7 Sound and Light Shows in India

Sunset over Golconda
Images by Domnic Santiago / Getty Images

If you're a history buff or want to ignite your kids' imaginations, the many sound and light shows in India are entertaining ways to learn about the country's past. These days, they're rapidly growing in number and you'll find them taking place at monuments everywhere, particularly forts and palaces. These diverse shows will transport you back to some important moments in India's history.

01 of 07

Purana Qila, Delhi

Purana Qila, Delhi.
Bilal Randeree/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The high-tech sound and light show at south Delhi's underrated Purana Qila (Old Fort) is possibly the best such show in India. Introduced in early 2011 after much anticipation, it's called "Ishq-e-Dilli" (Romancing Delhi) and shows the history of Delhi through its 10 cities, starting from the 11th-century reign of Prithvi Raj Chauhan to the present day. It also traces Delhi's connection with the mythology of Mahabharata and Indraprastha. It uses cutting-edge projection and laser technology, including 3D in some parts. It's possible to watch the whole show on YouTube.

  • What Time: Daily except for Fridays. September to October: 7.00-8.00 p.m. (Hindi), 8.30-9.30 p.m. (English). November to January: 6.00-7.00 p.m. (Hindi), 7.30-8.30 p.m. (English). February to April: 7.00-8.00 p.m. (Hindi), 8.30-9.30 p.m. (English). May to August: 7.30-8.30 p.m. (Hindi), 9.00-10.00 p.m (English).
  • Where to Get Tickets: From the ticket booth at the Fort, up to an hour before the show starts.
02 of 07

Amber Fort, Jaipur

People walking around Amber Fort

TripSavvy / Alicia Erikson

The history of Amber Fort and Jaipur is showcased in this popular sound and light show, scripted by legendary Bollywood lyricist and filmmaker Gulzar. It takes place towards the bottom of the Fort, near Maota Lake. They make excellent use of special effects and acoustics, along with folk music and colorful lighting of various parts of the Fort, to bring to life the haunting commentary of historical tales and legends involving the 28 kings of the Kachhwaha dynasty.

  • What Time: Summer: 7.30 p.m (English), 8.30 p.m. (Hindi). Winter: 6.30 p.m. (English), 7.30 p.m. (Hindi).
  • Where to Get Tickets: From various locations including Amber Fort and Kesar Kyari, Jantar Mantar and Albert Hall.
03 of 07

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
Telangana Tourism.

Possibly the biggest sound and light show in India, this one at Golconda Fort near Hyderabad has seating space for 400 people. The long-running show has been around for decades and recounts the history of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, was previously criticized for being outdated and lackluster. However, it's been recently revamped with new lighting and technology.  Make sure you carry mosquito repellent as there are many lakes around that breed them.

  • What Time: Daily in English at 6.30 p.m. from November to February, and 7 p.m. from March to October. In Telugu on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.45 p.m. from November to February, and 8.15 p.m. from March to October. In Hindi on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 7.45 p.m. from November to February, and 8.15 p.m. from March to October.
  • Where to Get Tickets: From the ticket counter at the fort, from 5.30 p.m. 
04 of 07

Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Dinodia Photo/Getty Images

Seaside Somnath Temple is one of the 12 jyotirlinga (shrines of Lord Shiva, where he's worshiped as a linga of light) in India. It's a large and stunningly beautiful temple that's been featured in actor Amitabh Bacchan's Gujarat promotional campaign. The laser-based sound and light show, "Jay Somnath", follows the temple's evening aarti and is held in English. It narrates the importance and history of the temple, including its desecration, resurrection, ransacking by Islamic invaders, and final reconstruction after India's independence. The way the temple is lit up is quite spectacular and coupled with the rush of the ocean, the show gives it an ethereal feel. There's a video of the show on YouTube.

  • What Time: 8.00-9.00 p.m.
  • Where to Get Tickets: From the ticket booth at the temple.
Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

City Palace, Udaipur

Udaipur City Palace sound and light show.
Saad Akhtar/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The sound and light show at the magnificent City Palace in Udaipur is  Indias first to be privately produced rather than by the government. Titled "Yash ki Dharohar" (Legacy of Honor), the script was written by Pandit Narendra Mishra, the official court-poet of the House of Mewar. Spanning 1,500 years, it traces a journey through the fascinating history of the Mewar dynasty over a one hour show. The 12 episodes recreate the devotion of the dynasty's founding father Bapa Rawal, the glory of Rani Padmini and Chittorgarh Fort and the sacrifice of Panna Dhai, before moving to present the establishment of Udaipur in the 16th century. 

  • What Time: Hindi: 8.00-9.00 p.m. (May to August). English: 7.00-8.00 p.m. (September to March), 7.30-8.30 p.m. (April).
  • Where to Get Tickets: From the ticket booth at the City Palace.
06 of 07

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata.
Shirish Mulmuley/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

If you're interested in the history of Kolkata, you'll want to attend the sound and light show that's held on the grounds of Victoria Memorial. Titled "Pride & Glory - The Story of Calcutta", it details the 300 year Raj era from the arrival of the British in Kolkata to the day of Independence.

  • What Time: October to February: 6.15-7.00 p.m. (Bengali), 7.15 8.00 p.m. (English). March to June: 6.45-7.30 p.m. (Bengali), 7.45-8.30 p.m. (English). It not held Mondays, national holidays, on the Holi festival, and July to September.
  • Where to Get Tickets: From the ticket booth at the East Gate, opposite Saint Paul's Cathedral.
07 of 07

Red Fort, Delhi

Diwa e Khas at Red Fort.
Ramesh Lalwani/Getty Images.

Old Delhi's famous Red Fort (Lal Qila) was the first place in Asia to have a sound and light show. The India Tourism Development Corporation started one there in 1965. It's since been upgraded, with the current show having commenced in 1996. Another upgrade is being planned. While it currently may not have the special effects of some sound and light shows in India (lighting is only used to highlight buildings), its narration is quite good -- and hey, it is the Red Fort, after all! The story reenacts Delhi's tumultuous 5,000-year history, with particular emphasis on the Mughal era during which the Fort was built by Emperor Shah Jahan. The whole show can be watched on YouTube.

  • What Time: Daily except​ for Mondays. The times are the same as for the sound and light show at Purana Qila.
  • Where to Get Tickets: From the ticket booth at the Fort, up to an hour before the show starts.