|Flying in Himalayas|
Getting there. It's a long way to get there from US, it took me 42 hours door to door. You can fly west through China or Japane or east through UK, UAE or Germany, but in any case it's around 20-24 hours to get to New Delhi. From Delhi you have few options. Most convenient and most expensive is taxi, which cost $120-$150 depending on car size and it will take around 12 hours. You can order through hotel in Bir where you plan to stay. Bus is only $20 departing from Kashmiri Gate and time is similar to taxi.
Visa. Most nations including US and Russian citizens need to apply for visa. You can apply for regular visa $100 and it's good for 10 years or e-Tourist Visa $60 single entry up to 30 days only, stamped on arrival.
Food. My favorite places was Garden Cafe for breakfast, Nyingma Kitchen for dinner. Hotel Surya also serves excellent food, but it's slightly more expensive and crowded. Typical meal cost is around $3-$5. Make sure you try Ginger Lemon Honey tea and Masala chai. Because in the religion of Hinduism, cow is thought to be sacred animal there is no beef food, but you can order mutton or chicken. I also recommend to try Momo (dumplings) and Thukpa (soup) delicious Tibetan food. Expect 30-40 minutes delays if place is crowded.
|Flying main range in Bir, India|
|Main Bir LZ|
|Big Loop 1, looking east|
|Big Loop 2, looking east|
|Under the clouds|
|Ridge toward Prashar Lake|
|Landing out in a small village|
Camping at 360. It was a fun experience with 10+ pilots, tales around fire at night and waking up to see sunrise. The only challenge was to pack all camping gear and fly overloaded glider, I think I was at least 10 kg above max weight (105 kg total) and Mantra did not want to turn at all. Second time I managed to get less staff and at 102 kg it was much better.
|360 camp site|
|Unknown pilot descending on Beamer near Bir main LZ|
- Launch. Bir had an excellent launch in my opinion, but still some pilots had issues. Practice no wind launch.
- Flights. Mostly they are straightforward, but there was at least 2 mid air, few cloud suck. Make sure you have a compass, GPS can freeze or simply does not work in the clouds. Pay attention to cloud development and have a good margin for escape if it's going to OD.
- Landings. Don't stall your glider if you overshoot. Land as far from houses and villages as possible, since there are a lot of power lines. Practice top landing and spot landing at home site, it will be very useful in India.
- Carry tree rescue kit and practice how to use it. I think that at least basic mountaineering experience is mandatory for any serious XC pilot.
- Warm waterproof clothes, water and food for 2 days is mandatory, if you land on the tree or in the mountains don't try to hike out during the night.
- Have fun. If it's not fun anymore go to land.