Hampi From Air

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One of the attractions of the Hampi Festival was the Hot Air Balloon. It was available on festival days only and started at about 6am from the bus stand. I got to know about it a day before from a British lady who went the day before. She seemed on such a high after the flight that I decided to go for it. I reached the bus stand at 6am. You see the first of two balloons minutes after taking off.

In this piece we show you how the balloon is made big, view of Hampi and fields from the balloon and excitement amongst villagers when the balloon lands. The balloon is made big by pumping in air into them. There is a fan just behind the boy in red shirt who is in front of picture. This pic was taken before sun rise.

There is a LPG burner that is used to pump hot air into the balloon, u see the flame.

Whilst the fans were making the balloons big as you can see in the background I saw this smart man with a uniquely styled moustache. Like me there were many others who were attracted by the hot air balloon, he was one of them.

The balloon works on a simple premise that hot air rises. So once the fans make the balloon big hot air is pumped into them to make it stand up ie what you see.

Somehow I managed to sit right below the balloon and take this picture. Really colorful inside. I could not make the trip since the flight was full but tagged along with the support team and tracked the balloons till they landed.

This is the box in which people stand while flying. The man in the centre is co photographer Amit Pande who is making some notes before passengers are allowed on board the flight. The sun was yet to rise. You can see hot air being released into the balloon.

Passengers begin to board the flight. Alarge number of people had gathered to witness take off and say bon voyage.

Now both the balloons have taken off. What an experience!

Bottom is bus stand. The small lane in centre of picture is where u have number of good guesthouses notably Padma, Santosh and Ranjana. On right is Virupaksha Temple.

We are above Hemakuta Hill. On right you can see two gopurams of Virupaksha Temple.

Where the balloon goes is a function of wind direction. We are moving westwards over banana fields. Hot air being released into the balloon.

Very scenic. In January the area is so green imagine in the monsoons what the fields would look like. Above banana fields. Racing away.

You see Coracle boat. It is a circular shaped country boat used to cross the river. A huge floating basket would be a simpler word. About 6 feet in diameter. Coracles are made of bamboo, cane, plastic sheets and a fine coating of bitumen to make it leak proof. I spent about 30 minutes in it. Loved every minute of it.

A view of rice fields from the sky. Note the reflection of boulders in the water.

Another super breadthtaking view of rice fields. Thanks to the Tungabhadra river and a network of dams water seemed to be in abudance where ever I went in and around Hampi.

Farm house. How many of us city dwellers could have a house like this? Trees in front and rice fields behind.

Small windmill on top of the same house.

Reflection of hot air balloon on the fields. Was about 7.45 am when the pic was clicked. When the pilot wants to gain height he releases hot air into the balloon and vice versa.

One of the two balloons lands. Clicked this picture from a speeding car. Being part of the ground team had to be there in time for landing.

Soon after landing the balloon is surrounded by villagers.

The support team take charge. Villagers all around, great fun.

Within minutes the second balloon landed on the other side of the road.

The balloon has to be in the right position before everyone can get off. Support team pulling the balloon.

Love these skids. They insisted on being photographed. After I clicked they ran towards saying show us the picture. On seeing they said beautiful in chorus.

After every one got off air has to be released from the balloon. The next few pictures captures the different shape of the balloon till its falls flat.

Found the shape pretty interesting. Note the villagers watching avidly.

Coming closer to the ground.

Coming closer.

Here we go. Net net great experience. It is nice to see a city from the air esp when u are not so high up like in the hot air balloon.