Paragliding is one of the most popular activities among adventure enthusiasts who have a desire to fly in the sky. The technique is quite simple, you just need a paraglider and an instructor to enjoy paragliding.
This amazing sport can be experienced throughout the year except for the rainy season and bad climate. One after having a paragliding session of a few minutes can explore the beauty of a place from the top flying amidst clouds.
For a place to be characterized as a perfect paragliding destination, the place should have an ideal cloud base, supporting climate, and an appropriate elevation from sea level. With advancements in technology, paragliding has gained massive popularity in India for a few years.
Several paragliding sites within India offer a wonderful paragliding experience along with a majestic view of the surrounding. Today, we are talking about Solang Valley within Northern India where the paragliding experience is quite miraculous.
A Glimpse of Valley
Situated at 14km from Manali on the way to Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley is a beautiful valley located in the heart of the Himalayas. Solang Valley locally known as Solang Nallah derived its name from two words Solang (a nearby village) and Nallah (water stream).
Solang Valley is a small side valley at the top of Kullu. The Beas river flowing through this valley enhances the natural beauty of the valley. The valley offers a great view of the glaciers, lush green landscapes, apple orchards, lakes, clear blue skies, and snow-covered peaks.
Solang Valley is a great place for adventure enthusiasts and offers several adventure activities such as paragliding, parachuting, horse riding, skating, trekking, camping, and zorbing. A huge number of tourists visit here every year especially during winters as the Rohtang Pass shuts down during the winters.
The valley has an elevation of 2560m above sea level which makes the valley an ideal location for paragliding. There are several attractions near Solang Valley such as Kothi, Rohtang Pass, Great Himalayan National Park, and many more.
Also, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports is located here which offers specialized training in skiing and mountaineering. There are several skiing competitions hosted here by the Himachal Pradesh Winter Games Association which makes the valley a perfect hotspot for local and foreign tourists.
History of the valley
As mentioned earlier Solang Valley derives its name from two words – Solang (Nearby village) and Nallah (water stream). The Valley is locally known as Solang Nallah. The valley is also known as “Snow Point” because the valley gets extremely charming and alluring during winters.
The snowy winter here covers the whole valley with snowmaking skiing a popular sport here. Magnificent slopes of lawn comprise the Solang valley which popularized it as a famous ski resort. A few skiing championships are hosted here throughout the year by the Himachal Pradesh Winter Games Association (HPWGA).
The top-level athletes selected get qualified for National Level championships. Instead of several championships held here, the infrastructure of the valley is not as desired which makes skiing challenging here.
From the past few years, Solang Valley has gained popularity among tourists as the “Ski Paradise of North India”. There are several ski agencies here offering various skiing courses and are operational during winters.
Manali has several paragliding sites such as Solang Valley, Burwa point, Marhi, Fatru, Bijli Mahadev. Among these, Solang Valley is the most popular paragliding site in Manali. While the other sites also provide a miraculous experience and an amazing site view.
There are many reasons which make Solang Valley a perfect place for paragliding. In fact, the paragliding experience here is regarded as one of the best within India. The experience of flying in the middle of Himalayan Slopes along with a breath-taking view of Beas River adds a touch of luxury to the adventure.
Just imagine how exciting and joyful it is to glide through the lovely landscapes of the Himalayan region, exploring the gorgeous beauty of nature here. The calm wind gushing through the valley makes you feel pleasured and relaxed.
Paragliding here allows you to leave all your worries and troubles behind and fly in the immense sky like a bird. There are two jumping stations available in the Solang Valley. The first one with a lower level is for those who are feeling less adventurous and just want to enjoy a moderate Paragliding session.
While the other one is for those adventure junkies who are willing to enjoy every moment of their paragliding session. Paragliding here is available throughout the year except for the Monsoon season.
Why Solang for Paragliding?
As told earlier, Manali has several paragliding sites, but Solang Valley is the best among them. Many conditions favor Solang Valley to achieve this title. It is amongst the top ten best paragliding destinations within India. Solang Valley offers several sports activities, but Paragliding is the most recommended activity here.
