Rise above Jaipur’s historic bustle in a colourful hot air balloon, gaining a new perspective on the majestic landscape laid out below. Float over gnarled forts, regal palaces and rural villages. Ditch any idea of a plan or agenda and just drift where the wind, and your experienced pilot, take you.
Rajasthan is land of intricate details, from its elaborately-carved palaces to the heaps of intriguing produce in its markets, which can make it difficult to step back, slow down and take it all in. One of our favourite ways to do just that, whilst adding a little adventure into the bargain, is to rise above the palaces, houses, countryside and mountains surrounding Jaipur in a hot air balloon.
Morning is always a magical time in Asia, but we won’t lie: you’ll need to get up very early for this one! Meet the flight team who will be whisking you away at the day's take-off location, where you’ll be welcomed with drinks, and perhaps a cheeky slice of cake, as you watch the surprisingly huge and gratifyingly colourful balloons being prepared - a thrill in itself.
After a reassuring greeting and safety briefing from your pilot, you’ll clamber aboard. The burners start to roar, the balloon lurches, and it's time to hold on to your stomach. As the first amber rays of the sun start to rise over the surrounding landscape, so do you… On a clear day with favourable winds you might bob close to the gleaming edifice of the Amber Fort, fly out over a patchwork of well-tended fields and flat-roofed houses, or cruise the rolling hills surrounding the stately Samode Palace.
Peer over the edge of the basket to take in the full scale of the landscape as it awakens before your eyes. Urban and rural, historic and modern, cultivated and wild, drab and colourful. This is about having time and headspace to contemplate the contrasts of India. As you eventually descend to a quiet landing spot, don’t forget to take a breath and savour a long, last look at the spectacular Rajasthan landscape below, before coming back to earth with a gentle bump.
Whilst this might be a little more adventurous than your average day of exploring, it really is a trip for everyone, unless heights really aren’t your thing. Aside from the very young, it's a special experience for all ages, and if you happen to be celebrating anything it could add an extra flourish to your time in India.