Pokhara-the perfect destination for paragliding: Indra Bhandari-General Secretary, Nepal Air Sports Association(NAA)

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Since when have you been in NAA?

-It has been two years now. And almost my tenure coming to an end. I have all together five years experience in the association.

How did it start in Pokhara?

-In the beginning there was only one company called Sunrise Paragliding. And now with the growing demand and its popularity, we have around 60 companies registered so far.

What makes Pokhara popular for the sport?

-Pokhara is famous for paragliding because take-off, landing and visibility combination should be good. Nepal ranks in top ten for the sports. Also take off and landing is not enough the wind thermalling should be also good. The scenic lake scene adds plus point to the beauty.

What about accidents?

-Accidents are very rare. Sometimes, there may be one or two but they are mostly in case of solo flights. Commercially managed flights are safe.

Which places in Nepal are famous for it?

-Syangja, Bandipur, Dharan, Pokhara and Godavari of Kathmandu are famous for paragliding. New places like Salyan and Gorkha are also in the list to be operated soon.

International airport in Pokhara may hamper the sport?

-In Sweden we can see that the airport and paragliding operate together. Pokhara is the most suitable place for paragliding. So tower could be set up and air sports activities fixed as per the timing of the flights. At the same time we have urged the Government not to halt such activities as Pokhara is very famous and suitable for it.

How many paragliding runways in Pokhara?

-Around seven.

Which are most safe or best?

-There is nothing like that. Some people prefer to carry out the sport from a height, whereas some people prefer from a medium range. It depends on the people also.

What is your contribution?

-Though such events have gain lot of popularity in foreign countries, in Nepal we lag behind comparatively. However we have succeeded in listing down 42 sports events in National Sports Council. In Asian Games to be held in Indonesia, Nepal will display twenty-one events including the paragliding. I am also the secretary of Nepal Paragliding Association. Close camp trainings are underway for the same. During the Pre-World Cup organized by China, we had secured the Bronze medal. Thus possibilities are high. This year during SAARC, we may participate in such air sports events. If not possible, we shall at least hold the demonstrations merely for entertainment purpose.