Panchgani Paragliding Tour 2016

Side View_Panchagani_Paragliding_Tour_2016_TemplePilots

We had been pretty excited to start the New Year with a Flying Trip to Panchgani. We checked into two places, Anita n me along with a few more Club pilots were in Mount View and the rest, along with the team were in close by Eco Camp, our regular pilot haunt run by dear friend n frenchman Andre. Mount View is an old, English style bungalow run by a Parsi family. the location is idyllic, surrounded by a forest and overlooking the green n gorgeous Krishna Valley.

Hilly mornings have a fresh n fascinating flavour of their own. Anita n me could steal a romantic walk on a beautiful trail that would take us trough the forest. I feel most at home when embraced by the presence of trees and to walk with a loved one, hand in hand, is to experience a togetherness & completeness that is a gift of grace.
Our days would then start with a yummy Parsi breakfast and briefings for the day. We would meet, Instructor team and the club pilots, with a joy and anticipation to explore what the day had in store for us. We would study the conditions, decide on a launch site accordingly, be as best prepared as we could be with our plans and then be open and flexible to make the most of what the conditions had to offer. Driving to the site on dusty country hill roads and sometimes through beautiful smooth roads through forest lands was a delight in itself. We would sing and we would laugh like school children on a picnic but this time we had wings, our own wings at the back of our cars, to fly and to touch the clouds.

Some were tasting their first thermals and discovering what it is to find these invisible forces of nature, ride on them with their wings and climb higher in the sky. I would guide them initially and soon they would get a hang of them and develop their own instincts. They would love swooping through the thermals in climbing turns and relish the changing views of the stunning landscape below them. The Sahyadri terrain looks like an artists work from up above, shaped n coloured by the magnanimous forces of time and nature. These breathtaking views are a privelge that paragliding pilots share only with the birds.

The evenings would be full of flying banter and loads of laughter. we would experiment with new places to eat and continue our quest to find the best ‘ Strawberries in cream ‘ in town. Our quest ended at ‘ Kingsberry ‘ who also make some of the best strawberry wine. Not many of us our into wines but were happy to sip slowly while we sat in the evenings celebrating each day with top stories, pics, selfies and videos. Late evenings would take us into all sorts of challenging & innovative group games and deep & light conversations.

The trip was made more exciting by the intervention of police. We met all the senior officials we could who were pretty impressed with our credentials but needed more information and time to deal with the permissions process. This sent us on a new drive to discover some really wonderful flying sites where we enjoyed being and flying for the next few days. Life works in such mysterious ways and all one needs is to trust that all, obvious or not, is truly for our own good. Each of our lives are tailor-made for own evolution, expansion and awakening.

The last day we went visiting some ancient temples in Mahabaleshwar. It fascinates me to no end the richness and the depth of the culture of our land. Over thousand years old Shivalinga that legend has it that it emerged from the ground in the shape of a Rudraksh. It was astonishing to see such a huge Rudraksha in black stone at the centre of the Shivalinga. The temple itself is about 600 yrs old built by Shivaji Maharaja. The legend of Mahabal, the Asura is rather interesting as well as we read it on the inscriptions on the temple wall.

We also had the good fortune of visiting an old friend Rudransh, who is helping his parents run their art village called ‘Devrai’. They have patented artworks with rock and copper and employ tribal villagers to express their creative vision. It was awesome, the place and its peaceful and creative energy, the very unique artworks that were truly out of the world and we couldn’t help buying a few. i bought an artefact aptly named ‘ Nature Goddess’ and you can see this once you visit Lake Paradise next. We listened to some great music as Rudransh treated us to his homemade wine.

My heartiest thanks to all who made this trip such a memorable one, thanks for sharing your being with such trust and generosity. You are very special Akash, Jitu, Sachin, Kanan, Jaydev, Omkar, Shrikant Sharma, Srikanth Ram and Anuj.

at the Krishna Devi Temple

at the Beginning of the Krishna River

Mt.View Hotel, Panchgani

At Devrai with Rudransh Mathur

through fields of gold…walking to take off

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