India's Newest Parks
India’s first spiritual theme park, Sai Teerth, opened last year in Shirdi, Maharashtra, the hometown of the revered Indian saint Sai Baba. Designed by Guardian Media and Entertainment for the Malpani Group, the park features four custom-built themed attractions: a 12-minute dark ride to the best pilgrimage sites in the country, a 5D movie recreating an epic story from the “Ramayana,” an IMAX-sized documentary, and a 10-minute animatronic show in which Sai Baba interacts with visitors and grants devotees’ wishes.
India’s largest indoor theme park—built inside an empty shopping mall outside New Delhi on the road to the Taj Mahal—Oh!Max offers diverse attractions, including great examples of how Indian attractions continue to integrate storytelling into their offerings. Inside an exact scaled replica of the Taj Mahal, a holographic show and 6D movie present the love story behind the iconic mausoleum. In the “Unsinkable Titanic,” the captain’s ghost guides visitors on a 12,000-foot walk-through of the ship. Other attractions include a ghost house modeled on the tombs of Tutankhamen, a dinosaur exhibit, chocolate factory, adventure ropes course, and family entertainment center (FEC) staples like a trampoline park and a giant ball pit for young children.
Sitting atop a mountain, a huge talking tree that tells the story of town’s creation is the signature attraction at this recently opened amusement park in western India. A public-private partnership between the Gujarat government and Cube Construction Engineering, this US$30 million park currently features more than 40 rides and attractions, including many purchased from Europe and elsewhere in Asia. A village based on the popular animated character Chhota Bheem will be opening soon, the first time that this Indian character is appearing in a theme park. A 150-acre safari park is also in the pipeline.
Magic Mountain and Wet ’n Joy
The Malpani Group—a conglomerate that sells consumer products, builds skyscrapers, and invests in solar and wind power—has quadrupled its attractions industry presence over the past three years. In addition to Sai Teerth, the company launched a water park in 2016 and its first amusement park three months ago. These complement another Wet ’n Joy water park in Shirdi that opened in 2007. All four attractions are located in Maharashtra state, which has an estimated population of more than 114 million. Magic Mountain has more than 30 rides, including several appearing in India for the first time, as well as five themed restaurants spread over 30 acres. International ride vendors that have supplied attractions include Huss, Moser’s Rides, WhiteWater, and Zamperla.