Special Correspondent

VELLORE: Yelagiri Hills, a hill resort also known as “poor man’s Ooty,” located 14 km from Ponneri on the foot of the hills on the Vaniyambadi-Tirupattur Road and situated midway between Chennai and Bangalore, hitherto had nothing much to offer to tourists except a boating facility. But today it has many attractions for tourists. The latest news is that the Yelagiri Hills has now been developed as a paragliding destination.

Vellore Collector Dharmendra Pratap Yadav told newspersons here on Tuesday that the Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association (YASA), which has been formed recently, to promote adventure sports such as trekking, biking, rock-climbing and paragliding, and the Yelagiri Paragliding Club (YPC), formed for the purpose of promoting paragliding, would be conducting the first international paragliding festival in south India at the Yelagiri Hills for three days from September 5. About 50 paragliding pilots from India and abroad would be participating in the festival.

The Collector, who is also the president of YASA, said that the Conservator of Forests, A.V. Venkatachalam, and Superintendent of Police N. Arivuselvam were the vice-presidents, and Arul Jothi Arasan, Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency, would be the secretary of the association.

Training

P.H. Gopal, social worker of Auroville, a member of YASA and YPC, and an expert paraglider who helped the Vellore district administration in the development of Yelagiri Hills as a paragliding destination, said that three paragliding take-off points had been developed in Yelagiri Hills since the wind blew in three different directions at different times in a year. About six to eight months of paragliding time would be available in a year. The YPC would facilitate individuals or professional organisations to set up paragliding training centres in Yelagiri Hills.

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