Visakhapatnam

Balloon pilots fall in love with Araku

Neptuno, the sea horse, hot air balloon lit up during the night glow at NTR Grounds in Araku as part of the three-day Araku Balloon Festival.

Neptuno, the sea horse, hot air balloon lit up during the night glow at NTR Grounds in Araku as part of the three-day Araku Balloon Festival.   | Photo Credit: Nivedita Ganguly

A veil of fog enveloped the roads to Araku on Wednesday morning with the cool climate weaving its magical spell on travellers who headed in large numbers towards the valley on the second day of the Araku Balloon Festival.

The inclement weather, however, made it difficult for the balloon safari to be carried out even as scores of people arrived to get a glimpse of the spectacular view of the festival.

The wet spell may have disappointed many, but the beautiful climate brought out a melange of vibrant hues of the region wrapped in misty vapours.

The foreign pilots are equally floored by the beauty of Araku.

“The wind speed was high today, so the balloon safari could not take off. But we are enjoying the magnificent views of Araku. Every moment we get to see a new splendour. It’s one of the most beautiful locations for ballooning,” said Rick Astral, a balloon pilot from Chile.

Sukhbir S. Sekhon, a Malaysian pilot, who went up to one of the highest levels on the first day of the balloon festival, was overwhelmed by the “spectacular” green stretches of fields and hills.

“It was a sight to behold! We went across a small hill and it was quite a discovery. We hope the weather clears up on the last day of the festival so that we can explore the beauty of the place,” he said.

Many of the foreign team members and others visiting the valley for the first time took the opportunity to explore the tribal hamlets to get a peek into the ethnic culture of the region.

Meanwhile, the valley was bustling with a steady stream of visitors from the city. The evening night glow event at NTR Grounds saw a teeming crowd of people who thronged the venue to view the colourful huge balloons all lit-up.

A lucky few got a chance to go on balloons tethered to the ground while others got to view the grandness from close quarters.

Several people have made plans to head to the valley on the third day of the festival as well.

“I am going on Thursday. Having seen so many breathtaking pictures on the social media about the festival and the beautiful climate of Araku, I can’t hold myself back!” said Dipankar Saha, F&B manager of a hotel.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 3:48:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/balloon-pilots-fall-in-love-with-araku/article20462105.ece

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