Fort-ified

Flying has been his passion and it's got him so involved that every weekend,Dilip Kotecha drives down to Pune's vicinity and paraglides back to town.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:February 19, 2009 3:30 am

On the occasion of Shiva Jayanti,city-based paraglider Dilip Kotecha flew over the legendary ruler’s forts in a record five-hour flight

Flying has been his passion and it’s got him so involved that every weekend,Dilip Kotecha drives down to Pune’s vicinity and paraglides back to town. “I have been flying since 1995 and have represented the country at the Paragliding World Championships in 2005,apart from participating in some international competitions,” says Kotecha.

This city-based real estate businessman recently flew from Panchgani to Pune,over the historic,majestic forts of Pandavgad,Raireshwar,Rajgad and Sinhagad. “I decided to try my luck even though the weather was not very conducive for flying that day. I took off at around 12.30 and by 1.30,I was over the imposing Pandavgad,which is shaped like a pyramid,with straight walls on top of the structure,” informs Kotecha.

Soon after,he made his way ahead in the foggy conditions and went on to fly over Raireshwar,Rajgad and Sinhagad. “Raireshwar is the place where Shivaji Maharaj took the oath of Hindavi Swaraj in 1645 at the age of 16. Offering my prayers to Goddess Bhavani and my childhood hero Shivaji Maharaj,I climbed on to a dark,star-shaped peak,with three triangular fingers jutting out of it – which was,of course,Rajgad,” he adds.

As Kotecha flew on,he homed onto a mountain with two antennas jutting out of it. “Unbelievingly,I stared into the distance to identify Sinhagad,my most beloved and powerful fort. It was a great experience flying over these amazing structures,constructed so many years ago and yet standing tall and imposing. I’m raring to make a go for it again,very soon,” avers Kotecha. “It was a great experience to have seen Shivaji Maharaj’s forts from such close range and a whole new angle. It made me feel prouder than ever of our glorious history and rich traditions,” he adds.

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