Jumpin Heights offers a super shot of adrenaline at India's highest bungee jumpLibza Mannan
Rahul Nigam, an ex-army officer, jumped on to the adventure sports bandwagon and set up Jumpin Heights, India’s first extreme adventure zone. If you’re an enthusiast, the bungee jump, Flying Fox and Giant Swing are sure to give you a super-high adrenaline rush
Rahul Nigam wants you to say yes to adventure. That’s why the former army officer set up Jumpin Heights, India’s first extreme adventure zone, in 2006. Bungee jumping, Giant Swing, Flying Fox – if you want an adrenaline rush, it’s easy-peasy in Rishikesh. The platform completed 50,000 jumps last month, a landmark record for adventure sports in India.
Rahul was keen to change the face of extreme adventure and set new standards in the country, which is why he decided to expose Indian youth to international-standard equipment and jump masters. His company – currently bootstrapped – is run by a group of ex-army personnel who focus on high discipline and safety standards so that adventure junkies can enjoy their day out.
So what can enthusiasts expect at the Jumpin Heights facility? Their bungee is currently India's highest, at a height of 83 metres (equivalent to a 22-storey building), and is sure to set every heart pumping. It is also India’s only fixed platform bungee and is performed from a professional cantilever unlike those in entertainment parks. The Flying Fox is Asia's longest and can be done by three people in tandem. The Giant Swing, India's highest at 83 metres, is an adventure that two people can set out on together.
But first, safety
The first and foremost concern that any adventure sport raises is safety.
Rishikesh witnesses an influx of tourists who come to try rafting and camping, but plenty of accidents have been reported. Raft flipping, flouting of rules, safety discrepancies and a rising number of illegal rafters are some of the main reasons, and end up taking the sport from adventurous to dangerous.
But there is a need to incorporate stricter safety norms, be it by the government or local rafting bodies to make Rishikesh a safer adventure zone.
For Jumpin Heights, uncompromising quality and safety have always been top priorities and the brand adheres to international standards. The firm has tied up with highly experienced and technically qualified jump masters from New Zealand; they designed the jump platforms and handle safety operations.
Imparting high level of training to the crew, high-quality equipment and procedures, numerous checks and counter checks, and thorough inspection schedules are among the initiatives the brand takes to stay true to its safety-first promise.
Colonel Manoj Kumar, Co-Founder and Executive Director, reveals that there have been no casualties at Jumpin Heights so far.
“We maintain high safety standards and that has been our priority from day one. We have a medical facility in case there is an emergency. We are also planning to operate an airlift service soon,” he says.
Bitten by the adventure sports bug, Amaan Aqeel, a Delhi resident and second generation entrepreneur, travelled to Rishikesh to try bungee jumping. He chose Jumpin Heights after hearing about it from a friend and seemed super-thrilled with his experience.
“I always wanted to try bungee jumping in India but was never impressed by the options here. When I came to know about Jumpin Heights, I thought it was worth trying. I feel so satisfied after my jump. It’s just amazing,” Amaan says.
The road ahead
The definition of tourism is changing rapidly and regular beach, mountain or touristy holidays are losing their charm. Youngsters especially enjoy spending their vacation days trying something new, be it surfing, skydiving, deep-sea diving, rock/mountain climbing or caving.
Sandler Research’s report, Global Adventure Tourism Market 2016-2020, states that the international adventure tourism market is likely to grow at a fast pace during 2016-2020, anticipating a CAGR of more than 46 per cent by 2020.
An increased preference for adventure over other tourism activities will be a key driver for market growth, the report says.
But though market growth is imminent in coming years, Jumpin Heights, a leading player in India’s adventure sports market, has no plans to rush things. The company is taking baby steps when it comes to expansion and is eyeing Goa as its next destination.
Col. Kumar highlights the fact that Jumpin Heights is not competing with local brands; it’s more in line with global bungee jumping platforms. International tourists and adventure enthusiasts who have tried “free falling” abroad often compare the brand with international firms.
The bootstrapped company has no plans to raise funds as of now and has set no targets for revenue growth.
Col. Kumar feels that setting targets would “distract the brand from giving jumpers a high-quality experience”, adding that Jumpin Heights is “unwilling to compromise on this core value”.
Adventure, as Amelia Earhart said, is worthwhile on its own. The Jumpin Heights team clearly agrees.