A leisurely flight over the illuminated city would be one of the many pleasures on offer at the hot-air balloon festival that the government plans to organise in Patna this year.
“There would be at least three or four balloons at the festival in which people would be allowed to ride,” a tourism department official told The Telegraph on Thursday.
He added: “The other balloons — at least a dozen — would fly without any passengers. It would be a spectacular show.”
The department issued tenders inviting persons or operators interested to take part in the three-day festival on Tuesday. The event would be held in November or December.
The official added that the details of the festival were being finalised.
“All measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the passengers,” he added.
“Each balloon would carry four persons including the flight crew. After the interested hot-air balloon operators fulfil the formalities, the department will decide on the number of flights that will operate each day.
“We don’t want to take any risks. If the need arises, we might change or cancel the flights. People would be able to ride on hot-air balloons on all three days of the festival unless bad weather prevents flights.”
Visitors to the festival would also be able to learn the nitty-gritty of hot-air balloons and how they are operated from experts. Youths would be informed about how they can take it up as a career option.
“Experts will tell people about the history of hot-air balloons. They will also get to know about how one can join the profession,” the official said.
Hot-air balloons are the oldest, successful human-carrying aircraft. These can be manoeuvred in air, unlike other balloons that travel with the wind. The first recorded manned flight was on November 21, 1783, in Annonay, France.
Frenchmen Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes manned the flight.
Besides flying, Patna residents would be treated to other delights as well at the festival.
“There will also be an illuminated balloon show during the evening and regular performances of flying balloons during the day,” the tourism department official said.
Visitors to the event would also be able to witness an exhibition of balloons and equipment used to fly them.
Tourism minister Sunil Kumar “Pintu” on Thursday said the government would soon take steps to address the discontent of private parties operating water sports at Gandhi Ghat and Mahendru Ghat in Patna.
One of the operators, Royal Ganges Water Sports, had earlier claimed that it was facing problems because of lack of infrastructure.