The amusing history of Bungee Jumping
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An extreme form of sport that is relatively safe, bungee jumping has a brief, surprising history.
It has its roots in Pentecost Island in the Southern Pacific region. The old legend had a female victim of marital abuse jumping off a large tree with her feet tied to the vines, escaping the fall. The abusive husband who jumped after her died after hitting the ground.
The legend of Pentecost gave birth to the ritual of naghol, or land diving, where men jump off a wooden tower to pray for a bountiful yam harvest, and to prove their manhood.
The world got to know about this in a BBC Documentary in 1950.
Bungee Jumping was a stunt carried by David Kirke, the first bungee jumper, who jumped off the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol along with two other friends who were all members of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club.
Even after being arrested and fined, they repeated the stunt on various other bridges, cranes and hot air balloons, making bungee jumping famous.
New Zealander AJ Hackett, the first mainstream bungee jumper, was jumping off bridges and even the Eiffel Tower in 1986, later opening the first commercial bungee jumping site in New Zealand, and is responsible for making this extreme sport popular across the world.
Captain Rahul Nigam introduced serious bungee jumping in Rishikesh, India, where he set up ‘Jumpin Heights’ a site where participants jumped 83 meters into the holy river Ganga.
He enlisted top experts from New Zealand to ensure safety.
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