Our journey in Kashmir continues in this blog. After our experience of boat ride on Dal lake, here was a chance to go up in the sky!
When we arrived at the jetty, we saw this huge Helium balloon opposite the lake in Zabarwan park. Muzaffar, our driver told us that one can enter the balloon and it will take you up in the sky for a panoramic view of Dal lake and surroundings. We thought that it will be like travelling in a hot air balloon which would give us an opportunity see the landscape of Srinagar.
It was only when we came to ticket counter that we realised that it was a stationary balloon which goes up and comes down after few minutes in the sky. It wasn't the movable type. Nevertheless, we wanted to give a try and bought tickets.
|The balloon up in the sky|
A white big balloon - known as "Kashmir eye" locally - tied with a thick central rope and a number of colourful ropes from its sides that holds a big basket. This balloon is tied to a base through a strong cable and is pulled back with the help of a powerful winch. Cables beneath the balloon suspend the “basket” or capsule with a carrying capacity of 4 to 5 people. We had to wear a belt on our abdomen which is tied with the hooks on the sides of this basket. A red flag in the basket can be waved in case the balloon needs to be pulled down and an extra rope (rescue rope) which can be thrown down in case of emergencies like high wind. The Balloon is cable controlled by vigilant and trained staff. It goes up 100 to 120 meters where the balloon moves around the park with wind for a panoramic view of Dal Lake, Shankaracharya hill and downtown area.
The experience was not bad. The panoramic view of Dal lake and the hills was really good though we could not see mountains due to cloudy weather. Unfortunately, the tall poplar trees mar the visibility to some extent. Alternatively the balloon has to rise higher and above the height of these trees for better view.
|Lovely view of Dal lake from the sky!|
|The Mountains as backdrop of the park|
It may not be like a London eye or Singapore Flyer. It is not bad either. At Rs 500 a ticket, the cost of the ticket may look little steep. But it is good fun, especially if there are kids around.
Try it once when you go to Srinagar next.
If you want read more about our experiences in Kashmir, you may look at the following posts
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