FEB 06 – Ever wonder how this chaotic, mismanaged city looks like through a bird’s eye? The view is even better than the one that passengers on window seats in airplanes get: for from inside the plane you only see one side of the city—from within an enclosed space, for less than five minutes.
The view is completely different when you jump into the sky, maintain an eagle’s flight speed and just float in the wind, owning your own little wing and paragliding over Kathmandu. While the success of Pokhara’s paragliding ventures is now common knowledge, Kathmandu is yet to garner similar accolades. Although planned years ago, the possibility for paragliding in Kathmandu was put on hold, for over a decade, owing to safety concerns. The authorities said that paragliders could hamper air traffic around Nepal’s only international airport.
Finally, after years of studying the lay of the land, and with enthusiastic operators starting paragliding companies in the Capital, that dream, of flying the Valley’s skies, was revived again three months ago. The assigned route covers 7 square km, and the designated base airport lies in Kotdada, Godavari. The wind in this part of the Valley is favourable enough that paragliders can execute a ‘top landing’ here—meaning they can land in the very spot they took off after 30 minutes of flight.
The harsh winter is coming to an end. Spring is just around the corner. The skies are getting clearer. It’s time to turn into a free bird in Kathmandu.