Event Report

Arunachal Paragliding Festival (2018)

1st Arunachal Paragliding Festival

The 1st Arunachal Paragliding Festival organised by Paragliding Association of Arunachal (PAA) was held at Lumdung from 17th-19th November, 2018. Shri Mama Natung HMLA 11-Seppa (West) Assembly Constituency graced the inaugural function as the Chief Guest.

Shri Mama Natung HMLA 11-Seppa (West) Assembly Constituency with Shri Vijay Sonam, President, Paragliding Association of Arunachal
Shri Mama Natung HMLA 11-Seppa (West) Assembly Constituency with Shri Vijay Sonam, President, Paragliding Association of Arunachal

The Flying Festival began with short inaugural function. Shri Vijay Sonam, President of Paragliding Association of Arunachal extended warm welcome to the HMLA, Participants, Guests, Officers, youth & public. He informed the gathering that the Flying Festival could see the light of the day after several years of hard work. Survey for suitable paragliding flying site was conducted at many places across the State of Arunachal Pradesh. After which Lumdung was finally selected for promotion of paragliding and also the venue for the flying festival thereof. A detailed survey, technical analysis, recce & several test flights were performed by paragliding professionals to ensure that the site is flyable and safe. Shri Sonam also informed that despite the short notice response from the paragliding fraternity was well above expectation. 34 paragliding pilots participated in the festival.

Shri Mama Natung HMLA welcoming participants & guests
Shri Mama Natung HMLA welcoming participants & guests
The participating pilots were: Surain Gurung, Ajay Kumar Sharma, Krishna Bdr KC, Sagar Karki, Subin Rana Magar, Deshbir Jimi, Bikash Dahal, Suresh Bdr Thapa, Aman Thapa magar, Om Raj Gurung, Subhas Pariyar, Bishal Pariyar, Khum Bdr Gurung, Rahul Jalhari, Sagar Jalhari, Sujan Thapa (Nepal), Jual Ahmed ( Assam), Hine Steven Todd (USA), Gorene Jaka & Leban Lara (Slovenija), Giroux Jimmy Joseph Marc (Canada), Aldy Patanroi (Indonesia), Harsha Kadam (Gujarat), Rupak Adhikari & Anmol Tamang (West Bengal), Devi Prasad ketkar (Maharashtra), Sajeet Tamang (Sikkim), Anil Kumar, Abhinash Khawas (NIMAS), Kush Thakur, Subhas Chand, Shivjeet Thakur & Vishal Kumar (Bir, Himachal Pradesh).

While ace paragliding pilots Gorene Jaka, Leban Lara, Hine Steven Todd, Giroux Jimmy Joseph Marc, Aldy Patanroi, Surain Gurung, Ajay Kr Sharma and Devi Prasad Ketar did free flying, 27 participating pilots took part in the spot landing (accuracy) competition.

After welcome address and introduction of the participants, traditional scarf, jackets & mementos were presented to the guests & the participants as a token of love and appreciation.

In his speech the HMLA Shri Mama Natung said that the festival would go a long way in promoting sports and adventure tourism in the region. He also said that it will not only promote tourist inflow but also increase the economic condition of the people living in the area besides attracting the youths of the State to take up paragliding as a Sports and self employment. Describing Pappu Valley as one of the best destinations for paragliding, the HMLA said that he would take up the matter with the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Pema Khandu for declaring the festival as a calendar event. He thanked the Department of Youth Affairs and Department of Tourism, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh for supporting the event and assured Paragliding Association of Arunachal President Vijay Sonam of full support to ensure success of the programme.

Shri Gaurav Singh Rajawat DC East Kameng getting pre-flight briefing
Shri Gaurav Singh Rajawat DC East Kameng getting pre-flight briefing from the tandem pilot

Shri Gaurav Singh Rajawat DC East Kameng, Shri Karbia Dodum Asst. Director (Sports), Smt. Bengia Manna Sonam, Asst. Director (Tourism), HODs of East Kameng District, Public leaders, PRI Members were present on the occasion amongst others.

The Festival concluded on 19th November 2018 after mass participation of Pilots from within and outside the Country. Shri ________ from Bir Billing (Himachal Pradesh) emerged as the winner in the spot landing (accuracy) competition which carried award of ₹ 30,000/- while Shri Omraj Gurung and Shri Deshbir Jimi of Nepal came 2nd and 3rd which carried awards of 20,000/- 10,000/- respectively.

Shri Bamang Tago, Chairman of Sports Authority of Arunachal (SAA) giving away the prizes to the winners
Prizes were given away by Shri Bamang Tago, Chairman of Sports Authority of Arunachal (SAA) who graced the closing function as the Chief Guest. He congratulated Shri Vijay Sonam, President of Paragliding Association of Arunachal for thinking out of the box to organise such Paragliding Festival which was least known in the State. He said that with the conduct of 1st Arunachal Paragliding Festival, youths will be motivated to take it up as sports and profession. He assured to extend all possible support to promote Paragliding in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.

On the eve of the finale all participants and guests were treated to a traditional dinner and cultural program in the traditional Arunachali house in Lumdung village. This was a unique experience for the participating pilots. Deviprasad Ketakar who travelled by road all the way from Mumbai congratulated the organisers for putting together a great event which brought people from various parts of the world together in one place to experience a new flying site, local food and culture.

The 1st Arunachal Paragliding festival was coordinated by Shri Raju Rai (Adventure Zone, Sikkim), Manoj Roy (ParaglidingCo, Mumbai), Suren Gurung & Ajay Kr. Sharma (Nepal) and Aldy Patanroi (Indonesia).