Paragliding here can be enjoyed throughout the year except for the monsoon season. It depends upon the choice of individual whether to enjoy this amazing sport of paragliding either during the summer or winter season. The approximate timing of the paragliding here is from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There are a few reasons to enjoy paragliding at Solang Valley.
Some of them are described below:
Beauty of the Valley
Solang valley is one of the most loved tourist destinations, where several tourists come here every year from all around the world. Solang Valley is usually a sprawling meadow that consists of green grass during summer and with pristine snow during winter. The beauty of the valley is untouched by any kind of pollution and retains throughout any season of the year.
There are no words to describe the paragliding experience in such a place. One can experience flying above at a height of over 8000ft, through the sky enjoying the beautiful landscapes around it consisting of beautiful pine forests and mountains.
Several activities available here
There are several other travel destinations in Himachal Pradesh, amongst them, Solang Valley is regarded as one of the most preferred destinations. This is not only because of paragliding activity here but several other activities too. At Solang Valley, there are numerous activities to discover which include zorbing, quad biking, skiing, gondola, snowmobiling, camping, and trekking.
It is a complete hub to one’s desire for adventure sports to come true. Wait-Wait, What about the food? There are many food stalls and nearby shops where you can purchase snacks. One of the most preferred food items here especially during winter is a plate of sizzling Maggi noodles.
Popularity of the Valley
As described above, Solang Valley is a great place for adventure lovers, and several tourists visit here every year. The valley is quite popular among adventure enthusiasts for its awesome views of the snow-covered mountains and spectacular glaciers attracting tourists from all around the world.
Several national-level championships are held here every year which is another reason for the number of tourists visiting this place. Another cause of the popularity of the place is winter sports.
Connectivity to other spots
The Solang Valley is not only popularized for the adventure activities but there are a few other nearby famous tourist destinations which you can visit from the Solang Valley such as Beas River, Jogini Waterfalls, Beas Kund, Hadimba Devi Temple, Anjani Mahadev, Museum of Himalayan Culture and Folk Art, Kothi, and many more.
The Solang Valley is about 44km from the well-known Rohtang Pass which is famous for providing the most eye-catching natural delights in India. Rohtang Valley is home to the famous Pin Valley National Park and several Buddhist Monasteries. Also, the Great Himalayan National Park is just 77km from the Solang Valley and is worth a visit.
Best time to Visit
Solang Valley is a decent place to visit throughout the year. The natural beauty of the Solang Valley remains the same throughout the year. You can have loads of fun and adventure after visiting Solang Valley within any season. But after all, it depends on your preferences.
The description of Solang Valley during various seasons is described below:
The Summer Season marks its presence from March and continues till June. The weather is quite pleasant throughout the day. The summer season is a great time for people who don’t like that much cold outside for traveling and like a pleasant type of environment.
People during this season can enjoy hiking within green lush fields, forests filled up with pine trees, wandering around the sides of Beas river, and experience the abundance of natural beauty that surrounds the valley.
It is one of the best times for nature lovers who love to interact deeply with every aspect of nature. During the Summer season, one can easily spend a relaxing vacation here forgetting about all his worries and experiencing him/her within the lap of nature.
You can enjoy a number of outdoor activities during this season such as paragliding, mountaineering, rock climbing, rafting, horse riding, and camping.
The snow melts during this season which means no skiing during this season, but activities like zorbing take its position. During the peak months of March-April-May, the valley is overcrowded with tourists which leads to a lot of traffic jams.
The monsoon season begins here from June and ends till August. This is the time when there is heavy rainfall in the valley. Many tourists avoid visiting the valley during this season as the heavy rainfall works as a barrier to the adventure and sightseeing activities.
Several businesses shut down during this season, and it is difficult to enjoy a paragliding flight as the whole process of paragliding depends on the air currents which get disturbed during the rainy season.
