A popular tourist attraction in Rishikesh for the last decade, the team is all set to thrill tourists at Lake Mayem in Goa too, come September.
At 83 metres, Jumpin Heights is India’s first and highest bungee jumping platform. Launched in Rishikesh in 2010 by ex-Indian Army Captain Rahul Nigam, it has been his endeavour to introduce youth and adventure enthusiasts to extreme adventure sports on a commercial scale. Run by a well-trained professional team of Jump Masters from New Zealand, the country which commercialised bungee jumping, and ex-Army men, it meets all the international safety standards.
Two years ago, Jumpin Heights also launched their second destination with a 55-metre bungee at Lake Mayem, Goa, in association with the Goa Tourism Development Corporation. But this had to shut after one season due to the pandemic. Now, the company is all set to restart its bungee operations in both Lake Mayem and Rishikesh from September 1, after the monsoon.
It was only after preparing a four-page safety protocol, including all preventive measures to be followed on the jump zone against COVID-19, that Jumpin Heights has received official permission to resume operations. The brand follows the Australian and New Zealand standards for safety regulations, and after a decade of operating over 1,00,000 jumps, are known to have redefined safety in India.
Apart from operating India’s highest bungee and the only one from a cantilever off a fixed platform, they also have other adventure sports such as India’s highest and most extreme Giant Swing, and Asia’s longest Flying Fox.
Behind the bungee
We spoke to 62-year-old ex-Army man Capt Rahul Nigam about his adventure venture. Excerpts from the interview…
What made you think of bringing the bungee to India, when you first started it in Rishikesh a decade ago?
Upon a visit to New Zealand, I found this whole realm of adventure sports that was untapped in India. Also, as Indians, we didn’t trust our own organisational safety and quality of experiences. While people would spend on such activities abroad, they were apprehensive of trying them in India, which was a shame because we have such stunning landscapes to be cherished and enjoyed through such experiences. I wanted to change that perception and bring an international experience to India, something our youth could be proud of.
What has been the clientele over the years?
We positioned the brand for our local Indians, and that’s how it has remained. Since we were the first fixed-platform bungee in India, we used to see so many travellers who had no idea what a bungee was, especially if they had never travelled abroad. Now people make advance bookings and plan their trips around the Jumpin Heights experience.
What are the specific safety precautions that you take for the bungee?
As an ex-Army man myself, safety and discipline is of utmost importance. Both our locations are run by ex-Army officers to ensure absolute discipline in our safety protocols. We follow Australia and New Zealand safety standards. While we had foreign Jump Masters for almost a decade, now our own staff is highly trained and at par with international Jump Masters, having operated over one lakh jumps. They have been trained extensively under experts from New Zealand. We are the only bungee facility in the country to be recognised by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India.
Could you describe the feeling that you experience when you’re in free fall and how does it feel later?
Since it never existed in India before Jumpin Heights, I first saw a bungee only upon a visit to New Zealand. I wanted our youth to have better exposure. My daughter has been the first jumper when we inaugurated our jump zones in Rishikesh as well as in Goa. She has done it about 15 times. The experience is as much about the rebound as it is about the freefall. It takes guts and is one of the most thrilling experiences one can have in a lifetime.
How does your set up compare to the others in India? Please tell us more about your team.
We are still the only fixed-platform bungee in India, with Rishikesh being the highest bungee platform of the country. In Goa, we are operating in association with Goa Tourism, and have tremendous support from them because of our impeccable safety standards. We now have a decade of experience over everyone else and have therefore been able to fine-tune our experience to be at par with global extreme sports facilities. We have also operated over one lakh jumps absolutely safely, making a record for adventure tourism in the country.
What made you choose Goa as the next stop for expanding your bungee business?
Goa is India’s favourite holiday destination. It has a very different landscape than Rishikesh, and we wanted to create a Jumpin Heights experience around it. We have been tremendously supported by the Goa Tourism Development Corp.
Is the bungee experience very different in Goa compared to Rishikesh?
Basis the difference in topography, Goa is of course a very different experience. We are located over the scenic Mayem Lake, in North Goa. The panoramic view of the lake, the salty air of Goa and an extreme adventure in the midst of it all is a unique experience.