Pushkar Balloon Festival
Rajasthan in winter is a magical place, and to experience it in a hot air balloon is something else. If you are craving for such an experience, the Pushkar Hot Air Balloon Festival is the place to be. The festival happens on the same days as the Pushkar Camel Fair, and this year it has been going on from October 28 to November 4, 2017. ALSO READ: Pushkar Fair 2017 is Underway and it is Awesome as Always! Also Read - Thrashing of Dalits: Rahul Calls it ‘Horrific,’ Rajasthan Govt Says ‘Nobody Will be Spared’
The festival, like the fair, is scheduled based on the lunar calendar. By the time the balloon festival begins, most of the camel trading and activities are over, and it is usually festivities happening around the fair grounds. The hot air balloon ride gives you a new perspective of Pushkar and the Ajmer region. There is a sense of quiet exhilaration for the entire duration of the ride, and you’ll see dunes and fair camps and tents, Pushkar lake, temples and a number of holy sites. Also Read - Rajasthan Municipal Election 2019 Updates: Congress Wins 961 Seats, BJP Bags 737 Wards
Hot air balloon timings
The hot air balloon tours are conducted by fully licensed operators. There are usually two flights scheduled everyday during the festival. One is at 5am and the other is at 4:30pm. Flying after sunrise is probably the best time, because that’s when the wind is still and weather conditions are more in control. Plus, with the morning flight, you’ll get to catch the beautiful sunrise over Ajmer. Also Read - Top 5 Temples to Explore in Pushkar
Duration and other details of the balloon rides
Balloon rides during the Pushkar Balloon Festival take around 3 hours, though the actual duration also depends on the weather conditions at the time. Temperature and wind force can impact how long or far a hot air balloon can go safely. Depending on the topography and the weather at the time of the flight, a hot air balloon will fly at around 1,2000 feet. Weather conditions are nearly perfect at this time of the year, but visitors will be informed if the weather does not permit a balloon ride at the scheduled time.
Hot air balloons over Pushkar
Passenger limit and restrictions on hot air balloon rides
A hot air balloon ride will typically allow 4-8 people. You’ll have to stand and watch the view, since there’s generally no sitting arrangement inside. That means that children over the age of 5 and more than 1.5 meters tall can get in. Pregnant women are not allowed, and you need to be able to stand for at least an hour without any problems.
Other places to see around Pushkar during the festival
The Pushkar Fair also goes on during the Balloon Festival, and can keep you entertained between the balloon rides. With exciting events, competitions and exhibitions underway, there’s a lot to explore at the fair. There are luxury camps where you can stay at the fair grounds, stunning music performances and adventure activities like horse riding and quad biking. And if you want to see and explore more of Pushkar during your time, here are some places to consider. CHECK OUT: 9 facts about the Pushkar International Balloon Festival that you didnt know
Savitri Lake and the namesake temple are located at Ratnagiri Hills and make for a great spot to catch the sunrise and sunset. There’s a ropeway that takes you to the top in six minutes, but we recommend trekking it up the hill. It is an hour away by foot, though the uphill climb is a little steep at places.
The view of Pushkar from a hot air balloon
Anasagar Lake lies at the center of Pushkar and is a good setting for an evening outing. You can take the boat along the lake, explore the nearby Daulat Bagh, a Mughal garden built by the emperor Jahangir, and snack on some quick food along the lake.
For a bit of history, you can head to the Taragarh Fort, built in 1345 by the Chauhan kings. This is, in fact, one of the oldest hill forts to survive to this day, and its Mughal-inspired design still awes visitors. The fort, however, is around a two-hour trek from the base of the hill. NOW READ: Do you know why Pushkar has a Brahma temple?
Getting to Pushkar
Planning on getting to Pushkar? The nearest airport is Jaipur’s Sanganer Airport, around 146 km away. You can hire private cabs from the airport directly to reach Pushkar. By train, the closest station is Pushkar Terminus, which is connected to Ajmer Railway Station around 11 km away. Ajmer station is well-connected to India’s major cities. By road, Pushkar is connected to all of Rajasthan’s national highways. There are plenty of buses that connect the town to other major cities in the state, like Ajmer, Jodhpur and Jaipur.