India is a land of heritage and landmarks and oh yes, you have heard this one before and visited these places too! The Red Fort, Mysore Palace, Agra Fort or Udaipur Palace, you grew up listening to the significance of India’s heritage landmarks and visited one or more of these sites, as part of study tours or family trips, before you crossed your teens. And you also have that photograph somewhere in your old albums – it shows a younger version of you standing in front of these unmistakable structures with family or friends, looking all tourist-like. How about visiting these sites once again, this time for some entertainment and spectacular visual effects? Yes, a light and sound show is what we have in mind!
A light and sound show is a totally immersive experience, adding an extra dimension to immense historical symbols. The best shows are the ones that celebrate the architecture and heritage of landmarks, coupled with great narration charting the brutality and beauty of old dynasties. As the cool evening air settles, it is time to learn some history in the most creative format. Here are some of India’s best light and sound shows, handpicked from the heritage landmarks from across the country.
Best Light and Sound Shows in Delhi
Purana Qila, Delhi
If you were to choose one light and sound show in Delhi, then it is best you head off to Purana Qila, one of the oldest forts in the Capital City of India. Dating back to the turbulent beginnings of the Mughal Dynasty, this massive rampart laden with architectural genius provides a great foundation for those who want to negotiate the mesmerizing maze that is Delhi’s history. It was here that Sher Shah Suri laid the beginnings of his legacy and it was also within the walls of the Purana Qila that the Mughal king Humayun fell to his death.
What better way than to enjoy these stories than a crisply produced light and sound show? Set against the grand structures, the visual spectacle touches topics like the wars, politics, and alliances that have shaped India’s capital. The show, which is aptly named Ishq-e-Dilli or Romancing Delhi, uses super-rad laser and projection technology to take you on a spectacular journey from the Mughal and colonial periods to contemporary times.
Hindi – 07:30 pm to 08.30 pm; closed on Fridays
English – 09.00 pm to 10.00 pm; closed on Fridays
Adults – ₹100 per person
Children (3 to 12 years) – ₹50 per person
Students, senior citizens, and differently abled people – ₹50 per person
Red Fort, Delhi
The Red Fort remains to this day a central part of Indian politics. It was the seat of the Mughal Empire before it fell apart to the guiles of British colonialism and its modern avatar is associated with rallying cries that define Indian democracy. Take time to explore the gates and palaces and witness the grand aesthetics that Shah Jahan was celebrated for. And in the evening, enjoy a different perspective of this UNESCO World Heritage Site at the light and sound show that is held here.
The show records the vast history of Delhi in a rather comprised and easy-to-register manner, including vignettes of the later Freedom Struggle that took place within these fortifications. The convenient Red Fort light and sound show timings allow for a bit of early evening wandering before you settle in for the illuminations and recitals. The Red Fort light and sound show online booking facility allows you to choose the best slot that can fit in with the rest of your Delhi itinerary.
Hindi – 07:30 pm to 08.30 pm; closed on Mondays
English – 09.00 pm to 10.00 pm; closed on Mondays
Adults – ₹60 per person (weekdays) and ₹80 per person (Saturdays, Sundays, and Government Holidays)
Children (3 to 12 years) – ₹20 per person (weekdays) and ₹30 per person (Saturdays, Sundays, and Government Holidays)
Special Note: The show is currently being suspended due to upgrades being made.
Best Light and Sound Shows in Rajasthan
Amber Fort, Jaipur
The pearl of Rajasthan amongst its many treasures, Amber Fort introduces visitors to the eye-catching luxuries of the old kingdoms and is a wonderful blend of creative art, history, and design. Located in the foothills of the Aravallis with the sparkling night lights of Jaipur behind, Amber Fort is a complex where one can see the most detailed and well-preserved examples of traditional Rajasthani architecture and planning.
Held in the evenings, the light and sound show brings together all these elements in one daring production. Major highlights of the show include folk music and narrations of defining events; all these with the mind-blowing palace and fort complex and the silhouettes of jagged hills as the backdrop. And guess what, the narration of the show is scripted by Gulzar and voiced by none other than Amitabh Bachchan!
October to February – 07:30 pm; every day
March to April – 08:00 pm; every day
May to September – 08:30 pm; every day
October to February – 06:30 pm; every day
March to April – 07:00 pm; every day
May to September – 07:30 pm; every day
Entry Fees: ₹250 + GST per person
City Palace, Udaipur
Udaipur, the city of lakes and palaces nestled in the rugged Aravallis, has always been an enigma. The City Palace here is arguably one of India’s most visited landmarks and every corner and cranny of the palace has a story to tell. From the detailed designs of the royal quarters to the arresting layout and architecture, this royal retreat offers a glimpse into the golden age of the Mewar dynasties.
Come evening, the palace complex is lit up and the celebration of its legacy is executed in an engaging light and sound show. The show will be a crash course to learn more about the Mewar history and royal lineage and how they shaped the identity and culture of Udaipur.
08:00 pm to 09:00 pm; every day from May to August
7:00 pm to 08:00 pm; every day from September to March
07:30 pm to 08:30 pm; every day in April
Adults – ₹250 per person (Hathnal Ki Chandani) and ₹150 per person (Manak Chowk)
Children (8-12 years) – ₹150 per person (Hathnal Ki Chandani) and ₹100 per person (Manak Chowk)
Adults – ₹500 per person (Hathnal Ki Chandani) and ₹200 per person Manak Chowk (English)
Children (8-12 years) – ₹200 per person (Hathnal Ki Chandani) and ₹100 per person (Manak Chowk)
* Hathnal Ki Chandani is first floor sitting and Manak Chowk is ground floor sitting.
