The city of Agra, home to some of India’s most magnificent heritage sites, including the monument of immortal love – the Taj Mahal, last week saw new colours filling up its skies. A three-day hot air balloon festival added to the attraction of the city and lent a new perspective to these magnificent cultural treasures.
Organised by India’s first and biggest commercial hot air balloon company, Sky Waltz, in association with the Uttar Pradesh government, the first-edition of the Taj Balloon Festival kicked off last weekend. “This festival is not just to sell tickets and make a huge profit, but it is mainly aimed at giving this ancient city a new perspective,” Samit Garg, founder-director of Sky Waltz, told IANS here.
“Agra is known all over the world for its many splendid Mughal-era buildings. We aspire to give tourists a different view of these structures and also to give a further boost to the city’s booming tourism,” he said.
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The balloons took off from the ghats of the Yamuna river early in the morning and maintained an altitude of at least 1,000 metres. However, the participants were somewhat disappointed as the Taj Mahal and the other monuments were barely visible shrouded in thick early morning haze.
“I was so excited that I would get an aerial view of the Taj and the other buildings, but after waking up so early and with so much anticipation, all I could see was a silhouette which also disappeared in few minutes,” a tourist from New Delhi said.
“Stagnant water pools, dilapidated buildings and filth were the only things I could see from up there,” a tourist who did not want to be named, said. Getting a higher perspective may not always yield great experience.
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