Adlabs Imagica - The best place to be near Mumbai/Pune

One of the greatest joys is when you have grown up is to get an opportunity to become a carefree kid devoid of all the worldly worries even if for a short while. Such an opportunity was recently presented to me and other members of the family when we visited one of the latest and supposedly the best entertainment theme park of India - Adlabs Imagica.

It stands close to the small town of Khopoli off the heavily used Mumbai-Pune expressway. Follow the complete route here. Almost an hour's drive from outskirts of the financial capital of India, the park is a welcome surprise. It is the brain child of Mr. Manmohan Shetty, who's been associated with Bollywood for past forty years or so.

Build in a time of four years and at an estimated cost of 1650 INR Crores, this park tells a story in itself. The tag-line is - "Where stories come alive", and if you spend enough time there it stories do seem to come alive. When you are chilling at a plaza bench in Americana or walking a cobblestone pathway in Viva Euroupa, you'll live the stories through character interactions, pop-up entertainment and live shows.

There are amazing rides everywhere. A few of which deserve special mention here. As I crave for that adrenaline rush and intense action, 'Scream Machine' was my personal favorite amongst all the rides. It's like a huge swing going at angles beyond the 180 degrees sensible limit and doing more than upturning you! At the peak point, you're hanging in air at almost 150 feet above the ground. Breathtaking it is.

Another superb display of technical acumen combined with great story-telling was the ride called 'Mr. India- the Ride' wherein you are made to sit in a car then raised up a few feet with the help of hydraulics. Then according to the story, you're supposed to catch the evil Mogambo. The story is projected on the huge screen in front using digital projectors and your car responds to every motion of the car in the movie through motion simulation technology. In the movie being projected, the set-up and location is perfectly same as the Adlabs Imagica campus itself so when you step out of the hall, you are still visualizing the movie, various scenes and the stunts going on in front of you!

Another marvelous show at Imagica was 'I for India' in which your seats are made to hang in the air at three levels - 10, 20 and 30 feet and a movie showing the exotic sites of India are projected on the huge spherical screen in front of you using four digital projectors! The camera frame moves above the monuments and tourist spots around the country in such a way that you feel as if you're flying above them; the shots are taken using a helicopter.

What I've mentioned are just a few attractions you should not miss but the place is loaded with surprises and picturesque landscapes. You'll find the old wooden bars and the new-age deathly roller coaster, you'll find beautiful merry-go-round and also water rides which make your boat fall from a height at angles nearing 75 degrees! This place is a paradise for people who want to become a kid for one full day and yes, don't miss the rain-dance near entrance!

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