Best Light and Sound Shows in Agra
Agra Fort, Agra
The Agra Fort, a collection of historically remarkable buildings such as Moti Masjid, Diwn-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas and Musamman Burj, is a great place to get lost. You can wander around its famous squares or explore the mosques and palaces built within the firm fortifications. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the erstwhile capital of the Mughal Empire until the mid-17th century. As the sun sets, you are advised to look for the best seat as the light and sound show starts taking you on a visual journey through its past.
The show presents major historical events in an entertaining package. You will be fascinated by the compendium of facts and art showcased during the narration, done in both Hindi and English. The old walled city provides the backdrop for a creative combination of visuals and music chronicling the beauty and richness of Agra.
Hindi – 30 minutes after sunset; every day
English – Immediately after the Hindi show; every day
Indian Citizens – ₹70 per person
Foreign Nationals – ₹200 per person
Students – ₹40 per person
Other Popular Light and Sound Shows in India
Besides these, there are many other shows that pull crowds from across the country. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the cultural hub of Kolkata or the beautiful gardens of Mysore, you will find spectacular light and sound shows to brighten your evenings. Here’s a list:
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
When you are in Kolkata, it’s hard not to visit the Victoria Memorial. This large marble building with a history of about 100 years was originally built in honor of Queen Victoria and currently, it serves as a museum and popular tourist destination in the city. This cultural hub of Eastern India balances the colonial vestiges with a thriving cosmopolitan identity, held together by the distinctive characteristics of Bengali culture.
The Son et Lumiere at this symbolic landmark will allow you to delve into the many layers of British India’s first capital. As with all great shows, backdrop plays a big part – in this case, it would be the rich blend of European, Islamic and Mughal designs. The show is titled Pride and Glory – the Story of Calcutta and takes you through the city’s pride and erstwhile glories.
October to February – 06.15 pm to 07.00 pm
March to June – 06.45 pm to 07.30 pm
October to February – 07.15 pm to 08.00 pm
March to June – 07.45 pm to 08.30 pm
Note: No shows on Mondays, National Holidays and between July and September.
Bengali Show – ₹10 per person
English Show – ₹20 per person
Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
Only the stone fortifications of the old citadel remain, but Golconda is firmly etched in the culture of Hyderabad and the adjoining areas. The exquisite minarets and old tombs are some of the highlights of this landmark.
A showpiece attraction at the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad is the evening light and sound show. Get entertained by this bouquet of illumination and aural rhythm accentuated by the immense ramparts that provide a unique backdrop. Learn about the different kings and generals who are integral to the identity of these Deccan dynasties and how this fort was the nerve center of war and politics for generations.
March to October
First Show – 07:00 pm
Second Show – 08:15 PM
November to February
First Show – 06:30 pm
Second Show – 07:45 PM
Note: First shows are in English. Second shows alternate between Telugu (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and Hindi (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday).
Adults – ₹140 per person (Executive Class) and ₹110 per person (Normal Class)
Children – ₹80 per person (Executive Class) and ₹60 per person (Normal Class)
Brindavan Gardens, Mysore
Located about 20 km from the regal structures of Mysore is a sprawling, verdant indulgence that we know as the Brindavan Gardens. Located adjacent to a dam, the gazebos and topiaries of this landmark attract visitors from all over the world.
The musical fountain and lights of the Brindavan Gardens make an evening visit even more special. It may not have a historical context like most other shows in India, but this celebrated garden is the best place for a night of charming entertainment in great weather.
Lightings – 07:00 pm to 08:00 pm on weekdays; 06:30 pm to 08:30 pm on weekends
Musical Fountain – 06:30 pm to 07:30 pm on weekdays; 06:30 pm to 08:30 pm on weekends
Adults – ₹15 per person
Children (5 to 15 years) – ₹5 per person
Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The temples of India are full of lights and sounds, but a light and sound show is not something you usually get to see in such worship places. And that makes Jay Somnath, the laser-based light and sound show of Somnath Temple, Gujarat a league of its own. Every day after the evening aarti, this famous Shiva temple hosts the show in English, narrating the history and significance of the shrine. The amazing ocean-view setting and the visual effects make this show a must-watch for devotees and tourists alike.
Timings: 08:00 pm to 09:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee: ₹25 per person
Mysore Palace, Mysore
Mysore Palace is an exercise in opulence, a structure that showcases the best of world’s architectural styles and decor. Apart from the long history and art that is found here, it is also a stage for some interactive entertainment.
The light and sound show at the Mysore Palace is a narration of the city’s legends and history. It begins with the story of how Goddess Chamundi slew the demon Mahishasura, giving Mysore its name and origin. The creatively arranged visuals and acoustics chart the rise of the Wadiyars, the patron royals of the city to this date. The show also touches upon the connection that Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the warrior kings, share with the city.
07.00 pm – 07.40 pm; closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Indian Citizens – ₹40 per person
Children – ₹20 per person
Students – ₹10 per person
Foreign Nationals – ₹200 per person
Light and sound shows are timeless, painstakingly crafted and rewarding experiences. They bring history back to life and allow you to take a step back in time. So next time you are traveling to the celebrated sites of Indian heritage, look up this list and prepare to be awestruck by these distinctive and creative renditions of history.