Ever wondered what it would be like to fly like a bird, with a bird? With paragliding, you get to soar through the sky almost like a bird, and India has plenty of places where you can go paragliding: Kamshet, Solang, Bir Billing and Hoskote Lake (Bangalore) are some of them. But what if you had the company of a majestic bird of prey, flying alongside you and guiding you through the sky? Well, that’s parahawking. And for now, there is just one place where you get to experience it, and that’s in Spain.
The Parahawking Project offers a one-of-a-kind experience that you simply must try. The whole idea was created by bird trainer Scott Mason, who wanted to promote vulture conservation in Nepal. The project has now moved its operation to Spain. Parahawking takes you flying alongside trained Egyptian vultures as they guide you through warm air pockets called thermals to achieve lift and keep gliding through the Himalayas without much effort. Why Egyptian vultures? Well, they are intelligent and known to fly without using too much energy.
But how do you get the birds to fly along with you and guide you? With the best incentive of all: food. Trained to eat while in the sky, the birds fly with you as you paraglide and feed them. Meanwhile, the pilot steers and flies. As a passenger, you hold out the meat for the vulture while the pilot calls in the bird to swoop down and grab the snack. Keep doing this, and you end up with the experience of flying among the high mountain ranges with a vulture beside you. ALSO READ: 25 things to do in India before you die!
The project started as a contribution towards conserving the vulture population that has been in decline in Nepal and India for decades. Vultures have fallen prey to Diclofenac, a drug that was once used on dying livestock until it was banned for veterinary use in 2006. But vultures are already critically endangered, with just around 11,000 left in the wild. These scavengers play a crucial role in the ecosystem of Nepal, India and Pakistan. India alone has suffered billions of dollars because of the lack of vultures. While governments do their part, the Parahawking Project wanted to do its own while offering an incredible experience too. Proceeds from what you paid for the parahawking went towards rehabilitating birds. While the experience is no longer available in Nepal, you can try it out in the vibrant country of Spain where the Parahawking Project now operates. NOW SEE This amazing video of white water rafting in Rishikesh!
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