Gangadham: A Hindu theme-park

I sense a conspiracy. My senses are often way off though so I will let you guys be the judge. First, Renu Kansal sends us the following tip from Variety.com (subscription required):

Outgoing Walt Disney chief exec Michael Eisner and his successor, Bob Iger, were stalking the Indian subcontinent this week in search of new business opportunities. The pair met both President APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday and Tuesday and held talks with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy and senior bureaucrats before traveling to Mumbai today.

Leaders of the world’s top media and entertainment groups are increasingly beating a path to the subcontinent as they recognize its huge potential as an emerging market with a population of 1.3 billion. Rupert Murdoch, in particular, is a frequent visitor.

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Did you get that so far? Michael Eisner of DISNEY was spotted in India on business. TODAY the BBC has this story (thanks to my brother for the tip), announcing the world’s FIRST Hindu theme-park (that we’d heard rumblings of before). Coincidence I ask you??

Its backers describe it as the “world’s biggest ever mythological theme park”. Hindu gods such as Ram, Hanuman and Krishna will be the central attractions for a ‘Disneyland on the Ganges’ in India.

The aim of the 25 acre park, called Gangadham, is to recreate great moments in Hindu mythology through hi-tech rides, an animated mythological museum, a “temple city”, food courts and a sound and light show.

The park is to be on the banks of the Ganges, in the north Indian pilgrimage town of Haridwar.

I bet you they will just take apart and old Dumbo ride from Disneyland, modify it to make it look like Ganesh, and then charge a fortune. Also I remember the California case not so long ago where Tigger was charged with, but acquitted of fondling a young girl. Can you IMAGINE if such scandal were to hit a Hindu theme park? Perish the thought. Of course Disney in reality has nothing to do with this but it’s fun to imagine what would happen if they did.

16 thoughts on “Gangadham: A Hindu theme-park

  1. That’s the most ridiculous thing I have heard. Is there a theme park where you can meet and greet people dressed up like Jesus and Moses and a water ride called Noah’s Ark ? Nope. Didn’t think so.

  2. that’s right and i think Jim and Tammy Baker had a big loop d’loop park also.

    i’d like to see these wild Buddhists, sad that Vietnam has locked them in a park–they should be free.

  3. wow. i take that back then. but i don’t know. i would feel kind of insulted to see the people and places that are sacred to me put into a theme park as if it isn’t real.

  4. Oh, come on, the next step in Indian globalization is Mickey Mousing the religion, which seems to be taking some absurd turns all by itself.

    If you really think about it, a lot of big temples in India are very close to being theme parks, with velvet ropes, long lines, preestablished routines, timed pujas, and food courts. Thirupathi and Benares, anyone?

  5. While I think it’s a bit on the silly side, I have been forced to acknowledge that some people can only stomach learning if it’s presented as entertainment (Sesame Street began this concept, but it has caught on, ie, Blue’s Clues, Ramayana series, Mahabharat series, etc.) It may turn out to be a good way for those who approach life as Cliff Notes to get their lessons in values in the same dose as a tilt-o-whirl and corn dog…

    I’d definitely take a day to see the Wild Buddhists. And Splendid China theme park, outside of Orlando was actually one of the most underappreciated treasures in the area… it’s not always bad. Dumbed down, perhaps, but not bad

  6. … some people can only stomach learning if it’s presented as entertainment… ie, Blue’s Clues, Ramayana series…

    And indeed, the founder of this park is the grandson of the guy who did The Ramayana on TV. So expect to see 52 badly copied episodes of their TV ads spoken in Olde Hindi and filmed in Chaste-o-Vision.

  7. I’m with Desidancer on the educational entertainment factor, thus the reason television news is as bad as it is. No, wait, that’s not the only reason…

    The Disney meeting with PM Singh is a follow-up to the company’s launch of two children’s programming channels in India late last year; Fox and Disney seem like too much peanut butter in the chocolate, but what do I know.

    By the way, anyone catch that odd aside regarding Alice Coltrane and her involvement in the theme-park project? Interesting, especially if she and John Coltrane were on same wavelength regarding spirituality.

  8. Well, I guess the TV serial wasn’t commercial or exploitative enough for the producers, there are ever greater heights of gaudiness to scale… I am sure it will be very enlightening for all the pilgrims who visit ;)

  9. Disney has approached us for land outside Delhi to build a theme park. The company is very upbeat about the project. Its top officials are lobbying hard to wangle a very, very big plot,” the Post quoted an unidentified official at India’s Urban Development Ministry as saying.

    just so long as they don’t mess with Appu Ghar… ;)

    Indian Sesame Street is going to introduce this, and every successive generation, to the concept of Edu-tainment. More kids with ADD and attention spans of 7 minute intervals… they’re going to need animatronic characters to give them their Ramayana lessons…

  10. Whatever happened to the Gangadham project anyway? I see the last info about it in search was around 2006. I guess it never happened?