- Anuradha Mane
DNA News & Analysis
28 May 2008

Painting classes are passé, entire families are getting a high from paragliding

Vacations are no longer restricted to painting classes and summer camps. Paragliding schools in Pune have been a hotspot for adventure lovers from the city this summer.

A number of young enthusiasts have been registering for paragliding courses this flying season, which will draw to a close in the first week of June. Over 600 people have reportedly registered with the three different paragliding schools in Pune this season alone.

A visit to any paragliding site will reveal how the profile of the adventurers has changed from ‘mostly foreign tourists’ to local teenagers being encouraged by parents.

“Right from politicians to students, just about everyone seems to be taking interest in paragliding,” says Sanjay Rao, owner of Nirvana Adventures. Recalling that barely five local people registered for paragliding a decade ago, Rao says that there has been an unprecedented increase in the demand for the adventure sport over the years.

The reasons are many, say paragliding schools’ owners. While thousands of new, well-paying jobs with the advent of the IT and BPO industry means that people have money to spend on adventure sports, information about such adrenalin-rushing events is readily accessible on the internet.

Attributing this popularity to the relatively easy and safe nature of paragliding, Rao says, “One just needs to weigh over 40 kg, should not have heart aliments or epilepsy. It’s a non-polluting sport and is very safe.”

Pune, which is slowly emerging as a hub for paragliding, also attracts several foreigners. In fact, Nirvana Adventures has also started an exchange programme for students from Sweden, France and Netherlands to encourage them to stay in India and learn about its culture along with regular flying classes.

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