Up above the sky: Hot air balloon adventure at Varanasi ghat for Rs 300india Updated: Dec 25, 2017 22:48 IST
A hot air balloon over Assi Ghat in Varanasi. (Madan Mehrotra/HT Photo)
Now, get a scenic view of the iconic Kashi ghats via a hot air balloon adventure for as low as Rs 300.
The attraction, that began on Sunday, drew a large number of locals and tourists.
The UP tourism department in association with Tour Assistance India (TSI), a Varanasi based company, started the hot air balloon adventure to draw more tourists to the city famous for its Banarasi andaaz (carefree life style) and iconic ghats.
The facility from which the rides will take place, will be available till January 2, but if demand increases then it could be extended further.
TSI’s Sunil Sharma expressed happiness over the response to the facility. A booking counter has been set up at Assi ghat for immediate booking while the facility of advance booking is also available. For advance booking, a person will have to pay Rs 300 while tatkal booking will cost Rs 500. “After taking off, the hot air balloon goes up to 150 feet and will stay there for 10 minutes. But during trials, we are landing after five to nine minutes,” he said.
A maximum of five people can board the balloon at a time. Sharma said trained people operate the balloon. He also said they got the approval for the facility from Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
When asked whether the hot air balloon would travel over Kashi, he said, “As of now, we have permission for Assi ghat only. The hot air balloon takes off from Assi ghat and lands at the ghat,”he said.
Sankatmochan temple chief priest Prof Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, district magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra, senior superintendent of police RK Bhardwaj inaugurated the service in the presence of tourism department officials.
Assistant tourist officer Vikas Narayan said, “They (tourists) can now enjoy the scenic view of ghats in Kashi from the sky. It is a matter of joy that the initiative has got a wonderful response from tourists.”
Dheerendra Kumar, a tourist was happy with the initiative said, “This is a very good initiative. I enjoyed it. It is a mind blowing experience.”