By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM

Pokhara has always been eulogized for its mesmerizing beauty. Besides its majestic mountains and snow-clad Himalaya, Pokhara also offers a wide range of adventure sports. Power gliding and paragliding have already become much popular among tourists. Early in the morning, colorful powergliders and paragliders soar over the Fewa Lake and Sarangkot.

Adventure lovers have one more reason to cheer about as one more thrill will be added to the list of adventure tourism—hot air ballooning! Visitors can now experience wonderful flights high above the Pokhara Valley in hot air balloons that rise above the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Lamjung ranges, leaving its passengers mesmerized. Professor Wolfgang Nairz, the man behind the ballooning concept in Pokhara, is an alpine consultant.

“Ballooning is one hundred percent safe and secure because even if the burner goes out of order, the balloons descend slowly,” said Nairz, speaking at a program. He added, “Balloons are made from Ri-stop nylon. The material is treated with polyurethane to stop porosity and to enclose hot air.”

In the recent past, Tara Ballooning and Yeti Airlines had jointly organized a five-day demonstration flight of hot air balloons in Pokhara. Their sole purpose was to introduce hot air ballooning as the most exciting form of airborne adventure. Thirty certified pilots completed test flights with success, amid a wild crowd.

“Hot air ballooning is more exciting because balloons can reach heights that power glider and paraglide can’t,” explained Graham Saunders, a British adventure consultant and photographer. “Hence, regardless of cloudy weathers, one can get still get a beautiful view of the Himalaya.”

Hot air balloons are capable of ascending to a maximum height of 10,000ft.However, only highly trained pilots can fly hot air balloons with ease and an international license is required to fly one.

“Flying a hot air balloon is not about accelerating the throttle and injecting hot air; one needs to go through two years of intensive training course to obtain a professional license,” Saunders informed.

The most suitable takeoff and landing spots for hot air balloons in Pokhara can be Pame, Begnas Lake, and the nearby International Mountain Museum in Tatapaira.

“These are venues from where we can lift off and land at the same time,” put in Saunders. “To make flights safe, all the electronic equipment of the balloons will be directly controlled by the air control tower of Pokhara Airport, and all flights will be fully monitored.” A support team on the ground also follows the balloon in a retrieval vehicle. They are in constant radio contact with the balloon pilot. Hot air balloon flights will be available in the morning because the weather is ideal for ballooning at that time.

Daman Pradhan, executive officer of Yeti Airlines, announced, “The commercial flights of hot ballooning will attract even more adventure loving tourists to Pokhara. Ballooning in Pokhara is quite an adventure and it is, without a doubt, an experience of a lifetime.

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1 Comment

  1. Nishan Thapa, Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal Reply

    This is a good idea to include hot balloon but the sky over Pokhara has already become much crowed. Can hot ballooning be safe anymore?

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