Godavari- If you live in the Kathmandu valley and want to enjoy the adventure of paragliding, you need not travel to other districts as this facility is now available closer home in Godavari of Lalitpur.
Paragliding is operated at Chapakharka of Godavari which is 15 kilometres drive from downtown Kathmandu. From Godavari one has to drive uphill for a distance of nearly five kilometers on gravel road through forest to get to Chapakharka.
Persons wishing to paraglide can enjoy paragliding flight lasting 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on one's choice. However, the flight can get longer and sometimes not be feasible depending on wind speed.
Paragliding from Chapakot is a unique experience as one can have a bird's eye view of the Kathmandu valley and the beautiful sight of the various mountain peaks and the green hills, floating like a bird in the air.
People coming for paragliding at Chapakharka are elated with the operation of paragliding here.
Paragliding, which was first started from Sarangkot of Pokhara 15 years back, has now been expanded to various districts, including in Chapakharka.
Senior manager of Nepal Tourism Board, Lila Bahadur Baniya termed the operation of paragliding sports at Chapakharka as an important dimension for promoting tourism in the Kathmandu valley.
The government has set the target of welcoming more than two million tourists in 2020.
The paragliding at Chapakharka was started from December-end, 2018 after opening and closing off and on in the past. The service was started at an investment of Rs 30 million.
Three hundred paragliding flights have been conducted so far since it was opened. Kathmandu Paragliding and Hand-gliding Pvt Ltd has been operating the paragliding at Chapakharka.
Director of Paragliding and Hand-gliding Pvt Ltd, Niraj Panta, said although Chapakharka is an important place for sight-seeing and paragliding, tourism business here has not flourished as per expectation due to lack of adequate publicity.
Former government minister and Kathmandu Mayor Keshav Sthapit had set up Kathmandu Paragliding and Hand-gliding Pvt Ltd in 2007 and taken initiatives to operate paragliding. It has now been brought into operation at the investment of more than Rs 30 million by a Korean national Chyang Jing Khwan and Nepali investors Narayan Aryal, Binod Shah, Kumar Ghimire and Trip Concern.
It has the capacity of operating 25 paragliding flights a day. It has six gliders.
The paragliding that takes place from 2,100 metres above Godavari and the landing takes place at Rachantar at an altitude of 1,600 metres. The paragliding is held from a higher altitude here than in Pokhara.
The government has determined the certain area for the paragliding. Around two to five paragliding flights are now being made every day in the preliminary phase. There is also experience of making up to 20 flights in a day.
Although a Nepali has to spend Rs 8,000 for one paragliding flight including all costs like transport, photo, video. One can now paraglide at Rs 6,500 as promotional discount has been offered.
However, a foreigner has to pay Rs 11,300 for it. One can see panoramic views of green forest, the beautiful Kathmandu Valley as well as Ganesh and Gauri Shanker peaks while paragliding.
Another paragliding is also in operation at Shankharapur near the Kathmandu Valley. There are now around 200 paragliding pilots and 65 paragliding companies in Nepal.
Pilot Boby Raut, who is conducting paragliding flights for the past eight years, said that every area has its own specialties, adding that Godavari has become the important destination to view green forest, Kathmandu Valley and the snow-clad mountains.