Paragliding: discover the freedom of flying

The city life sure is a busy life. Work pressure, traffic jams, chores at home and hassled running about call for a weekend off from time to time, for there is nothing like fresh air and scenic valley views to cheer the run down spirit. Especially when it comes with a refreshing streak of adventure – energetic trekking and some liberate flying.

Flying, in Bangalore!? Well, not exactly, but Bangaloreans now have a flying club a few hours’ drive away from city limits, near Krishnagiri. Traditionally, India boasted of two flying sites – at Panchgani (near Pune) and Bir (in Himachal Pradesh). For all of us at Bangalore the development of Yelagiri, where the club is located, as a flying site comes as great news.

Welcome to paragliding

What is paragliding?

Imagine standing atop a hill, enjoying the view of the valley and wondering what it would be like to FLY. Well, there is no need to imagine anymore- welcome to paragliding to experience flight in its purest form.

Paragliding is the closest you can get to flying free-spirited. It is a fun, safe, foot-launched flight. It involves laying out a wing, inflating it, running a few steps and before you know it – get out into the sky! Once you are there, controlling the glider, soaring as well as landing is extremely easy and only a matter of some training hours.

Today, this personal fulfilling sport has stirred such passion that it is the most popular way to fly all over the world.

Flying @ Yelagiri

Taking off.. on a tandem flight!

Taking off.. on a tandem flight! (Pic: Poorva Agarwal)

The development of Yelagiri as a paragliding destination is pioneered by Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association. A board under its initiative, Yelagiri Paragliding Club offers valuable services to develop this sport. Besides that, there are few training clubs too. You can visit www.flynandi.com to begin your flying journey.

For frequent fliers and beginners alike, Yelagiri provides an ideal flying atmosphere. The weather is excellent and very supportive of paragliding. The monsoon period is the only time when flying has to come to a halt. There are three flying sites ensuring that flying is possible under all wind directions. In fact, a consultant with the Vellore Tourism Society, Balachandran believes that, “Yelagiri is going to be the best destination to fly in some years.”

Club Pilot, Chetan Ghag says that although he has been to Yelagiri only 4 to 5 times, it has offered wonderful flying conditions. It is also at a convenient distance of 150 kilo metres from Bangalore.

Flying made easier

Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association (YASA) is a society formed by sports-oriented individuals to promote adventure sports like paragliding, mountain cycling, trekking, et cetra in the area. A wing of YASA called Yelagiri Paragliding Club (YPC) is a pioneer in starting paragliding activities in South India. YPC has been instrumental is developing take-off and landing points and also inviting professional trainers. Although they do not undertake training yet, pilots with some knowledge and experience can register with them and fly under professional supervision.

Once you have undertaken basic training, you can join YPC and enjoy their services right from renting equipment to flying assistance. Moreover, you can meet like-minded people and join the world-wide spread family of pilots! Ghag asserts, “The services offered by YPC are commendable. They authorise you to fly and regulate activities. They also provide rescue facilities if needed.”

Website – www.yasa.co.in

Yelagiri Flying Festival

A pilot about to take-off!

A pilot about to take-off! (Pic: Poorva Agarwal)

The activities of the club were inaugurated by hosting the Yelagiri Flying Festival. The international festival organised by YPC saw pilots, students, and media from all over India and even outside India come together to celebrate the unique spirit of flying. The three day festival (5th–7th September 2008) and was a fantastic experience for all who attended it.

About the festival, Nakul Malik, Club Pilot with Temple Pilots says, “The collector and other officials and very enthusiastic locals got together and organised this brilliantly efficient festival which made over 45 paragliding pilots very happy exploring and flying on these sites for the first time…our take-off was 1800ft high; the beauty of Yelagiri breathtaking.”

It was a great initiative on the part of YPC and Bangaloreans should definitely look out for more such events.

All You Need to Know About Yelagiri

How to get there?

By Road – From Bangalore, get on to Hosur Road (NH7) and head towards Krishnagiri. At Krishnagiri, there’s a toll-gate manned by the National Highways Authority. Take the left for Chennai and drive on NH46. Further up you’ll see a sign reading ‘Elagiri’.

The National Highway is excellent and the view outside extremely scenic. It is a pleasant drive and you will make it to Yelagiri in about two hours.

By Rail – Yelagiri Hills is also accessible by train. Many trains stop at Jolarpettai and from there, one could hire a cab to reach Yelagiri. The distance from there to Yelagiri is 21 Km. It is advisable to ask the hotel you are staying in to arrange for a pick-up rather than haggle with the cab drivers.

Where to stay?

The best option for paragliders is Hotel Yatri Nivas. It offers cheap accommodation, good food and also dormitory facilities for those in big groups. Contact Mr. Perumal for bookings – 9441357659.

There are plenty of other accommodations to choose from. Although they cannot realistically call themselves hotels, the services and facilities are not dismal. A few good options to choose from are:

Landmark Hotel, Silent Waters Retreat, Hotel Hills

What else does Yelagiri offer?

1. Punganoor Lake and Park

It is one of the most enjoyable and pleasant places on the hill. The lake is open for boating and offers a serene view and calming experience to those who wish to rejuvenate.

2. Jalagamparai Water Falls

At a trekking distance of 6 kilo metres one can find these waterfalls created by the Attaru river.
The water falls from a height of 15 metres, thus offering a danger free refreshing bath. Besides the pleasure, bathing in these falls is said to cure diseases due to the herbal content in the water.

3. Murugan Temple

Lord Murugan Temple, situated at one of the peaks offers a panoramic view of the entire hill area. The ‘gadothgajan’ statue and few other sculptures are a noted attraction for the tourists. If you are visiting in the month of July, do make sure to be a part of the Adi Festival.

4. Nature Park

A well-laid out park with fountains, gardens, artificial falls, a green house nursery, rock gardens, indoor games and a host of other activities provides for an active as well as delightful time.

5. Trekking

Another favourite activity at Yelagiri is trekking. The various trekking paths are alike in terms of the sights and sounds they have to offer. One can see a variety of birds, plants, small animals, honeycombs. Do remember to obtain permission from the District Forest Officer or Forest Range Officer at Yelagiri before setting out on a satisfying trek.

A few suggested trekking routes are:

  • Mangalam
    to Swamy malai (sunrise point) – 4 km.
  • Information Centre to Koosi Kuttai (sunset point) – 2 km.
  • Nilavoor to Jalagamparai Waterfalls – 6 km.

The not-yet commercialised Yelagiri hills have something to offer everybody- the passionate flier looking out for a place to practise his art, an adventure enthusiast seeking a new sport, a nature lover or somebody simply wishing for a relaxing weekend!

2 Comments

  1. If you want a mix of great heights and open sky try paragliding at panchgani near Ravine Hotel, Flying in the serene skies you are bound to feel like a bird…. 🙂

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