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Below is a repost from the original WSJ.com India Realtime blog.
“It was our vision to create an entertainment theme park of international standards in India,” says Manmohan Shetty, the chairman of Adlabs Entertainment Lt. Despite Walt Disney Co. DIS -0.27%’s reluctance so far to open an amusement park in India, Mr. Shetty says the country’s growing middle class is now ready for it.
Top attractions at the theme park, which is located between Mumbai and the city of Pune, include a ride inspired by the Bollywood movie “Mr. India.” In this ride, visitors are taken through a park, where they are confronted by Mogambo, the film’s villain.
A haunted house becomes a haunted “kila,” or fort, in a ride called “The Curse of Salimgarh,” named after a Mughal-era fort in Delhi that was converted into a prison under Emperor Aurangzeb. This ride is set to open later this month.
Another attraction, the “Wrath of Gods,” incorporates high-end technology with Indian mythological characters. An archaeologist guides visitors through a hidden door that opens onto a room with three gigantic idols of Indian gods blowing water, fire and air.
One ride, is inspired by “Ali Baba Aur Challis Chorr,” (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves), an Arabic tale that is also very popular in India. This ride involves aiming at thieves with laser guns.
The park is tailored to Indian tastes in another way: If they want, they don’t have to walk. Instead, a shuttle takes visitors between rides. Keeping in mind soaring temperatures and monsoon rains, there are plenty of indoor attractions, too.
The park also boasts of India’s largest roller coaster, which opens in May, a vertical drop, a crazy swinging ride, and the country’s first complete dome theatre.
There are now 16 rides open to the public, and five more will open by the end of April.
But we weren’t impressed with all the rides. For instance, we found there was little going for “I for India,” a movie shot from a helicopter that you watch on seats suspended from the ceiling. The film felt like fast-forwarded footage of Indian monuments and festivals.
Adlabs Imagica will have five restaurants, including an American diner, a Mexican joint and a restaurant where food is served on a mini-rollercoaster.
Keeping in mind India’s V.I.P.s, there is a special “Imagica Express” ticket that for 2200 rupees (1900 rupees for children) allows visitors to skip queues.
Built with an initial investment of 16 billion rupees (around $290 million) and spread over 110 acres, the theme park is built and run by Adlabs Entertainment Ltd., in collaboration with U.S.-based companies Attraction International, Contour Entertainment and Sally Corporation.
The park hopes to attract around three million visitors in its first year.
It has its own power station, water treatment plant, a sewage treatment plant, and even a small dam to ensure steady water supply in the drought-struck state of Maharashtra.
A hotel is set to open in the grounds of the park by the end of December. An adjacent water park is set to open by mid-2014.
The company also plans to open a new park in the city of Hyderabad by early 2015.
While Adlabs Imagica is India’s largest theme park, it’s not the country’s first. Others include “Wonderla,” near Bangalore and near Kochi, and Essel World near Mumbai.
Follow India Real Time on Twitter @indiarealtime.