23rd India International Hot Air Balloon Mela inaugurated

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New Delhi, Nov 17(UNI) The annual adventure of hot air ballooning -- the 23rd India International Hot Air Balloon Mela -- was inaugurated by former Goa Governor Bhanu Prakash Singh, here today.

Talking to UNI, Ballooning Club of India Honorary Secretary Vishwa Bandhu Gupta said four teams, including Switzerland, France, Canada and India, were participating in the 13-day event.

He said, ''The event has over the years evoked great enthusiasm among all age groups. This is a novel and unique event with a high visibility as the balloons float gently up in the blue sky.'' ''The majestic view of colourful hot air balloons draws people from their homes and workplaces. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most,'' he added.

''For the first time a balloon made in India is participating in the event. The balloon has been made in Gurgaon at a cost of Rs 11 lakh,'' he informed.

A special on-the-spot painting was also organised at the venue in which children between the age group of 4-17 years participated.

A participant from Switzerland, Peter Blaser(62), said,'' It is my fourth visit to India. I have been coming here since 1993. I normally come along with my wife, but this time she could not make it due to some reasons.'' ''I like flying in a balloon over India. It gives me immense pleasure when I see places like Agra, Jaipur, Ajmer and Pushkar from above while flying. It really amazes me when I see that so many different cultures coexist peacefully in one single country. India is a great country and I would like to give a message to the people of this nation to keep the country as great as it is and not change it in terms of harmony and peace,'' he said.

UNI

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