Paragliding in India – Passion Airborne

Flying is humanity’s oldest dream & Paragliding is this dream come true for a million & more humans across the globe today. It truly symbolises our deepest urge for freedom & pure joy.

I have been flying Paragliders for over 20 years now and the serene delight of floating thousands of feet over a splendid landscape still inspires wonder & amazement in me.

I can only be immensely thankful for this beautiful gift.

What really is Paragliding ?

Paragliding is the most modern form of sport aviation. A paraglider is a lightweight, foot-launched glider aircraft with a flexible wing. The pilot sits comfortably in a harness suspended below a wing made of nylon polyester fabric. The wing’s shape is maintained by the suspension lines, static pressure inside the cell openings and the aerodynamic forces over its surface.

It’s amazing how you can fit a real aircraft in a backpack, carry it anywhere anyhow on top of a hill, soar for hours together to your hearts content, land next to your car near a cafe, have a nice cooling drink & drive home smiling no end.

Paragliding is both a recreational & competitive adventure sport. There are over a million hobby pilots worldwide enjoying flying in the most exotic of locales on the planet.

A little History – 

1950’s – Paragliders have evolved from parachutes. Improved parachute designs led to cutouts at the rear and sides that enabled it to be towed into the air and steered, leading to Parasailing or Parascending. Parasailing is not Paragliding.

1960’s – This led to the invention of the famous Ram-Air Design with sectioned cells with an open leading edge & a closed training edge.

1970’s – A group of enthusiasts started towing Ram-Air Parachutes & a three French friends started inflating the Ram-Air Parachutes running down a slope & gliding down to the fields below.

1980’s – the equipment then on continued to improve & the number of paragliding pilots & established sites continued to increase. The first officially sanctioned FAI World Paragliding Championship was held in Kössen, Austria, in 1989.

2000’s till Today – Glider design & technology have come a long way and so have the training standards worldwide. There are national & international associations that regulate & promote the sport. Safety standards have gone up substantially & risk reduced to a great degree.

The two basic disciplines of the sport are Cross Country flying where pilots aim to find thermals & cover long distances & Acro Flying where pilots gain maximum altitude to do aerobatic trick with their wings. Most pilots choose one over the other and there are many who choose to enjoy both.

The two basic disciplines of the sport are Cross Country flying where pilots aim to find thermals & cover long distances & Acro Flying where pilots gain maximum altitude to do aerobatic trick with their wings. Most pilots choose one over the other and there are many who choose to enjoy both.

The best way to introduce oneself to this beautiful sport, if one is unsure, is to go on a two-seater tandem joyride with a qualified/licensed professional. The pilot will do all the flying while you sit I the comfort of a first class seat and enjoy the ride of your life with spectacular views while enjoying the thrill of free flight. Try & I promise it will be an experience of a lifetime. Most Tandem pilots carry GoPro’s for you to take selfies in the sky and videos to show off to all your friends on social media.


Europe has seen the greatest growth in paragliding, with France alone currently registering over 40,000 active pilots.

Paragliding in India – 

We don’t really have a culture of adventure sports in India although the scene is fast changing due to the changing lifestyle aspirations of the well informed & well travelled Indian. 

Paragliding first took roots in the hill station town of Manali when the first European paragliding enthusiasts began travelling abroad with their psychedelic coloured wings in the early 90’s. They taught basics to the locals who then started flying Tourists on tandem gliders (two seater wings). The sport didn’t really grow more than just small tandem rides in the Solang Valley & a few local solo pilots.

i started my flying in Manali too. I learnt the basic techniques & backed with my aviation background took to advance flying as a natural progression. I would travel to different valleys, find a launch & soar for hours over the spectacular Himalayan ranges. In a word I was in AWE of this form of flying.

Bir, Billing In Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh

The Bir-Billing area is a popular site for paraglider pilots, both Indians and visitors from all over the world. The open & vast valley to the south of the Dhauladhar Ranges make it an easy & attractive destination for cross country pilots. The flying season is from September to October, with some flying also done in November. The village continues to host periodic international competitions and events.

The paragliding launch site is in the meadow at Billing (14 km north of Bir), at an elevation of 2400 metres, while the landing site and most tourist accommodations are in the Tibetan village on the southern edge of Bir.

Kamshet, Maharashtra 

The Sahyadri mountain ranges offered a much longer flying season from October right up to May. Th flying conditions are both reliable & predictable soon making it a popular training & flying hub in the country. Not only is Kamshet on the world map of Paragliding destinations along with the more famous site of Bir in the Himalayas, some of the top schools & clubs in the country operate from kamshet too due to its long flying season.

There are several flying sites within a radius of 30 kms that are ideal for all levels of flying, training, XC & Acro flying. You will have a choice of both doing a Joyride or Learning to fly in Kamshet. In India, paragliding is most professionally practiced in this region.

India is designed for paragliding. The weather and the landscapes in our country offer a huge variety of flying and a long season to follow it as a hobby. Himalayas in the north, the Deccan plateau, the Eastern & the Western Ghats all have a huge potential for the sport to grow in our country.

With culture of adventure sports slowly picking up, you will see more n more Indian pilots in the Indian skies. The sport is already spreading in the North eastern states as well as in the southern states like Kerala & Tamil Nadu.

Pilots from all over the world look upto the Himalayas in awe and it’s every paragliding pilots dream to one day fly in the Himalayas. The Himalayas have hardly been explored and they are the biggest mountains in the world. 

The future will see a lot of explorations & expeditions in the Himalayas as some of the best pilots test their skills in the Himalayas. Flying in the Himalayas is the the test for the sport to see its evolution & growth.

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