Jason's Quick Guide

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Tourist Visa

You need a 6 month tourist Visa to visit India. Of course you need a valid U.K. passport to start with. Go to www.hcilondon.net and download a general visa form. Print the visa form out, fill it in and take it to the visa office at India House, Aldwych along with your passport, £30 cash and two passport photos.

The office opens at 8.30 am and closes at 12 pm If you go there first thing it takes about 1 -1.5 hours to queue and get your visa. The phone number is 020 7240 1012, but they aren’t too hot at answering the phone.

Travel preparation

If you need jabs for polio, hepatitis A and typhoid, then the BA travel clinic is very good. I used the walk-in service at the Regent Street office, number 156 (on the corner just up from Hamleys towards Piccadilly Circus). Phone no is 020 7439 9584. Whole process took an hour and can be done on the spot for the above 3 diseases.

Rabies and Hepatitis B take a couple of visits. I didn’t bother. They’ll also try to sell you a load of malaria pills. The pills make you feel pretty bad and the mosquitoes don’t have malaria in Kamshet area anyway. Again, I didn’t bother with these. It’s worth using a sun tan cream with mosquito repeller in it, a spray for the evenings and a lit coil/plugin repeller to prevent bites at night time though. I use all of these.

Sports Insurance

You need dangerous sports insurance to cover the cost of a full Helicopter evac to hospital and then back to the U.K. if it all goes pear shaped. The chopper is very expensive, so don’t paraglide without cover.

I use Columbus Direct , who have a level 4 paragliding cover. Their price isn’t great, you could probably do better elsewhere. Approx cost £40.

Flights to and from London/ Bombay(Mumbai):

Checkout www.cheapflights.com and the like for last minute deals as cheap as £380. These will normally be with Swiss Air or Lufthansa. Some of the web sites use Mumbai instead of Bombay on the search engines. I swear by www.ba.com, who cost £550 and fly direct from Heathrow, as opposed to a stop over in Milan or Frankfurt with the cheap flights. The best cheap flight I could get with stop over was £450, so I chose BA for the convenience.

Nirvana Adventures will pick you up at the airport and ferry you directly to Golden Glades, Kamshet where the paragliding centre is. It takes about 2.5 - 3 hours door to door with the new Bombay - Pune express way.

Paragliding in Western Ghats of INDIA and Nirvana Adventures is the best option

Flying Season in Kamshet is From October to June. March to June is Summer time. Flying hours are between 4 pm and 7 pm which means we leave for flying around 3 pm Normally returning to the paragliding centre by 9 pm In the Winter season you can fly almost whole day.

The beginners P1 course takes 5 days, and the Novice P2 course takes 10 days. So in a week you can do P1, and in 2 weeks P1 and most of P2. On P1 you’ll get to do top bottoms which will last as long as 5 mins by the time you finish the course. On P2 your get to do ridge soaring which means you’ll be up for an hour or two if the wind’s good.

Email Sanjay to discuss course prices and logistics. Course prices include accommodation and meals.

Phone number of Bombay office is:- 91-22-26493110 /26053724

Phone number of paragliding centre in Kamshet is:- 91-2114-266187

Useful things to take with you
  • Good pair of hiking boots which protect your ankles.
  • Trousers and long sleeve shirts for flying. You can fly in shorts and T-shirt, but don’t blame me if you get dragged!
  • Sun block lotion (15 or better). It’s summer this time of year.
  • Sun glasses a must too. Hat if you’re running out of hair.
  • Shorts, T-shirts for evenings and a pair of sandals for evening footwear also good.
  • Mosquito repelling arsenal. See BA travel clinic comments above.
  • Some books and magazines if you don’t like sleeping and chilling out. You can also swim in the lake and go walks in the morning if you’re feeling energetic.
  • Duty free allowance. I’m partial to Gin, but the Indians are in to Johnnie Walker Black.

There’s one TV channel in Kamshet and one Nirvana TV which has been banished to the cook’s house (He’s addicted to Indian soaps). U.K. Mobiles work just, with very low signal strength in Kamshet. Use the land line to the house if you can. It doesn’t do outgoing International calls, so people will have to call you. Email and internet works pretty well these days, either via the Nirvana computer (if it’s working), or my laptop.

That's about everything that comes to mind. Please feel free to ask me questions if you’re coming over. I’m leaving in the first week of October for 5 weeks over there.

Bye for now!

Jason Smith.

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Jason Smith

Scotsman Jason Smith made his first visit in 2000 for a P1 course. He came back in 2002 to do P2 and after that made a long solo visit (January to March 2003).

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