Location: Pragati Maidan, Mathura Road, Delhi, India
Other Information: ‘Appu Ghar’ shut its operations in 2008
Appu Ghar was the oldest amusement park in India and was inaugurated on November 19, 1984. It operated successfully for over two decades since its inception, with some immensely popular rides, which were the latest during its prime. The park was spread over a sprawling 18 acres of land and included a water park in its periphery. It was one of the major attractions for the residents of Delhi and eventually became one of the most visited places in the city. A water park called ‘Oyster’ was inducted in 1998 and was a great place to escape the extreme summers of Delhi. In winters the water would be converted to ice allowing one to experience various based sports and activities like skiing. On the whole, as an amusement park, ‘Appu Ghar’ was a one-stop destination for people from all age groups. Unfortunately, the park had to be closed on February 17, 2008, owing to some land dispute with the government. Though ‘Appu Ghar’ had to shut down, its remarkable success inspired many entrepreneurs to establish other amusements parks in India. International Amusement Limited, (IAL), which conceptualized ‘Appu Ghar’, is successfully running its other amusement parks in other parts of India.
India’s First Amusement Park
Appu Ghar was named after an elephant called ‘Appu’, who won the hearts of many in the 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi. The word, ‘Ghar’, means house in Hindi and therefore, ‘Appu Ghar’ was suggested as the name for the theme park, which means home of ‘Appu’, the elephant.
- The Roller Coaster
- My Fair lady
- The Giant Wheel
- The Tower of Thrills
- Hi Waves
Apart from the dry rides, there existed a swimming pool. Later, the water park ‘Oyster’ was opened, which became a crowd puller, especially during the summers. With the arrival of winter, the water would be replaced by ice, indicating more fun, as people could participate in skiing, sledding and ice boating. A particular part of the theme park was dedicated to children, under the name, ‘The Disney Land’, which also used to be a paradise for children.
In 1999, ‘Appu Ghar’ faced major disputes over land issues, as the lease was not renewed. In the meantime, the Supreme Court of India required a part of the park’s land to build the Pragati Maidan Metro Station. On February 17, 2008, ‘Appu Ghar’ was finally shut, after the Supreme Court’s verdict to hand over the land to the government.
Before its closure, it was estimated that ‘Appu Ghar’ used to attract 1.4 million visitors on a yearly basis. This reasserts the fact that it was an important and among the best weekend destinations for the people of Delhi. The park used to operate throughout the week, from 1.30 PM to 9.30 PM. On Sundays, it would open a little early.
Even though the park remains closed, it is still alive in the memories of those who once visited this one-off amusement park. Its other counterparts are doing well in the capital and all over the country; however, Appu Ghar will be fondly remembered and known as India’s first amusement park.