My day began with the sound of my alarm going off at 3:50 am. Today I would travel out of the city and into the wild terrain of Jaipur to view India from above, in other words, I’ll be going up in a hot air balloon…in India as the sun rises. A sentence I never thought I’d be typing, it seems too crazy to comprehend that this is the way I started my day.
We turned off the beaten track onto a dirt road that led to a vast open space, where I caught my first glimpse of the balloons that would be carrying us up into the sky. They were breathtakingly giant and suddenly I felt nerves hit me. Seeking comfort in the Masala Chai and ginger biscuits provided, we watched as they grew in size until they were finally standing tall.
Climbing into the basket was a less graceful sight to behold, but once in, it was an odd feeling. I went weak at the knees and a voice in my head said ‘If this ‘thin-looking-floor-made-of-what-looks-like-straw-and-a-wooden-board’ of the basket was to give way…’ But as we drifted up higher, the silence and stillness set me into a trance of complete serenity which I have never experienced before. All the nerves and scary thoughts quickly evaporated, as I just stood in the tiny basket in complete awe.
We flew over Jaipur’s farmland and watched as the day started for the colourfully dressed inhabitants below. I can’t believe this is India, it’s a side not many people witness but a side people need to take note of. Sunrise was stunning as it flooded the land with a deep wash of golden orange, replacing the early morning haze with a warmth that signalled it was going to be another hot Indian summers day.
The beauty of a hot air balloon ride is that the destination is never certain. Every flight takes a different path and ends in a different location. It’s the only form of transportation that is a sheer mystery every time, a bit like India itself. Crashing to the floor with a thump indicating that we had officially ended our hot air balloon ride. Landing in a field just a few miles of where we started our journey, attracted many locals. They swarmed and the crowd was multiplying by the second. Is this how it feels to be famous? Hundreds of pairs of eyes staring at you, waving and smiling? It was an odd sensation and one I don’t think I would want 24/7.
Speaking to the pilot, who has flown in so many amazing places, left me wondering why I never thought to train as a hot air balloon pilot before now?
Skywaltz charges around £200 for their balloon safari excursion, which lasts up to 60 minutes at either sunrise or sunset. http://www.skywaltz.com
Hello, I’m Samantha. A twenty-two-year-old fashion communication and promotion graduate. An avid shopper, lover of interiors and good coffee addict.