‘Hampi by sky’ paragliding service has been introduced as a regular feature by Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority as an added attraction to tourists thronging the erstwhile seat of Vijayanager empire from across the globe.
“Meghalaya Paragliding Association came forward to operate the paraglider service and we agreed. The facility was launched by R. Chetan, Superintendent of Police, on Vijayadashami (Dassara),” Pavankumar Malpati, Assistant Commissioner, Hosapete, and Commissioner of the authority, told The Hindu.
‘Hampi by sky’ service, which involved 10 to 15-minute helicopter ride, was introduced during Hampi Utsav in 2014 and was a hit.
In view the demand, the helicopter rides were conducted during the utsav held in January 2015.
The rides provided an opportunity to get a three-dimensional view of the ancient monuments such as Virupaksha Gopura (tower), Stone Chariot, Ugra Narasimha, Lotus Mahal, the gigantic Krishna temple and Hazara Rama temple, and the natural landscape, from the sky.
One tourist can fly at a time
In the paragliding service, only one tourist can fly along with the pilot at a time. The charge is Rs. 3,500 for a 15-minute ride, Rs. 7,000 for 30 minutes and Rs. 12,000 for an hourlong ride.
The paraglider, at present, takes off and lands on the open ground where the main stage for Hampi Utsav is erected, near Gayatri Peetha.
Only one paraglider has been pressed into service now. Depending on the demand/patronage, the agency plans to introduce one more glider and has sought permission of the authority to make use of the Kamalapur tank area, adjacent to Hampi, for take off and landing.
“It (the proposal) is under consideration. We will take a final decision after studying the pros and cons of using the tank area for the service,” Mr. Malpati said.
Depending on the weather, 10 to 15 flights could be conducted in a day. The agency, as per the agreement, will have to pay Rs. 100 per flight to the authority.