Overcoming fear for the adventure of a lifetime

Published on Feb 20, 2022 04:03 AM IST

We looked for paragliding spots around Chandigarh and came upon Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh, which is incidentally the highest paragliding point in Asia.

Strolling down the village, we stopped at an adventure club, which provides booking for paragliding from the Billing take off-site. (HT Photo)
Strolling down the village, we stopped at an adventure club, which provides booking for paragliding from the Billing take off-site. (HT Photo)
BySupriya Bhardwaj

The best way to conquer your fears is to face them, or so the wise men say. Indeed, I had never given much thought to overcoming my acrophobia (fear of heights), until my husband and I decided to do something adventurous for our anniversary and decided to give paragliding a whirl.

We looked for paragliding spots around Chandigarh and came upon Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh, which is incidentally the highest paragliding point in Asia. Even as I tried to talk myself into facing my fear, I took one look at my toddler and called off the plan.

But as Paulo Coelho says when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it, and so the law of attraction wielded its magic and we found ourselves on a six-hour drive to Bir village in Himachal Pradesh with our friends and toddler in tow.

We stayed at the Shivalik Guest House in the Bir Chaugan region and explored the village, which has beautiful Buddhist monasteries and is also home to a large number of Tibetan refugees. Strolling down the village, we stopped at an adventure club, which provides booking for paragliding from the Billing take off-site.

The next day we arrived bright and early for our paragliding session. My husband decided to go first, while I waited with our daughter at the take-off site. While preparing for the take-off, the pilot warned us that the weather in Billing was capricious to say the least, and would determine how long we were able to stay in the sky.

Then, the pilot and my husband took off and we cheered for them from the ground. They had been up in the air for half-an-hour when the weather conditions changed and black clouds took over the area. The wind was so chilling that we had to take shelter inside a makeshift refreshment shack. It was another half-an-hour before my husband returned, eager to tell us all about the wonderful experience. By then, it started drizzling and paragliding activities had to be stopped.

As the thunder continued to rumble through the night, I was not sure if I would be able to paraglide the next day. However, Nature seemed to be smiling the next morning, and I started preparing to take the jump, while my husband looked after our daughter.

I was scared and nervous at first, but as soon as I was in the air, my fear dissipated and sheer joy took over. Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I flew over the picturesque mountains. What I felt and the beauty I saw cannot be done just to through words. Twenty-five minutes later, I landed safely at the landing site.

The heart-throbbing adventure has imprinted itself our minds, and we will never forget it.

supriyabhardwajnov12@gmail.com

(The writer is an Amritsar-based travel blogger.)

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