There are very few visitors visiting this season, so there is not a very huge tourist crowd as during the other months. Here you may spend your vacations relaxing between the lap of nature. You will enjoy that relaxing and pleasing sound of the rainfall and that moderate type of climate.
Almost all the activities are closed during this season, still, you can enjoy hiking and rock-climbing but that is not preferred as there is always a risk of accidents. But still, if you want to enjoy rock-climbing and hiking, then it is always advisable to go on an adventure in groups and take an experienced guide with you.
The winter season begins here from October and continues till March. Solang Valley is regarded as the best tourist destination within Manali during winters. At the time of winters, you will experience the beauty of Solang Valley at its fullest.
The reason why Solang Valley is called the “Ski Paradise of North India” because of its availability of winter sports. There are several winter sports that one can enjoy within Solang Valley.
The list is not limited only to skiing but to a few other activities such as snowboarding, tube sliding, riding an ATV or snow scooters. One should also try the cable car ride as here; it is one of the best and coolest ways to enjoy the beautiful views of the snow-covered valley.
The journey to Solang Valley via road during winters is a fascinating type of experience. The road connecting Manali to Solang Valley is located at the side of the mainstream river. The road journey to Solang Valley during winter offers a mesmerizing view of the snow-covered mountains along with the river.
After reaching the valley, there are several shops providing clothing essentials such as shoes, gloves, and dresses to tolerate the cold temperature of the valley. The dress costs somewhere around 250Rs. whereas the shoe will cost nearly 50 Rs. It is recommended to explore Solang Valley, especially during winters, as you can explore a variety of winter sports activities.
Various Paragliding Options
Being an adventure activity, there is always a risk involved during paragliding. So, it is always advisable to fly with trained pilots, and safety measures should always be checked first. There is an option of Solo Paragliding too, but it is for those individuals who have a decent amount of knowledge and paragliding skills. Paragliding here is operational throughout the year except in the monsoon season. The three main paragliding options available here are:
These types of flights include flying above the average height of 300m above the ground level. These types of flights usually last about 1-2 minutes and will cost you around 600 Rs. This joy flight is not preferred as it does not let you experience and enjoy the thrill of paragliding.
These types of flights include flying above the average height of 800m above the ground level, and this type of flight provide a spectacular view of the pine-covered forests, the captivating hills, the fields, and the Beas river. High Flights usually lasts anywhere between 10-15 minutes, all depending on the wind conditions. This will nearly cost you around 1500 Rs. per person.
These types of flights are usually different than the previous ones. There are several locations for paragliding flight to take off such as Billing, Madi, Rohtang, etc. This includes flying above very high and the wonderful view of Billing, Madi, and Rohtang. These flights usually last about 30-55 minutes depending upon the wind conditions and will cost around 2500-3500 Rs.
How to reach
Solang Valley is accessible from major Indian cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Pathankot, and many others. The various transportation modes to reach here is:
The nearest airport here is Kullu Manali airport located the airport is around 63 kilometres from the valley and it nearly takes about anywhere between two and three hours to reach the valley at Bhuntar, which is located 50 km from here. After reaching the airport, you can hire a cab or taxi up to the valley.
You can also reach here via train. The nearest railway station here is Joginder Nagar railway station which is situated at around 175 km from the valley. Once after you reach the station, you can hire a taxi directly up to the valley.
Solang Valley has a very well-connected network with other major cities of the country via roads. There are many state government-owned HRTC or private-owned buses as well as taxis up to here.
A regular number of buses go from the national capital Delhi to Manali daily. You can either book an ordinary bus or else semi-sleeper Volvo buses, depending on your budget. If comfortable, you can complete the journey by driving your car.
The nearest ATM here is Punjab National Bank ATM at Burwa which is approximately 1-2 km away from the valley. There are several ATM booths near the Solang Valley. So, there is no need to worry about cash. Even in the winters, the ATM service here works well. But it is still advisable to carry some sort of cash with you.