As expressed in my previous post, this spontaneous trip gave me one of the greatest adventure experiences (although I have a long list to explore).
I agree I had my doubts and fair share of troubles to steal this deal. And hence, I am writing down this all-reference guide, just so you don’t have to go through all the pain of Google searches and inquiry calls.
Read further to discover all you need to know about how and when to plan this trip and what to do before and when you are there. Happy reading!
According to web definitions, Paragliding is defined as ‘the sport of gliding using a specially designed parachute shaped like flexible wings‘. This is one of those adventure activities wherein almost no machinery is involved. Paragliders are lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The wing is attached to a harness which is designed to be as comfortable as a lounge chair in the sitting position.
The glide is an activity mostly dependent on the wind. The pilot is taken to a hill or a similar raised terrain several feet above ground level. After judging the speed and direction of the wind, the pilot runs forward with the inflated wing behind, so as to gain momentum. After a few metres of run, the pilot plunges. The built-in air pressure helps the pilot and the equipment to rise and float in the air.
If the wind speed is good, you may glide and drift several kilometres in the air.
It’s a thrilling experience since the whole activity is based on the speed and direction of wind. It controls your movement and may take you several feet higher from where you plunged. Even while soaring, you have to rely on the wind to guide you, which gives this activity a tranquil intimacy, one of its kind.
The activity is open throughout the year except during monsoons. But considering the temperature and wind conditions, October to May is advised as the best time to visit Kamshet to try your hands at Paragliding. Even then, be careful to keep at least 2-3 days of buffer time because the wind has a mind of its own. It may make you hopeful at 7 o’clock in the morning and ditch you right when you are all decked up and ready to roll.
The glide gives you the best view during early morning rides. Just when he sun is coming out of the bed to wish you a very Good Morning. Even evening rides are good, but the govt. permits the activity only till 7 PM. If the light is good, you may try a glide in the evenings. Many pilots go for plunges in the afternoon as well, if the temp. is bearable and there is a soft, sweet breeze.
If you wish to use the services of a Tours And Travel company, there are many out there who will give you a very comfortable experience. But, in case you wish to explore it on your own and have a couple of days with you, I think it’s better to do it your way. That way you have flexibility of timings etc. The total cost of Paragliding in Kamshet through any travel company should not cost you more than Rs. 2500. This will include the equipment on rent and one tandem glide for 10-15 mins. However, if you are on your own, you can bargain a little with the locals and get it all for Rs. 2000. Yeah, I know not much of a save. But, for the same price of Rs. 2500, you can get yourself an overnight stay or a couple of free meals! This way you benefit the local people in your own way.
Reaching Kamshet :
Well, this was the one part of my trip which took most of a week to plan and finalize. After all my research, I found that if you are travelling from Bangalore, the Bangalore-Pune-Kamshet route is the best. You can get a flight ticket from Bangalore to Pune for around 3-4K, depending on how early you plan. However, if you wish to make it cheaper I would advise a train or a bus ride from Bangalore to Pune. Train journey will take around 19-20 hrs. But if you are early enough to get a confirmed sleeper ticket, the duration will not be a pain at all. You can get all the train listings here :
The bus ride will take around 13-14 hrs., but make sure to book an A/C Volvo otherwise the journey may become very tiring. I prefer to take govt. Volvo buses. They are guaranteed to give two benefits:
1. They are always on time, mostly before time.
2. The seats are super comfortable and if not you can always give a feedback which will definitely be worked upon.
You can book your KSRTC Volvo bus ticket from here :
If you prefer private bus service, you can use either RedBus or GoIbibo or any similar bus listing sites.
After reaching Pune, you need to plan your trip to Kamshet. No advance planning is required for this part of travel. Kamshet is almost 56 kms. from Pune and I discovered very cheap commute options available.
The best route is via local train. There are local trains from Pune Junction to Kamshet running every 15 mins. Since it is just an hour of travel, a simple General class ticket will suffice, which costs around Rs 17. There are also fast trains from Pune Junction to Lonavala, which will take hardly 25 mins. From Lonavala, Kamshet is a mere 11 kms. You can take a shared auto from outside the railway station or hop on the local buses passing through. The auto ride will cost you around Rs. 150, while the bus conductor will charge Rs. 20 per ticket. Since the buses are not very frequent, a shared auto is always the best way to reach Kamshet from Lonavala.
You can get all local train listings from here :
You are already there! :
Once you reach Kamshet and on the highway, if you have made a booking through a private agent, he’ll take care of your way further. If on your own, you can roam around and scout for a decent-looking-and-nothing-more-than-that kind of a hotel. It will be easy since there are not many around. The hotel person will give you all the details about the activity there and if asked nicely, may point you to the right person who will arrange everything for you, right from the hike to getting the equipments on rent. Just remember to be polite 🙂
Don’t forget to visit the hill at sunrise, because you would not want to miss the breathtaking view; put up a camp there in the evening and you may be lucky to spot a shooting star. And don’t worry about company; there are always enough people around, mostly tourists, enjoying a quiet campfire. You never know; you might get a friend for life!