In a society where “women can’t do this” is still a prevalent viewpoint, Shital Mahajan was determined to shift the paradigm…
Shital Mahajan was introduced to skydiving, in 2002, through her brother’s friend who was an Air Force officer. She learned the basics of the sport from him and being allured by skydiving she decided to pursue her passion abroad.
Have you gone mad?
When Shital informed her parents about her skydiving interest, she found no support what-so-ever. But Shital was determined to follow her new-found passion. She got over the “girls do not do such things” reactions by convincing (even blackmailing!) her parents.
In April 2004, she became the first woman ever to execute a dive from a height of 2400 feet above the North Pole, and she accomplished this feat without any prior training! Creating a world-record, she landed on a slope of ice in the bone-chilling temperature of minus 37 degrees Celsius. A couple of years later, Shital performed the sky-fall over Antarctica, South pole from 11,600 feet, in minus 38 degree Celsius becoming the youngest woman to jump over both the North and South Poles, and the first woman jumper to perform it without a trial.
In line with what she does best, in 2008, Shital got married in the skies! The marriage ceremony took place six hundred feet above the ground in a hot-air balloon near Pune. This extraordinary wedding has been recorded in the Limca Book of World Records.
Shital holds a whopping 6 world records and 17 national records in the sport of skydiving. She was bestowed with India’s fourth highest civilian award – Padma Shri in 2011.
In the same year, Shital Mahajan founded the Phoenix Skydiving Academy in Pune. With her academy, Shital aims to professionally train skydiving enthusiasts within India who were earlier forced to travel abroad due to lack of professional training facilities in India. The academy is now active in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh
Thus far, the 36-year-old Shital Mahajan has completed over 700 (yes 700!) jumps covering all 7 continents. She set yet another record last month when she became the first Indian to skydive donning a traditional Maharashtrian Saree. She accomplished the jump from 13000 feet above the ground at Thailand’s Skydiving center in Pattaya.
Shital has now announced an “Indian Women Special” sky-diving and scuba-diving world record (s) attempt feat at Gold coast in Australia. Shital is leading a group of 100 Indian women, planning to achieve “Most Tandem Skydiving jumps performed in one day by a Group”.
Shital’s achievements are absolutely phenomenal. From following her passion to flouting social stereotypes to becoming a multi (world) record holder, Shital Mahajan is such inspiration for everyone, not just women. Follow dreams and live life to the fullest.