Be it paragliding or sky diving, these adventure outfits around the country aim to get you hooked
JUMP off a plane in mid-air, walk off a cliff or just float away in an unfettered balloon—the country offers an impressive line up of fixes for the adrenalin junkie. Most of the outfits target youngsters and corporate offices and the activities aim to snap you out of your comfort zone and push you off the ledge — literally — for that extra rush. From Rajasthan to Yelagiri, enjoy the dare-devilry as we bring you a list of the top places that provide different air related activities.
Paragliding Association of India
Started three years ago by a “bunch of paragliding pilots,” the Paragliding Association of India (PAI) has around 400 odd members. The vice president South for PAI, Coimbatore-based Abhinandan Momaya, says,
“Best spots for paragliding in the South are Vagamon and Varkala (Kerala), Yelagiri (Tamil Nadu) and Goa. The association is trying to get permissions from the government for more spots in Tamil Nadu—the Niligiri belt would be ideal.” The next festival organised by the association will take place towards the end of February, in Vagamon, Kerala. There’s also an XC (cross country) event taking place in Maharashtra, open only to paragliding pilots, where they will be pushing their skills to see how long they can glide after take off. A joy ride with a tandem pilot costs between Rs 2,500 -Rs 3,500. Details: paraglidingassociationofindia.org
Hot air tricks
While you are not sky diving or paragliding, try hot air ballooning. The two most popular outfits in the game are Tiger Balloon Safaris (011 32988460) and Sky Waltz (09560397222). While the former conducts these activities in Jaipur, Hampi, Ranathambore and Jodhpur, the latter has Jodhpur as its base, offering an overview of the famed palaces. A single trip costs Rs 7,500.
Based in Kamshet, near Lonavala, Temple Pilots has been conducting paragliding activities for the past 17 years. Avi Malik, an ex-IAF fighter pilot and the owner of this paragliding training school and club, says, “We have found over eight to 10 different flying sites in
this area alone. We also conduct paragliding tours and advance courses in places like Bali (Indonesia), Pokhra (Nepal), Billing (Himachal) and Yelagiri (Tamil Nadu).” Malik tells us that their tandem rides are popular, adding, “Anyone with an urge to fly is welcome.” The tandem two-seater joyrides are Rs 3,000 for eight to 10 minute flights and their three day introductory course costs Rs 9,800. Details: templepilots.com
Participants need to undergo medical check ups before registering and submit their medical certificates on the day of reporting to ensure that they are medically fit for the activity. It is a big plus if the participant’s body mass index is under 28.
Started by Chitra and Abishek Daga in 2009, this Bangalore-based outfit offers parasailing, paragliding, skydiving and microlight flying. The head of their product department, Arun Mahindran, says, “Sky diving requires at least a four-hour training session and is usually organised in Maharashtra.” Their latest addition is micro-light flying in Coorg — a cross between a kite and an aeroplane —this motor-powered flight for two across the hills of Coorg, will cost you `3,000 for about 20 minutes. Details: 09686020000
Jonathan Walter started his company, Flying Fox, in 2007, after a career in the British Army as an adventure training officer with the Gurkhas regment. The company offers adventure sports like sky walk (first commercial outfit to have it), zip line, zip swing, valley crossing and sky bridge. Their maiden zip line tour was at Neemrana Fort Palace (Rajasthan), but now covers Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur), Kikar Lodge (Punjab), Kerwa Lake (Bhopal) and the Ganges (Rishikesh). Another addition is the new snow adventure zone in
Buranskhanda, Mussoorie, which is considered to be India’s highest adventure park at 8,600 feet above sea level. “Our specialty is to hold the activities in a picturesque place over valleys, lakes, forests and battlements. The activities mostly target 18 to 34-year-olds.” Between Rs 1,600 and Rs 2,000 for two hours. Details: flyingfox.asia
Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association
This outfit aims to bring adventure sports to Yelagiri, Chennai and Bangalore. With activities like trekking, biking, rock climbing and paragliding. With District Collector C Rajendran heading the six-year-old outfit, it aims to teach youngsters how to paraglide. A tandem jump costs Rs 3,000 for two hours. Details: 09970053359
Indian Skydiving & Parachute Association
Experts in various aero related sports, Indian Skydiving & Parachute Association (ISPA), a non-profit association for adventure enthusiasts, now focuses only on sky diving. The executive secretary, Ankitaa Singh, says, “ISPA has conducted more than 15 jumps. We conducted a memorial skydiving camp in Mysore in memory of famous skydiver Santosh Nagaraj.” Singh points out that an ear marked drop zone in the country is Dhana, Madhya Pradesh, which is where their first jump was held in 2011. Coming to Vellore, for the first time on January 21, Singh lists the options, “Static line jump, accelerated free fall jump and tandem jump which are all from different heights,” she says, adding, “We chose Vellore simply because it is close to Chennai, Bangalore, Kerala and Hyderabad. The unrestricted airfield is suitable from an operational point of view.” Static line jumping costs Rs 16,000. The first session is from January 21-26 and the second session is from January 28 to February 2. Details: 8447498053
— Mrinalini Sundar with inputs from Ryan Peppin