Man’s wish to fly ever since he saw the bird and its freedom to go as per the wish, has not subsided even after so many flying options culminating in traveling in a rocket. For common men like you and I, apart from flying in a cage (airplanes), there are other adventure flying options that include Hot Air Balloon, paragliding, and hang gliding. These flying gears give us the feeling of flying like a bird in an open vehicle. In this blog post, I cover the places in India where hot air ballooning is offered and its related information such as:
- who operates balloon safaris in India
- how much does it cost for a hot air balloon ride
- the risk factors if any,
- when is the ideal time to go up for a ride in a hot-air balloon
I am not going into the details such as who invented air balloon, how it works etc. We don’t need such information to enjoy a short flight up on the air in a hot air balloon. After all, we don’t inquire how a locomotive works before boarding a train-right?
The trivia I am going to share is the ballooning is 200 years old.
The Tamil Nadu International Balloon festival
- Pollachi, Tamilnadu
The Tamil Nadu Department of Tourism, in collaboration with Global Media Box, an adventure sports company is conducting the fourth International Balloon Festival on Pollachi from January 10 to 16, 2018. The balloons will sport the pictures some of the hot tourist spots in Tamilnadu such as Mamallapuram and Valluvar Kottam to promote tourism in the state.
I read a couple of corporate sponsors (Infosys and HCL) have come forward to donate their own balloons just for this event.
10 places in India where you can go on a Hot Air Balloon Safari.
The balloon rides are conducted near the Aravalli mountain range. The riders on the balloon will enjoy spectacular views of the Aravalli hills, Jaigarh Fort, Amer Fort, Jal Mahal lake, and the Nahargarh Fort.
Pushkar in Rajasthan is a religious town for the Hindus. Moreover, the Thar desert surrounds this town. Hot air balloon riders will actually fly over the Thar desert. During the Pushkar Camel Fair, free tethered flights are offered to all who are not afraid of even tethered flights.
Lonavala is a popular hill station in the Western Ghats, midway between Pune and Mumbai. The hilly terrain plus the ideal ballooning conditions make this an excellent location for ballooning safari.
Arakku Valley is located in Vishakapatnam, Andra Pradesh. It is an upcoming tourist destination in India and the State Government is implanting several attractions to attract people from all over India.
It staged the third International Balloon Festival from November 14 to November 19, 2017 in which hot air balloon from countries that include USA, Uk, Japan, Switzerland, and Malaysia participated. The sky became very beautiful with so many colored hot air balloon.
More upcoming balloon safari cities in India:
Hampi, Karnataka-fly over the ruins of the ancient Vijayanagar Kingdom and the lovely Thungabadhra River.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh-view the majestic Ganga River from high above.
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Where you can get balloon rides in India
Since hot air ballooning ride is in the infant stage in India, there are only a handful of balloon safari organizers who have the license to operate commercial balloon flights in India. Each balloon safari tour operator offers from one or more cities where hot air balloon are either flown or tethered.
What are all the countries where hot air balloon rides are famous?
Turkey leads the lot followed by Australia, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and France.
Are there any risks in balloon ride?
No. Since the hot air balloon flies along with the wind, there is no real speed. Unlike a plane, it doesn’t crash-land but descends gently when the balloon is filled with cool air.
When is the best time to go up in the hot-air balloon?
If the wind condition is favorable, the balloon safaris start early in the morning (5.30 to 6.00 am). If the weather is too hot or if it rains, balloon safari is not possible.
What is the maximum height a commercial hot air balloon goes up?
Depending on the weight of the riders and on the size of the balloon, they go up to a maximum of 2000 feet.
How long can a hot-air balloon stay up?
It again depends on the number of passengers and their weight. If four passengers including the pilot board the balloon, they can stay afloat for about 60 minutes only. I think it is more than enough to enjoy the flying like a bird in an open mode.
How much does it cost for a balloon ride?
Ah, I have reserved the most important question to the last. The price for an hour or so ride in a balloon in India varies with balloon safari organizers. However, the range will be from Rs. 10,000-13,000 per person.
Since not all those who are interested in climbing up on board a balloon are fearless to fly, tethered flights are offered to them for Rs.1400 plus. You can stay up above the ground for about for a maximum of 10 minutes in an inflated balloon that will stay tied up to the ground.
I wish all the major cities in every state of India promote hot air balloon safaris.