Araku – One of the finest places in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh – will soon witness a colourful canopy as the valley is set to host the state’s first Hot Air Balloon Festival. Titled “Araku Balloon Festival“, the fest will take place for three days – November 14 to November 16. It is an initiative of the State government organised in collaboration with the E-Factor and SkyWaltz at a cost of Rs 3 crore.
A total of seventeen countries will be participating in the festival, which is being organised by AP Tourism in association with Delhi-based E-Factor and Sky Walt. The prime idea of the fest is to make Araku one of the most sought after tourist places in South India. The event is set to provide a one-of-a-kind view of the valley never experienced before. Forty-two luxury tents are being set up at a one-acre area earmarked for the camping site. A team from Delhi recently visited Araku and finalised the event location at a camping site, two km from Bosubeda village. The team went on to say that the festival will be organised on par with international standards.
The non-ticketing festival will feature 15 balloons from various countries like the U.S., U.K., Switzerland,Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and others. Expert balloonists will be displaying their skills as the skyline of the green Araku Valley will be dotted with colours. Enthusiasts would get to witness balloons of different shapes and sizes adorn the sky. Three specially shaped balloons — Iwi, the kiwi from New Zealand, Neptuno, the sea horse from Brazil and Bee from Belgium — will be a part of the festival. The exhilarating balloon ride will start from the launch site at 7.30 a.m. on all three days and take the people on a 45-minute ride through the skies of Araku at a height of 500 feet to 2,000 feet. This apart every evening, 200 people can get to experience a five-seven minute sortie in balloons tethered to the ground, allowing them to float a few metres above the ground. The remaining balloons will be a part of the night glow event wherein they will be set up at sunset in the launch area with the propane burners ignited to keep the balloons inflated with hot air.
Preceding the Hot Air Balloon Festival, a mega musical event will be hosted on the shores of Visakhapatnam featuring several prominent music artistes. The festival titled ‘Sound on Sand’ will be organised at the R.K. Beach on November 10, 11 and 12. Usha Uthup, Benny Dayal, Baiju Dharmajan, Ameya Dabli, Mohammad Irfan, Revanth and Asees Kaur will be performing at the festival. If this turns out to be successful, the Hot Air Balloon Fest will be held annually and is likely to draw more tourists from across the country and globe to the region.
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