The details of the Paragliding are as follows:
Cost of Paragliding - ₹2500 +₹500 (to hire a cam)
Institute – Billing adventures - http://www.billingvalley.com/
Food – There are great food stalls nearby. ₹150-₹200 for a meal
So, we reached Bir and after completing the formalities of checking in and signing a waiver, we were ready the experience. As they were taking us to Billing, I can feel my heartbeat going higher. It was even exhilarating for my friend as he has Acrophobia. I could only be amused. We reached the peak and got our gear on. We waited for the winds to pick up. During this period, my instructor kept emphasising on the fact that once we are ready, all I had to do was run and not stop for anything, even for the wind resistance that comes into picture when we take off from the edge of the cliff. Note: Please keep running, without stopping because if you do, then you or the pilot is not in control and the wind takes over the shoot which can prove to be fatal.
We were both saddled up and when the wind was right, I was off the cliff with ease. To put my experience into words, it was like how birds would feel every time they are in the air. Some lucky life they have got, haven’t they? The glide lasted for 20 minutes, which was very less compared to the time that I wanted to be in the air. After 20 minutes of intense trance, we had a touchdown at Bir. Now, I was standing there, waiting for my friend to touchdown and share our experiences. One hour tuned to two, and two to three and henceforth. There was no sign of him. At this point, I was perplexed and confused at what might have happened. The cell phones do not have signal, hence the only way of contacting him was through a radio. So, I asked my instructor to find out what exactly had happened. By this time, it was almost sundown and still he had not landed. Finally, my instructor told me that he had not gone through with the glide. I was anxious to find out why did he bail out at the last moment when he was the one who suggested me the idea in the first place. I had prepared a list of arguments which I was about to hurl at him when I meet him later. Finally, he came back in the same car that we used to climb to the top. When he said what had happened, nothing but concerned is what I felt. He had fallen two times during the take off. First time, he did not run right up till the edge where he was supposed to take off (as mentioned earlier, very important). He got dragged over the rocks, which is terrifying. In the second attempt, he managed to run and did everything right, but his instructor messed up and hit the brakes of the shoot and they fell into the trees. I must say, a major disaster was averted. He would have been dead and all I could have done was feel remorse. I was so thankful that he was well and alive apart from a few bruises.
But we couldn’t give up on the adventure, the sole reason that we were there. So, we decided we would stay the night at Bir and glide early the following morning (We were supposed to go back to Mcleodganj the same day and had the hotel booked). Finally, the next morning he was able to do the glide successfully and this time with an experienced trainer.
It was after this that it dawned on us of what we had actually achieved. Bir Billing is Asia’s highest peak for Paragliding. It has been the host of the 2015 Paragliding World Championships and continues to host periodic international competitions and events. If you are thinking of paragliding, this is the place you would want to be.