Valley(thats where the paragliding happens) immediately via a taxi. He has agreed for 400 bucks.

11-10 10:00 PM
Today has been all about resting. While having lunch at our hotel, we spotted some people doing paragliding and clicked photos. 

First View

Had a walk in the evening to the paragliding centre. There is Horse Riding, Zorbing and a ride in an all terrain vehicle. Prices are exorbitant and nothing other than Paragliding seemed interesting. 


12-10 3:00PM
Today is our first day at paragliding. Our instructor is Mr. Anil. The first session was pretty good. Paragliding is best during summers. Heated surface generates thermals needed for high flying. Also the wind needs to be continuously belly up.
The basic concept of paragliding is "take the glider and run". As Rishi Kapoor said in Namastey London - ball phad, aur saand ki tarah bhaag.
Run hard

We couldn't do any paragliding in the afternoon as the tail wind started instead of belly up. Need to start early tomorrow.
We met Mr. Bhagat, who is the organizer here. Very nice guy. He would be giving us lift to Manali. On the way, he showed us this great place for pizza and beer. Its called Himalayan sports club and its open only on Sundays. After a good pizza, we are off to manali. 
With Bhagatji

13-10 8:00PM
A very satisfying day at Paragliding. The trainers today were sikander and dharmender, two young and enthusiast chaps. During the last practice of the day, I was actually able to take off. Shobhit also reached pretty close to taking off. One bad thing that happened was that Shitiz got injured during the start of the day. Though the injury is minor, it prevented him from any practice today. We came back at 4, rested and then left for Vashisht Springs and manali at 6.
10:00 PM
We had a bath in the hot spring of Vashisht Temple. The water was pretty hot. It was just great. Had dinner and came back.

Come on Fight

14-10 4:00 PM - Rest Day.
We decided to take a day off from paragliding as everyone was pretty tired. Shitiz injury is not yet healed. It came out to be a good decision as it started raining around 11AM, which meant we could anyways not paraglide today. We decided to visit Manikaran to visit the gurudwara and the hot water springs there. Manikaran is quite a long drive from solang. The route is solang -> manali -> kullu -> manikaran. Took us 2.5 hrs to reach there. We visited the gurudwara and had langar. Then we saw the hot water springs and the shiva temple of Manikaran. The water was boiling hot. Even the temple surface was pretty hot due to the water.
Hot Springs

We went to Kullu to see the dussehra mela. Kullu Dussehra is famous and is celebrated over 7 days here. Various god statues from nearby villages are brought over to kullu where the kullu god is brought by the king of kullu. We reached just in time to see the procession of the gods.
Kullu Dev

Now we are going to manali to have dinner.

15-10 11:30 PM
Another rest day, a forced one. We started at 10 in the morning in overcast conditions. Barely did 3 flights when it started raining. Kept on raining throughtout the day. We have been playing dumb charades of Hindi songs since yesterday and we continued that. We have pretty much guessed every song of the world :D Sleeping and playing dumb charades has been the order of the day.

16-10 1:00PM
It hasn't stopped raining yet. Shobhit is not too happy. He wants to fly. But it seems like our paragliding dreams are over. It has snowed a lot at Rohtang and the roads are blocked. There is snowfall in Marhi too, which is normally the location for medium flying (i.e. people paraglide from Marhi to Solang). High Flying is from Rohtang to Solang, take around 45 mins. 
We went to Manali in the morning to take Shitiz to a local doctor to fix the bone joint of his knee.
We would be going to Marhi today to enjoy the snow.

Marhi was fantastic. I remember stopping at this place when we went to Ladakh. This time around it was covered with snow. Snowfall was going on when we reached, and we played in the snow for a while. Took some nice photos as well. The weather got cleared by the time we came back which gave us hopes of paragliding for tomorrow.
The Five Samurai

White all around

Marhi Panorama

At 11 in the night, I came out to photograph the snow covered mountains under the moonlight. Whatever photography knowledge I have gained so far got me this photo which I would call my best photo so far. 

Mountain in Moonlight

17-10 7:00PM
Beautiful sunny day. Paragliding at last. Started at 10 today. Shitiz is still not fit and Kirti got unwell due to the snow last night. So its gonna be just me, shobhit and shubra. We had quite a few flights today. Notice that I used the word flights and not trial :-) we learned a lot today and got lifted quite a bit in our flights. We paraglided till around 2 after which the tail wind started.

11:00 PM
We got tickets for Volvo coach back to Delhi for tomorrow at 5:30PM. Tomorrow is going to be our last day here and at Paragliding. We plan to paraglide till around 12PM and also get a tandem flight from medium height if possible. 

18-10 6:00PM
Another very satisfying day at Paragliding. This also concludes a very satisfying paragliding beginner's course. Shobhit and me both got some great flights, and I was able to reach the highest point for a beginner to take off from, in the last flight of the day.

Me Flying

Shobhit Flying

I finished the flight, took off the harness and helmet and went over to Sikander. As soon as he sees me, he says Aap Pitching theek se control nahi kar rahe hai, this is dangerous ... not really realizing that I am done for the season. That has been the story of the two coaches, Sikander and Dharmender, very keen on teaching and very strict. Next time when I come over, I would like to continue the classes and scoldings from them. 

With Dharmender and Sikander

Shubra and Shitiz did tandem flights too.

Shubhra Flying

Shitiz Flying

Now we are in the bus back to Delhi, ending a fantastic week. Next destination for me would be my hometown Jaipur, where I'll stay till Diwali. See ya and have a great Diwali. 


  1. Great post buddy..I also did paragliding a month ago in bangalore.Feeling was amazing.

    Somebody once said, 'Life is a book and those who don't travel read only one page'. When I first read this quote, I didn't feel the depth of it since I was not a traveler then. But now, traveling has become an addiction. I have been a fitness freak for quite some time now. Combining the two passions of my life - fitness and traveling - what clicks is adventure-sports.
    I have been passionate about wildlife ,trekking ,paragliding,climbing and other outdoors.
    I have always liked getting in touch with people who share common interests.I have recently started my blog on adventure sports in india.You can put your views there and also share your experiences and new places with me.


  2. good post and good photographs. also hv included all needed details leaving misc things. realy a readable and useful post. keep it up.

  3. i also going to shimla and manali by march end week. after return certainly my post will be there. wait........

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    Peace, Bliss & Happy landings