India Has Human-Powered Ferris Wheels

Mark Mancini
Karthik Janakiraman, youtube
Karthik Janakiraman, youtube / Karthik Janakiraman, youtube

The ferris wheels most westerners know and love are motor-powered contraptions. But some of their Indian counterparts utilize a slightly different source of momentum, as this eye-popping video reveals:

Reliable electricity is almost impossible to come by throughout much of India. And just two years ago, a mammoth blackout devastated the subcontinent, leaving more than 700 million people in darkness. So when an amusement park ride can claim to rely on nothing but physics and good, old fashioned elbow grease, it’s an attractive selling point.

Squads of acrobatic daredevils are hired to get these things moving. How, you ask? Their routine generally goes something like this: Individual cars are loaded with passengers as some ground-level employees rotate the wheel by pushing it forward. Then, a few team members begin scaling the rafters and using their body weight to accelerate it. Some of the luckier individuals remain below, shoving cars and maintaining momentum.

These human-powered ferris wheels are popular attractions in many Asian countries. They also come in a variety of sizes, including a few models that are several stories high.