Balloon Safari – Romancing the sky
I woke up at dawn and got ready for the safari of my life. Have you ever been part of the limitless azure sky with white puffs sailing around? Carried away with the wind to places unknown, unheard and untouched. The smell, the colour and the taste of fresh air exhilarates the dull mind. You are in this zen state from where you wouldn’t want to return.
Does it sound too much of a mystery? Well I was on my way to experience The Balloon Safari by Skywaltz. They have been in operation since January 2008 at Rajasthan ( Jaipur) and October 2013 in Maharashtra (Mumbai- Pune belt). Having read and heard a lot about this unusual safari in paper and radio I decided to experience it. We reached Talegaon (a town close to Pune) after which we were picked up by the Skywaltz team and brought to Kamshet. A small helium balloon would be released at around 4 a.m. daily to test the direction of the wind. Based on the wind direction the team would decide to take off from either Kamshet or Talegaon.
|Sky Waltz Balloon being filled with air|
|Balloon ready to take off at dawn|
Jerome a French pilot was to fly the balloon for the day. He and his crew were getting the balloon filled with air after having laid it down on a tarpaulin. The flight takes off before sunrise so that we can watch from the sky the huge ball of fire peep out and bask the land with warmth. After a cup of coffee and cookies we boarded the flight. This is one flight that has only window seats for all the passengers, so you have the whole expanse for your view. For the initial five minutes I found it a bit scary as the balloon started soaring to heights. But later all that mattered was the fresh air and the changing panoramic views every angle and every minute.
|Sunrise left me spellbound|
It was a rhapsody of colours, sceneries, vistas and vignettes of fields, hamlets and rivulets with the sun streaming out in the background. The sky was filled with a kaleidoscope of shades and every moment brought in a change in hue.
I noticed that few areas above the ground were covered with white fog and the visibility was almost zero. It was as if white pockets of fog floated around the vast terrain. On checking with Jerome I got to know it is the inversion process that has led to the formation of white puffs. Nature has it’s own way of beautifying the surroundings. It was perfect rolling hills, white puffs moving round and the sun streaming on the land.
The nine seater basket hovered over mountains, dams, rivers, lakes, streams and the Pune Mumbai Expressway. Kids on their way to school waved at us from the ground. Villagers were at work in the fields as we floated across. The cool morning breeze pushed the balloon far towards the Pavana river. At a steady speed of 25 km/ hr over 3000 feet above the ground it was as if you are one with the universe. Jerome would occasionally rotate the balloon to give a 360 degree view of various locations. After an hour’s flight Jerome made a perfect landing near the fields, close to a village road by the Pavana dam. The locals of the village rushed to check the massive balloon landing.
|A mirror like reflection at Pavana River|
|The Balloon being diffused|
I got off from the balloon and wondered on Nature’s beauty. I had romanced the hills and the sea but then finally I had got to romance the sky as well. Wouldn’t you want to?
Call +919822988800 to book your seat now. They do have pick up and drop facility from Pune and Mumbai as well. Visit www.skywaltz.com/ for further details. My flight was sponsored by Sky Waltz.