Taj Balloon Festival 2016 – RoadtoTaste Takes Off!
Tourism is being promoted in India at a rapid pace these days. Different parts of the country, read states, are promoting themselves based on the terrain, landscapes and cultural or spiritual values. Uttar Pradesh Tourism recently raised the curtains up for the ongoing Taj Balloon Festival at Agra from 25th to 30th Nov, 2016, in association with Sky Waltz.
The USP of the festival is the view of the majestic and iconic Taj Mahal from the sky. There are 15 hot air balloons participating in this festival with pilots from all around the globe including India. The Taj Balloon Festival was considered to be the first step towards creating Uttar Pradesh a world class ballooning site when it held for the first time here in Agra last year.
Friday evening started with a pleasant surprise, a phone call inviting us to take a ride at the Balloon Festival early next morning. Our excitement reached new heights when we heard that news and in no time we were found packing our bags for the sudden trip. We started from Ghaziabad around 3a.m. in the morning and reached Agra by quarter past 5. The balloon rides are taken from the PAC ground in Agra and it can be reached easily through Google Maps.
When we reached the destination we found that the huge spread of land was occupied by large, oversized balloons and a good number of people. We could sense the excitement in the air by the time we reached closer to these balloons. We could see the pilots and the ground staff preparing their rides, balloons being inflated, people clicking pictures and selfies, a totally charged up environment! This year there are three special shaped balloons featuring iconic characters Happy Egg, Bob the Lobster & Smurf, cute and adorable!
Soon we got the passes for the ride and next we were found listening to the instructions of the pilot about the dos and don’ts during the flight. It is very important to listen to the instructions carefully and follow them during landing to avoid any mishaps! Once done with the briefing it was time to take off. We jumped into the basket and were soon surrounded by 8 other co-passengers and a pilot.
The take off was very smooth and before we could realize, we had already left the ground and were moving up slowly. This was a very smooth experience as compared to a take-off by an airplane.
We gained height in less than 2 minutes and were cruising over the city smoothly. The view of the Taj Mahal from the sky was totally mesmerizing with the river Yamuna in the background. The cheering of the people especially children from the ground added to the experience of being in the air.
It was picturesque to see the sky painted with the more colorful balloons as we all took off almost at the same time. The experience of being in a hot air balloon was more calm and soothing as compared to what we experienced in paragliding previously this year.
The flight duration is approximately 30 minutes and depends upon the wind speed and weather. Soon we were asked to take the landing position as it was time to land.
The pilot looked for a safe and open ground for landing and we began our descent. The balloon landed with a thud sound as the basket hit the ground. We all were safe, happy and smiling after enjoying a memorable balloon ride. Definitely an experience of a lifetime!
Here are the glimpses of our experience from the Taj Balloon Festival :
Details about the festival are as given below:
Date: November 25 – 30, 2016
Pricing: INR 15000/Adult and INR 10000/Child (5 – 12 Yrs)
Timings: Balloon ride starts from 6am onward. There is Night Glow and tethered flights during the evening and the Night Glow is open to general public. The timings are 6:30pm onward.
You just have one more day to book your tickets from here!
Have you been to the Taj Balloon Festival? Do share your experiences with us!
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