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Imagica: Mumbai's gateway to a magical world
Tuesday July 15, 2014 12:58 PM, Quaid Najmi, IANS

The Haunted Castle of Salimgarh, Wrath of the Gods, Wild West, Deep Space, Prince of the Dark Waters, Alibaba Aur Chalis Chor, Scream Machine, Gold Rush Express, Mr. India-The Ride and D2-Dare Drop - there are all these and more at Adlabs Imagica - arguably India's first and only world-class theme park some 90 km from Mumbai in Raigad district.

Some 15 months ago, at one shot, all of Maharashtra's top-notch amusement, glamour and tourism destinations took a back seat to these attractions with exciting names, and many more, coupled with top-class cuisine, entertainment and fun for all age groups. All these have now catapulted Adlabs Imagica to the Must Visit destination category of the state in such a short time.

"Yooooooey! Whooooaaaaa! Aaaaahhh!" are the screams of delirious joy that daily echo around the area, off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, where Imagica has come up over 110 acres with an investment of around Rs.1,600 crore ($266 million).

Last week, even the Imagica management let out shouts of joy as the One Millionth Visitor stepped inside the colourful, enchanting, magical world of entertainment.

"This is India's first and only international-standard Theme Park, spelling a world of infinite fun, excitement, entertainment, dining, shopping and incredible memories - all at one location," said a pleased Adlabs Imagica CEO Kapil Bagla.

According to Bagla, there is nothing of this huge scale in India and its immediate neighbourhood which has attracted over 15,000-plus visitors daily from all over India and even abroad, since it opened in April 2013.

"Imagica is not just rides and thrills but a whole world of fantastical themes never seen or experienced before by Indian families. No expense has been spared in bringing the best architectural elements, world-class international designers, exciting and novel attractions to rival any international in the world," Bagla told IANS.

All rides and attractions here are designed by experts who have worked in renowned international theme parks like Disneyland, Universal (both USA), Tokyo DisneySea (Japan) and Fantawild (China). At Imagica, the same international experience comes at a fraction of the cost.

A day's outing for a family of four would cost around Rs.6,000 depending on the package chosen.

Bagla explained that unlike other amusement parks - there are around 150 in India, mostly in the south and the west - which offer thrills or hair-raising experiences, Imagica launches the visitors to a magical world of joy and relaxation, making them briefly forget the real world - in a unique form of family outing.

There is something for every age group with new experiences at every step, 25 themed rides, non-stop live entertainment by over 100 artistes topped off with a Grand Imagica Parade, interspersed with five themed restaurants offering global cuisine, including one which serves Jain food!

A walk through the streets of Imagica takes visitors on many memorable journeys - Viva Europa, Arabia, Jambo Africa, Americana, India and Asiana.

"At every touch-point, you will be immersed in a new theme, themed attractions, area design, landscaping, dining and retail, ambient music, character design, building facades, props, interactive installations, and merchandise, which instill a feeling of escapism in the park. This 'escapism' is what makes Imagica different from all other parks in India, and at par with the best theme parks around the world," Bagla said.

Little wonder Imagica hosted in just one year over a million visitors from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Bangalore, Rajasthan, Punjab and West Bengal among others, including around 250,000 students from over 500 schools around the country.

It is also a hot favourite with corporates and social groups as their break-out destination with fabulous returns by way of word-of-mouth publicity.

After a hectic superhit first year, Adlabs Imagica is now expanding with a new attraction in August - Aquamagica, an international standard water park with unique rides and a promise of unprecedented experience among water parks in the country.

Adjacent to the venue is a new four-star hotel coming up which will be operational by the year-end with alluring packages to visit Imagica and Aquamagica, Bagla said.

"With this hotel, people will be able to enjoy a three-four day funfilled getaway holiday in this part of the world, in the lap of greenery but easily accessible by road, rail and air, with close proximity to the country's commercial capital," Bagla added.

In tune with its philosophy of growing with the community, Bagla said that since its inception, Imagica has provided 98 percent of jobs to local youths from villages and towns around the theme park in Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and Pune districts.

It has created over 2,000 jobs for the locals, including 40 percent freshers. Imagica has trained them as per their competencies/roles.

At the end of an exciting and tiring day, it's time to pick up some memories at the merchandise outlets - cuddly soft toys, funky t-shirts, coffee mugs, et al - to show off to friends and neighbours who have not yet "been there."

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