I was literally dying to do paragliding. After checking off scuba diving, river rafting, parasailing from the ‘things to do before I die’ list, the next one was paragliding. We had missed the Bungee jumping at Rishikesh because of bad weather, so I was quite adamant that I would do paragliding in Gangtok, Sikkim this time. I am scared of water. Very much! It was a miracle that I had agreed to do scuba diving in Andaman. It was simply a euphoric feeling after I did the diving. But paragliding did not invoke second thoughts! I was happy to put it in the list of things to do in Gangtok.
Paragliding in Gangtok
If you are in Gangtok, you must try paragliding here. Sikkim is a wonderful place endowed with all the natural beauty and serenity that we love in the mountains. And if we get to see this beauty of Gangtok from high above in the sky, then there is nothing like it. So we took a car from M. G. Market and went to “Sikkim Paragliding”.
You do not need any experience or training to do paragliding in Gangtok. The operators here offer ‘tandem’ flights which means that a trained instructor is going to fly with you. And if you are thinking about safety, then let me assure you, these are quite safe. Both the flyer and the pilot sit in the harness attached to the paraglider. The pilot took care of the flight while you I simply enjoyed the mesmerizing views below.
It’s only when you are flying above that you realize how incredible the Earth really is – Philippe Perrin
Gangtok offers two types of paragliding flights – Medium fly and High Fly. In Medium Fly, the flight takes place at an altitude of 1300 – 1400 m. You will get a lovely aerial view of the Gangtok town and views of the Himalayan peaks. If the weather remains clear then you might get views of the snowclad peaks as well. The take-off location in Medium fly is Baliman Dara and the flight time is about 5 to 10 minutes. Medium Fly costs INR 2500. The landing takes place at Reshithang Sports Village.
The second type is the High Fly where you fly at an altitude of 2200 m. The take-off point is Bulbuley Dara, further up from Ranka. Here you will get the view of the snow-clad mountains and the Kanchenjunga ranges as well as the Tashi View Point. Also, the view of Gangtok town is always there. The flight time, in this case, is 15 to 20 minutes and it costs INR 5000.
I had done the Medium Fly. Paragliding depends on the weather conditions. The operator at Sikkim Paragliding advised me to take the Medium Fly as there was no strong wind that day which helps in the flight. He told me that we would not be able to fly for 15 minutes at such height, so it is better for me to take the Medium Fly. I have always trusted the people of Northeast India, and so saw no point in not listening to him. So there I was, flying like a bird, shouting and yelling as I looked down to see the beautiful Sikkim below.
Was I afraid before the take-off? I would not say ‘no’. My heart fluttered a bit, but my excitement own over. Even my pilot was surprised at my enthusiasm. It was definitely once in a lifetime experience. And I was happy that I did it in one of my favourite places, Sikkim.
Some tips about Paragliding in Sikkim
- For doing paragliding, you have to be physically fit and weigh between 45 – 90 kg.
- The pilot controls the flight, but you have to take part in take off and landing. So wear trousers and proper shoes.
- Please do listen to whatever your instructor/pilot says.
- The operator makes a video of your flight at a nominal cost. I would recommend you to make a video of this wonderful experience. They take INR 500 for a video of the entire flight.
- There are a number of operators offering paragliding. You can take your choice. We did it from Sikkim Paragliding and I am really satisfied with them.
Have any questions on paragliding? Have any questions on Sikkim. Feel free to ask! We will be happy to answer your queries.
And in the meantime, do have a look at my paragliding video.
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