Favorite Trips

Parasailing

  

Parasailing as a sport has been around for over two decade now, thanks in large part to  efforts of Himachal Tourism, which has promoted it through annual competitions at Billing, in the Kangra valley.

 

Billing (2290 m) is the take-off site and Bir (1400 m) is the village at the landing site.The road distance between the two is 14 km. Bir is sheltered by the Dhauladhar mountains which rise to 5000 mtrs. So pilots can fly at 4000 mtrs and still watch the mountains tower above.

 

Billing offers unique opportunities for high altitude and cross country flying and flights of 180 kms have been achieved from here.

 

The ridges run parallel to the Mandi to Dharamshala road which allows for easy recovery for pilots after landing. On bad weather days one can still fly 20-30 kms and on good days 100 kms is not difficult. October & November are the ideal months for flying in autumn and March to May i.e spring is flyable but conditions are very strong in spring with thermals of 6-12 mtrs/sec and cloudbase of 4000 to 6000 mtrs.

 

For first timers several outfits offer one-week paragliding courses for beginnerrs in the Billing area. Typical fee for the course are Rs 10,000.

 

Though Billing is the best-known location for the sport and has the best air conditions, its location, at the upper end of Kangra valley, has been a bit of a damper. 

 

Ironically, Billing's locational disadvantage has helped Solang Nallah, teeming with tourists from nearby Manali, to showcase the sport and cement its position as a parasailing location for beginners.

 

Here the average traveler can make an assisted jump with a trainer for between Rs 500-2500 depending on time of year and category of ride.

 

The most basic ride takes off from an approximate height of 300 mtrs above ground level and lasts for duration of approximately 3 minutes.

 

The high ride takes off from the mid slopes of Solang from a heigh of around 800mtrs above ground. The ride, which provides spectacular view of the pine filled slopes, lasts anywhere between 8 mins to 15 mins depending on wind conditions.

 

Cross Country rides can also be done from Gulaba or even Rothang.

 

Several outfits at Solang also offer beginner courses.

 

Another popular location for parasailing, though nowhere near as organised, is the Bhimtal- Naukachiatal belt just below Nainital. For this ride the takeoff point is the mountain above Bhimtal while the landing point lies above Naukachiatal. 

 

Top of the Pops