It was last weekend of July 2007, rainy season in Maharashtra and we, a group of 11 people (extended family) went to three days trip to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. It was my second visit to these small hill stations amidst the heights of Sahyadris mountains.
Only eighteen kms from Mahabaleshwar, the hill station of Panchgani is no lesser known to tourists. It is a frequented hill resort and is an ideal base for some good trekking, hiking, biking and parasailing (seasonal).
The parasailing takes place at a vast plateau, the second highest in Asia (and 4.5 km long) after the Tibetian plateau and locally known as “Tableland”. More on tableland in another post.
Parasailing consists of a parachute-like parasail, attached to a 300-meter long towrope, which is pulled along, by a speeding form of transport. When the speed rises to beyond stalling speed, the parachute rises, taking the pilot up in the air. Parasailing has two variations: a terrestrial and an aquatic one, with usually a jeep being used on ground and a motorboat being used in the water. As compared to gliding, parasailing is easier to learn and is also safer.
The length of the towrope restricts the height gained by a parasail. You achieve a height two-thirds the length of the rope. Other factors like wind speed, participant’s weight also have an important role to play. The time in the air depends on the amount of space available and the strength of the breeze. The stronger the breeze and the longer the run for the towing vehicle the longer and higher the flight will be. There are no weight restrictions in parasailing. The lighter you are, the higher you can go.
We also wanted to try our hands on parasailing. Having done so in France, I was initially wary of trying this in India where I thought the facilities may not be that good. Yes indeed, the facilities or infrastructure are far less but then we have to, at sometime, take risks to enjoy things. Also, looking at the people’s enthusiasm, all my inhibitions went off.
It was a very windy day with sky full of clouds. First, there was a long queue for parasailing and only one parachute ! And we all were praying that our turn comes before the winds start misbehaving or rain gods goof up with us. The tickets vary (depends on the season and the organizer). We paid Rs 300/- per person.
I was tied to a parachute and a jeep and as the jeep picked up speed I went up in the air. It was a feeling of flying. Flying inside an airplane is a different experience. Here I felt like a kite with no control in my hands. It was really wonderful. I could view the whole green valley and the mountains from a higher plane !! And it was pretty cold !! Phew !
After sometime (a small round) the jeep stopped and before my parachute came down, I could see 5-6 people running towards it. Well, they help us in landing process, nothing else. :)
Some of us wanted to go for a second round but before we could even book ourselves for that, drizzle and strong winds forced the organizers to close the show for the day.
Nevertheless, we had already enjoyed our quota. :)
Tip to Indian ladies:– Dress yourselves properly preferably with jeans/trousers and proper shoes. Sarees, skirts and dresses with dupatta are best avoided for obvious reasons and so are strapless chappals/sandals.
Note:– For more pics look at http://cuckooscosmos.com/Travel.