Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sound And Light Show - Red Fort

This weekend was heritage weekend as my Dad is in town. On Thursday and Friday, he went by himself to the usual tourist attractions - Red Fort, Humayuns Tomb, Qutub Minar and the likes. Since I was eager to join him, I suggested that we hit the Red Fort for the sound and light show. I did a dip check with my colleagues. They said that it had been a long time since they had seen it, however it was pretty good. I also called the number provided on the Delhi Tourism website and they told me the timings were 7 - 8 pm for the Hindi show and 8.30 - 9.30 pm for the English show (which was the one we went for).

First of all, I was surprised to know that it was fairly centrally located. If you are coming from CP, then you head to Barakhamba Road, go past the first rountana - gol chakkar, take a left at the first signal and go straight down. It is about 2-3 kilometers down that road. At Dhariyagung, the road becomes narrow and crowded and there is quite a bit of traffic. You will find two ould guard posts on the way, made of stones (like they have in fortresses). This means you are on the right track. The chaos continues till suddenly Red Fort looms on your right. Now the question comes - where do I find parking? I was hoping against hope that there would be parking outside the Red Fort for visitors with big signs pointing the way but no such luck. When I crossed the first signal after seeing the Red Fort, I suddenly spotted an MCD authorised parking on the left and swung in. There was plenty of space and I easily found a spot bit there was no attendant and not much lighting so I fear for the safety of car parked there. After all, Delhi is supposed to have the highest number of car thefts. The parking is about 5 minutes walk from the entry point so it was quite convenient.

On nearing the entry point, I was mighty impressed by the Red Fort. It looks long and massive and hulking in the night lights, just like a fort should be. I wouldn't have been surprised if some sentries in old armor stopped me with the cry 'Halt! Who goes there, friend or foe?'(just kidding, probably would have tucked tail and run away crying ghosts). Instead, there were quite a few armed soldiers on duty, looking very bored. The show is hosted in an open area which has the Moti Mahal on the left and the Diwan-I-Khas and three other buildings in front. The walk from the entry point to here is about 5 minutes and is a nice buildup to the show. The show started before time with how Shah Jahan built the Red Fort. Then it goes on to describe how it passed through the times into the hands of various rulers, the British and the freedom struggle. It is a dramatised version with lots of dialogues and songs and hence is a little short on the information. To sum up,

Setting - benches with backrest, pleasant at this time, some mosquitoes, no water or food is sold
Sound part - good quality, well enunciated, painfully loud at times
Light part - the buildings described above are lit up at various times, initially eye-catching but gets repetitive

Overall, my recommendation is that one should go for the show to see the Red Fort by night. Let your imagination run wild a bit when you are in. Don't expect too much of the show itself but you might enjoy the lighting effect of the buildings. Lastly, if you are able to make it early, do check out the Hindi show as I think the dialogues will have much better flow and impact. Do let me know how it turned out.

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