Indian Summer

Blending traditions and a need for plastic joy in amusement parks

India can fill with colours even its most remote outskirts. If the Holy Festival welcomes Spring with the brilliant colours of a thousands-years old tradition, the 120 amusement parks located all over the country represent today’s version of the rituals to celebrate life.
They’re always active, attracting the enthusiasm of all kind of people. After the first one opened in 1984 in Appu Ghar, near Delhi, Indian amusement industry boomed, following the growth of the Indian economy. According to the Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries, every year these parks are visited by 30 millions people, creating a USD 237 millions business. So, all of a sudden, the Naga snakes of the Hindu temples became twisted water rides, the purifying water of the Ganges river became crystal clear canals, elegant saris mixed with all kind of swimwear and tigers, elephants and rhinos plaster sculptures now pretend to be at their ease in the happy crowd.

These amusement parks are a clear symbol of a surreal, hedonistic, chaotic India, a country suspended between its traditions and a lust for West: the typical kitsch of parks’ style lives side by side with the elegance of the Mogul heritage, and visitors can play any Bollywood role they want for a moment of sparkling joy. Now investments are ready to really take off: with the promise of new jobs and an unsaid hunger for new plots of land to take advantage of, incomes could double as soon as 2020. Because joy is priceless.

( 2017 )