Temples in the Clouds (2009)
Temples in the Clouds is a story of a challenging paragliding safari by Sir James Mallinson and Enrico Patuzzi in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. Both these friends, one from the UK and the other from Italy, are lovers of India and are fascinated by Hindu Mythology. The Dhauladhar range of mountains within the foothills of the Himalayas, are home to many centers of Mother Goddess worship situated in different temples. One such ancient temple is the temple of the Goddess Himani Chamunda Devi situated at a height of 2500 meters and requiring a full days climb to reach it from the bottom of the Kangra valley.
Jim Mallinson and Chicco Patuzzi share two passions: paragliding and the religious culture of India. Together they combine them both in an aerial pilgrimage to the ancient temple of Himani Chamunda, the presiding goddess of the Kangra Valley. Perchedat 2,800 m on a rocky spur, all previous pilgrims have had to make an arduous trek to reach the temple. Jim and Chicco try to fly there, but the goddess isn’t easily conquered. Their skills, endurance, faith and commitment are tested to the limit. One moment they’re climbing to cloud base, the next culturally immersed in an adventure that encounters nomadic shepherds, yogis, lamas, policemen, priests and Griffin Vultures en-route to Himani Chamunda. Jim and Chicco are uniquely qualified for their mission: Jim, a Sanskrit scholar by profession, is both a fluent Hindi speaker and a British team pilot, Chicco, a paragliding instructor, is one of the world’s foremost acrobatic pilots. Both have spent years living and traveling in India. The film has stunning aerial shots of the pair flying across the Himalayas and engaging footage of the various characters they meet in the high mountains.
Temples in the Clouds is an unusual and candid film of two friends on a personal journey through the greatest mountains in the world. Jim says, “It’s a kind of pilgrimage by paraglider in the mountains around Bir in the Indian Himalaya. Our goal is to reach the temple of Himani Chamunda, at 2800m the highest temple in the region. The film is about the adventures we have along the way. There’s Hindu yogis,Tibetan lamas, Himalayan Griffin Vultures, remote temples galore, lots of in-flight footage and plenty of tomfoolery”.