Bollywood Parks Dubai closes: Four other Indian-themed UAE attractions to visit

From a Bollywood exhibit at Louvre Abu Dhabi to Indian delights at Global Village

Bollywood Parks Dubai has closed its doors. Photo: Dubai Parks and Resorts
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Bollywood Parks Dubai theme park, part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, has taken its final bow.

Famed for its record-breaking swing ride, which was the tallest in the world, the park announced on Thursday that it had permanently closed its doors after seven years in the UAE.

Since its launch event in 2016, attended by Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, the park has been a platform for fans to celebrate the Hindi film and music industry. Its closure leaves a Bollywood-sized gap in the UAE’s entertainment options.

For thrill-seeking visitors, there are plenty of other theme parks across the emirates, including the world's fastest single-car spinning coaster at Motiongate Dubai, and the world's fastest rollercoaster and first sideways drop rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. But no other attraction can compare to Bollywood Parks Dubai when it comes to capturing the captivating world of the Hindi film industry.

For those lamenting the closure of Bollywood Parks Dubai, here are a few other places in the UAE worth visiting.

The Indian Pavilion at Global Village

Dubai’s Global Village is on until April 30 with 32 pavilions from around the world, and one of the biggest at the popular outdoor attraction is the Indian Pavilion — a great place to go for a taste of all things from the country.

Set just beyond the Global Village canal, visitors can walk through a replica of Gateway of India into a world filled with Indian scents, sounds and sights. Palace-style architecture, colourful neon lights, replica rickshaws and a host of Indian handicrafts await. There are also regular live events, including the India Show, which highlights the diversity of the country’s culture through onstage music and dance performances.

Visitors can go home with a haul of goodies — with items such as pashmina shawls to Kolhapuri Chappals (slippers) on offer. There is also an endless array of food from across the South Asian nation, including casual dining at newcomer Khaojee by Michelin-lauded chef Rohit Ghai.

Bollywood magic at Louvre Abu Dhabi

In the UAE capital, Louvre Abu Dhabi is currently hosting a special exhibition that takes a look at the world of Indian storytelling.

Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema is on show at Louvre Abu Dhabi, running until June 4. Organised in partnership with Musee du quai Branly — Jacques Chirac and France Museums, the exhibition is curated thoughtfully, with the aim of not only entertaining, but also educating and inspiring Bollywood aficionados or novices to the genre.

Including extracts from more than 40 films and 80 artworks, it investigates the diverse origins of Indian cinema. Viewers can see photographs, textiles, graphic arts, costumes and more detailing the history of Indian from its beginnings in the late 19th century to the present day. There are also a wide range of loans on display, highlighting early storyteller’s props, shadow puppets, photography, Mughal armours, daggers, mythological and religious lithographs.

Divided into three different sections full of works from the ornamental to the interactive, each space is connected through vibrant colours and a mix of art, artefacts and film and is a fascinating look at the world of Indian cinema.

Dubai's Rajmahal theatre

While Bollywood Parks Dubai has closed permanently, one part of the popular theme park is set to make its return.

Boasting all the grandeur of ancient Indian cinema, the opulent Rajmahal Theatre will continue to host private events, according to park authorities.

The reopening date for the landmark structure, which was inspired by the royal palaces of India, has not yet been announced, but the striking venue is regularly used for film screenings, live shows, private weddings and other corporate events.

It also holds a special place in the hearts of many Bollywood fans in the UAE as it has hosted big names from Indian cinema including Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Huma Qureshi.

Ali Bhai Bollywood-themed restaurant

Visitors who want to truly feast on all things Bollywood can book a table at Ali Bhai restaurant in Dubai.

Inspired by Indian cinema, the Emirati-run restaurant in Nad Al Hammar pays homage to the Hindi film industry. From brick walls adorned with posters of Indian classics such as Dewaar and Mughal-e-Azam, to a flashing Sholay sign, Ali Bhai’s interior is a nostalgic ode to Indian cinema’s glory days.

The tables are hand-painted in ethnic patterns, poster-filled walls take inspiration from Mumbai’s ubiquitous local trains and movie paraphernalia from the early 1970s surrounds diners. For those who have grown up on Bollywood movies, a visit to Ali Bhai’s is like taking a step back in time.

And when it comes to what to eat, there's no shortage of choice, Ali Bhai’s menu currently lists more than 60 dishes, including a section called “Bhai ka tandoor” (after Salman Khan’s nickname) plus chaat and other street food, Indo-Chinese cuisine and traditional Indian sweetmeats for dessert.

Updated: April 21, 2023, 12:00 PM