The paragliding adventure carnival which starts in Vagamon, Kerala on February 23 provides one a chance to experience the freedom of flying like a bird. The event will be conducted by the State Youth Welfare Board with technical assistance from the adventure club Fly Vagamon, forest and tourism departments as well as Koottickal and Elappara grama panchayats.
“Very few people know that Vagamon is considered one among the best locations for paragliding in the whole of Asia. The Youth Welfare Board intends to make this an annual affair in order to promote this adventure sport among youth in the state,” said Shone George, member of the board.
A group of paragliding enthusiasts used to conduct similar festivals during 2005 to 2009. In fact, this team received the tourism department’s award for innovative tourism in 2008. Now the same group of youngsters has formed the Fly Vagamon Club. Membership to the club will be open to those interested in paragliding and no fee will be charged for the same. “The carnival has chiefly been organized for the purpose of flying together and sharing experiences. Those who wish to experience the joy of flying can do so with an expert paragliding pilot,” said Vinil Thomas, president of the club.
The joy ride will cost Rs 2000 for 30 minutes. The ride will take off from suicide point at Vagamon and land at J J Murphy School Grounds in Yendayar near Mundakkayam. “The take off point will be at a height of 1050 meters above sea level,” said Thomas. This year around 25 pilots including foreigners will take part in the carnival which will conclude on March 3. Prior to the event, a training camp will be held for selected candidates from February 15-20. “This year our aim is to train youngsters in paragliding. From next year, the event will be restricted to pilots from Kerala,” said Shone George.