Paragliding in Darjeeling
This is the closest you can get to flying like a bird. And imagine you are flying with the Himalayan mountains in the backdrop.
As you look below, you will see the rows of local houses like tiny dots on the mountain landscapes, and if look along the horizon, you will get marvelous views of Kanchenjunga snow peaks and even Everest, and all that from the sky. Sounds interesting? Then take a paragliding flight in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling has joined the coveted network of places in India that offer paragliding including Gangtok in Sikkim, Himachal, Uttaranchal, Maharastra etc. Usually paragliding is done on a clear day so that you get a clear view as you glide in the sky and come back down to the earth satisfied. On a clear day, the operators launch the paragliding trips several times through out the day.
Paragliding in Darjeeling
Photo: Offroad Adventure
You can do it on your own if you have the experience and technical capability to do so. Otherwise a guide will join you. This is called tandem paragliding where you and the guide will be secured in separate safety harnesses but the guide will control the flight. At the time of launching, all you have to do is to run for few steps and as the guide calls out "Go!", you jump into the sky from the edge of a flat area of the cliff. And then, you are in paradise!!
In Darjeeling, a popular paragliding take off point is near the St. Paul's School at Jalapahar area which is located at a much higher altitude than the Mall. The operator will transport you to the launching area. One can also walk up to the place from the Mall (takes about 30 minutes uphill walk).
Sometimes, paragliding is also done at Jamuney, a picturesque place which is about 30minute drive from Darjeeling. The take off takes place at Tukvar tea garden and landing at Jamuney ground.
The entire flight takes about 15 minutes although may extend to maximum of about 30 minutes depending on wind & weather conditions. While paragliding from Jalapahar area in Darjeeling, you will pass above the Chowrasta Mall, and one thing for sure, almost everybody at the Mall will be looking at you taking this amazing flight and wonder if they could also do it. Wave your hands and fly on.
The landing takes place at the Lebong Ground located at the lower levels. From one side of the Mall you can see the Lebong Ground far below. It's a flat land area (a field) and is about 7kms from the town center. The guide who sits just behind you all through the flight, will ensure that the landing is smooth. While touching down, you will again need to run for few steps on the ground. After landing, the operator will transport you back to the town center.
Paragliding is also offered in Kalimpong which is about 2 hours from Darjeeling. In Kalimpong the common take off point is from the Dello Hills. There are two types of flights offered - Medium (for about 15 minutes) and High (for about 30 minutes). Although the take off point is same for both, the landing points are different. For Medium flight the landing point is at Homes Garden near the school Dr. Graham's Home, while for High flight the landing point is at Relli River ground further down. There are couple of operators there. Ask the taxi driver and he will take you.
The per person rate for tourists is Rs. 3,500/- for 15 minutes flight (Fare updated January 2018).
Don't go for it if you have Asthma or heart disorders, or even fear of height.
Best time for paragliding in Darjeeling
Due to wind conditions, paragliding in Darjeeling is done between October to April. However during the peak winter season (January to February), paragliding is usually avoided due to excessive chill. During season when the weather is clear, an individual guide would typically make 8 to 9 flights a day. An operator would typically operate around 15 paragliding flights per day in Darjeeling.
Learning to paraglide
In Darjeeling, the operators also offer lessons for paragliding so that you can paraglide on your own rather than with a guide and be an independent bird :)
It's not difficult to learn paragliding. Anybody who is physically fit can do it. Introductory, novice and intermediate courses are offered by expert guides that span from 3 to 5 days.
How to paraglide in Darjeeling?
You will first need to book a paragliding flight with an operator in Darjeeling. And this should be done in advance, although they will also entertain you for walk-in flights if guides and resources are available. The operator will arrange for a transport to transfer you to the take off point and then bring you from the landing point back to their office (or even to your hotel if that's nearby). Visit Tour Operators
to get operator information about paragliding in Darjeeling.
Update December 2018
There has been a paragliding accident in Kalimpong on 24th November 2018 where the pilot has died although the tourist could escape with some fractures. Paragliding in Darjeeling and Kalimpong has been suspended indefinitely till clearances are received from the Air Force, Air Traffic Control and new guidelines are formulated by the District Administration and GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration).
Mrinalini (January 2017)
Dear, I hope this email finds you well. I am a permanent resident of Darjeeling currently working in Dubai, when I was in Darjeeling I always wanted to go for paragliding due to some reason I will be travelling in March so can I go for paragliding that time????? and the pictures will also be provided that time? Look forward to hearing from you.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2017
There are currently some restrictions on paragliding imposed by Darjeeling authorities. However the company Offroad Adventure is still authorized to operate paragliding in Darjeeling and few others (five operators) in Kalimpong. And the season for paragliding in Darjeeling lasts till April. So it should be possible.
Murtaza (November 2016)
Kindly advise which is better place for paragliding, Gangtok or Kalimpong? Thanking you once again for your wonderful service. Best Regards,
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2016
You can do paragliding in Darjeeling. Contact offroad adventures. They use couple of sites to take off in Darjeeling. Talk to them and choose the one you like. Gangtok & Kalimpong also have great sites for Paragliding.
Dr Arjun Dasgupta (May 2015)
Hi I am a healthy and fit 100kg guy. Can I do paragliding?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2015
Hi, you can do it at your own risk. Usually they won't stop you. In other places like in Kalimpong, the paragliding weight limit is 120kg.