Slacklining from the finest nose in Lonavala

If you are an ardent highliner, head to Duke’s Nose Point near Lonavala in October. And bring your own gear

Updated - September 20, 2019 10:11 am IST

Published - September 18, 2019 04:12 pm IST

Photo credit: Navin Torres

Photo credit: Navin Torres

If you are even vaguely familiar with the Western Ghats, you would know about Duke’s Nose Point. If not by name, then by the signature shape of its tip, which curves and drops sharply like a cobra’s head — or the Duke of Wellington’s nose, if the stories are to be believed — at a height of 800 metres.

The lush little spot, located about seven kilometres from Lonavala, is the final point of an equally picturesque, moss-green incline that forms one of the most popular trekking and hiking trails in that stretch of the mountains. Next month, however, Duke’s Nose will be attracting a different breed of thrill seekers — slackliners.

Well, highliners, to be precise. Mumbai-based Samar Farooqui, one of the founders of India’s first slacklining festival, along with his friend Navin Devnani Torres and Harshdeep Pawar, recently gave an open call to enthusiasts to bring over their lines and try out the location. Says Navin over a phone call from Pune, “The spot has picked up as a highlining destination in the past year or so.” This is not because of the monsoon-green surroundings, or even its intimidating height. It is because of the one measurement that matters even more than height in highlining: the length of the line. A taut, short line is considered an easy one: the lengthier it gets, the more it slackens and sways when you attempt to walk on it.

Therein lies the challenge, for a seasoned highliner. And what better length for a line than the distance between two cliff heads? The surroundings provide plenty of those, and naturally, many are excited. Participants will be driving over from different parts of the country, including from cities as far away as Bengaluru. “The longest highline I have crossed till date was 2,700 metres long,” says Samar by way of example. His feat had caused ripples among the country’s slacklining community about six months ago, with many claiming it to be the longest line in the country.

In Lonavala, the gathering call has been announced for two weeks, from October 1 to October 13. “People can come on days they have the time; Samar and I will be here, waiting for them,” says Navin, adding that they are expecting the most crowds around the first weekend of October, which will be an extended one. “On a good day, we should get about 20 people or so... most of them will be serious highliners who want to improve their skills, though of course anyone is free to join. As long as you are comfortable on a basic slackline, you should be fine.”

Having said that, however, Navin clarifies that equipment, including the mandatory safety harnesses, should be brought along by participants themselves. “We are not trying to make this into a formal event, with Lonavala as a highlining destination. Instead, it is an attempt to activate a community in different cities. So find yourself a crew, and bring them all along.”

For details, contact 9768976885.

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