Wanna go Hot Air Ballooning?
Man is rebellious by nature. He wants to defy gravity—fly, levitate, touch the sky. While parasailing and paragliding have already gained popularity in India, joining these high flyers is hot air ballooning.
28-year-old Anand Sukumar from Delhi took a hot air balloon flight two years ago, the occasion was special—he was proposing to his then girlfriend and now wife—but he insists that the experience itself is was very special. “We went for a morning flight at Manesar. The top view of the sunrise, feeling the air at that level and being surrounded by nature was all amazing. You feel really close to nature. Although you can do it alone for the kicks, it’s the kind of special thing you would really enjoy as a couple, with family or friends,” Sukumar says.
The experience is different from paragliding or parasailing, he explains, “In other rides there is a particular route to be taken and you may feel some tension if you’re flying alone. Whereas, in a hot air balloon ride you’re in the air for about 45 minutes, a crew of four to five accompanies you, the slow pace of the flight allows you to take in everything and you can move around in the basket to look out from the angle you wish.”
Although commercial hot air ballooning flights are not uncommon in Kenya, Turkey, Egypt, California, New Zealand, Australia, France and several other places around the world, the trend caught up India in 2008. Currently only two organizations in the country have Director General Civil Association (DGCA) licenses to conduct commercial flights and these flights don’t come cheap.
In India cost of ‘free flights’, in which the balloon is suspended in the air for 45-60 minutes to an altitude of 350-400 meters, ranges between Rs. 25000 to Rs. 30000 for a couple, or Rs.10000 per head for a group of more than five. A tethered flight, in which the balloon is tied to the ground and rises to about 200 meters, varies because it is organised for large groups and the time passengers want to spend in the air is a determiner too. But for every 10 minute ride you will pay in the range of Rs.1800-Rs.2400. The equipment and passengers are insured.
AGM of Sky Waltz, a licensed Hot Air Ballooning company, Gagan Kapoor says, “The main cost in hot air ballooning is gas and salaries to pilots who are professionals from UK, USA and India.”
Sky Waltz is based in Jaipur, they have been conducting flights on request in Pushkar during the festival, Jodhpur, Ranthambore, Neemrana and Manesar and Tiger India Safari, another licensed group usually does tethered flights in Pench, Madhya Pradesh, where it is based but can also conducts free flights or tethered flights at other locations on request.
43-year-old Ashish Gupta who went for a tethered flight shares his experience, “We got about 10 minutes in the air. It took time for the balloon to rise because we had to wait for the wind to become still, but what I wasn’t expecting was the blast of hot air which operators keep increasing and decreasing to go up or down. I don’t know whether better balloons are available but it must be difficult for those who spend days in them to travel around. ”
Would he have been better off without the experience?
“No it’s a new experience and I didn’t even think maybe I shouldn’t have done it. But I just didn’t expect the heat.”
26-year-old Udaibhan Singh, who also went for a tethered flight, faced the heat too, but that didn’t seem to bother him much. He says, “When the ride starts you have to bend down because operators blow heat to make the balloon rise. Once you’re up you don’t feel it, because there’s a lot of air. We had good guides and were briefed about everything in advance and overall the concept was great. I haven’t done other airborne adventure sports but I really loved being in the air and watching the expanse of the beautiful Pench Jungle, given a chance I would happily do it again.”
Choice of locations, which seem to have concentration in northern parts of the country, is not arbitrary. Kapoor says, “Indians who can spend will go for Hot Air Ballooning during their trips abroad. Therefore, we first set up this activity in Jaipur, which attracts a lot of foreign tourists and who will enjoy flying in its scenic background. They currently make for 80% of our clients. And it’s easier to do hot air ballooning in the north because this activity requires cold and stable weather.”
On the other hand Abhishek Agarwal of Tiger India Balloons says, “We manage to get a good number of local clients at our resort in Pench and about 10% of our total passengers are foreigners. “ Children below five and pregnant women are not allowed but there is no upper limit but for free flights. All that the passenger needs is the stamina to stand for an hour and the sense o f wonder to enjoy the view from the top.
Tiger Balloon Safaris
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Expert detoxification guide for brides-to-be
- Salman Khan thanks Aamir, Shah Rukh for 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' poster release
- 'Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya blaze'
- HC seeks ways to restrain songs promoting drugs and alcohol
- I don't consider myself a star: Priyanka Chopra
- Chrissy Teigen wants to adopt children
- Jason Statham likes to 'get drunk'
- Nicole Scherzinger adjusting to singledom
- 'San Andreas' built to entertain, not traumatise: Director
- Azealia Banks to star in 'Coco'
- Look cool in denim during summer
- Top 5 destination wedding spots in the country!
- Top 5 shopping destinations in Delhi!
- Make your hair holiday-ready
- Bling on smartly while travelling
- Top summer vacation spots in India
- Chandigarh's Coffee House remains crowd-puller despite competition
- Must-do in New York for spring season
- Visit the magnificent Kanheri caves in Mumbai
- Five fabulous things to do in Shimla
- Top 10 flavours of Asia
- Get set go with these enthralling adventure sports!
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- DNA: Sikh man in New Zealand removed his turban to help injured kid
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- DNA: AIIMS doctor removes both kidneys of minor, claims she had only one
- Growing medical negligence in Delhi's AIIMS
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- Mumbai Film City shoot-out: CCTV footage help police arrest assailants
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- UBSE Results 2015 (ubse.uk.gov.in): Uttarakhand 12th Result 2015 to be announced today at 11 AM
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- CBSE Class X Board Results 2015 to declared tomorrow
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- What couldn't be done in last 10 years, NDA govt did in one year: Smriti Irani in Amethi
- Check mahresult.nic.in for Maharashtra HSC Result 2015 to be announced at 1 pm on May 27