Lovely Hyderabad is blessed with a large water body right in the heart of the city. The water is limpid and delicious, thanks to a strict policy that forbids the dumping of domestic and industrial waste in Hussain Sagar
. On most days, hordes of lucky Hyderabadis are to be found frolicking happily with their families in this Boon of Nature.
Mother Nature did indeed carry out her job according to specifications, but Progress and Modernity made sure that if you fall into it, you will die of poisoning before you drown. In historical circles, it is strongly suspected that Coleridge was actually referring to Hussain Sagar when he jotted down the "water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink" line.
Jalavihar cashes in on this salient feature of the adjacent lake, and one look at the pellucid waters in the pools and rides, and you'll realize that a substantial chunk of all those entry and rental fees must be going into a heavy duty purification and filtration system.
Jalavihar has all the trappings of your standard water-based theme park. Biggish, multicolored, plastic octopi rear up from the center of the park, and have several chutes and slides emanating from them, all ending in water.
There's a spankingly clear wave pool, for the oceanic effect. Interestingly, the pool is surrounded by statuettes of bare-breasted mermaids. But before some of you abandon your terminal and beat down the gates of Jalavihar, it is our bounden duty to reveal that strategically placed locks of hair make sure that morality and law and order are maintained.
If you and your colleagues/buddies have had it with each other and want to let off some steam, you can engaged in the proven therapeutic practice of "killing" each other with Paintball (9885251000, 64510000, 64530000, www.crossfirepaintball.in for details).
There is a food court, and those ghastly rabbit-shaped trash bins (inspired by Donnie Darko) scattered all over the park if you want to carry your snack around. If you are child with 1980s sensibilities like some of us, there is a host of merry-go-rounds and other good ol' centrifugal-force-based rides as diversion.
The attached Party Zone (9908822588) and Entertainment Park (9908822688) are available for corporate and other events and banquets. Full time lifeguards on duty, video games, trampoline, bumping cars and oodles of parking right outside the gate only add to the lure.
If you're reading this in winter or during the rains, the prospect of soaking for a few hours may seem like much. But wait till March rolls along, and you can start frying eggs on your car's bonnet. Then we'll see how long you can resist the temptation of at least checking out this watery Wonderland.
: Ocean Park