What is Bungee Jumping
Bungee jumping involves leaping from a height connected to a large elastic rope (or cord), which is tied to the feet – or, more specifically, the ankles. This is as adrenaline- filled an activity as any dreamt up by man. And one that both young and old have delighted in, and thrilled in, over the last quarter-century or so. Bungee jumps usually take place from tall buildings, bridges or cranes – but they’ve also been attempted from moving objects (helicopters and hot-air balloons, for example). As the jumper free-falls from a height, the cord stretches; as the cord rebounds, the momentum takes the jumper upwards. This up-and-down trampoline-like movement continues until the elastic cord loses all its energy. Hurtling down from heights may seem terrifying but bungee jumping is a safe activity with a very good overall safety record – most bungee operations around the world are run by trained and experienced professionals, using the best, and the most reliable, equipment, and with the most stringent safety procedures in place. All you need is plenty of nervous energy – too much of it, and you might just back out!
History of Bungee Jumping
The extreme-adventure activity of bungee jumping began in the Antipodes, in the Pacific islands. It is thought to be linked to ‘land diving’, an old manhood ritual – as a test of their bravery, young men from Pentecost Island (Vanuatu) would jump off tall wooden stands with just vine leaves bound to their ankles (the length of the vine was calculated so that the young fellow’s hair touched the ground just as the elasticity reached its limit). Though bungee jumps had been attempted before (in Bristol, England, from the city’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge; and in the USA, from the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco) by daredevil types, the first commercial jumps took place in the second half of the 1980s, in New Zealand, a country that’s often considered the Mecca of modern extreme sport. Indeed, Queenstown, in the South Island, is the venue of the world’s first commercial bungee operation, started by A.J. Hackett. It wouldn’t be off the mark to call Hackett, a New Zealander, the father of bungee jumping – or at least the modern avatar of this adventure activity. He attempted his first jump from Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland, in 1986. Hackett would go on to attempt jumps from other bridges and tall structures (including the Eiffel Tower), his intrepid efforts going a long way in helping build a craze for the sport.
Bungee Jumping in India
Bungee jumping is relatively new in India, and there are only a handful of destinations that offer the activity. Rishikesh, in Uttarakhand, is the country’s first bungee site, and easily the best known. Jumps take place from a cantilever platform constructed on a rocky bluff looking out over a tributary of the River Ganges. And now, there are bungee facilities in Delhi and Bangalore – within the city limits – and on a beach in the north of Goa.
Know more about popular options for Bungee Jumping in India.
A bungee jump almost entirely consists of an elastic rope, which is actually a braided shock cord, tied to the ankle of the jumper. Most bungee cords are made from natural rubber (used due to its elasticity). Two types of harness are used for a bungee jump – a leg harness, which is joined to the cord, and a body harness (back-up for the ankle attachment, for safety purposes).
Best season in India
Throughout the year, but outside of the monsoons
Bungee Jumping sites in India
North – Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Delhi
South – Bangalore (Karnataka)
West – Anjuna Beach, North Goa (10km north of Calangute)
Depending on the height jumped, and also the difficulty of the jump, each bungee operation would have different minimum requirements. Usually, the minimum age is 12 to 14 years (there is no maximum age – as long as you’re fit and healthy!); the minimum weight is around 35kg, and the maximum around 110kg.
If you suffer from a heart condition, epilepsy, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a neurological disorder, or are pregnant, it is advised that you don’t attempt the jump.
When going bungee jumping, whether in the city or outside the city, remember the two golden rules – do not litter, and leave your immediate environment as you found it. If you see any non-biodegradable waste around you, please clean it up (carry it out with you). And desist from boasting about your daredevilry by defacing the rocks!