PURANA (OLD) Qila in NEW Delhi – an appropriate expression indeed, of what Delhi is all about – layers and sub layers of history emergent from eras bygone; saga of destructions and creations, of a new city built every time to be subsumed by a newer one.

OK, to start with, this grand light & sound show is about glorious heritage of Delhi, covering approxly last 5000 years of its existence.

The venue is Purana Qila, which is co-located with Delhi Zoo, next to Pragati Maidan. Metro Station is Pragati Maidan and Bus Stop is Zoo. Parking lot of the Zoo caters for visiting vehicles.

Tickets cost Rs 80/- (adult), Rs 40/- (children 3-12 years, students, senior citizens 60 or above, physically challenged). Sharmi offers a poor joke here when she says that I could have qualified for a concession if there was a category for ‘mentally challenged’.

They have 2 shows every day, Hindi followed by English. Show timings are (for April) 7pm to 8 pm (Hindi) and 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm (English). However, do confirm the timings beforehand, because they vary with season. Check this out on Delhi tourism tele 23315322 ( yes… the line works, the guy at its end picks up the phone and what’s more, he courteously responds to your queries). Extract of timing from a web-site reads thus:-

Also, keep in mind that Purana Qila is often host to various cultural programmes (hosted by GoI/ corporate entities). Naturally, on such occasions, this show will not be available.

In order to keep the readers’ appetite for the show intact, I refrain from revealing plot of the show. Rather, let’s dwell on its format and comparison with the previous show.

The current show format has been created during CW Games. It’s called Ishq-e-dilli (Son et Lumiere). High on technology, the show is described as ‘India’s first permanent projection art installation. It uses cutting edge projection and laser technology, including 3D in some parts’ (… whatever that means). The projections and impact are impressive.

Comparing with previous show format, first change is the location of show. Previously, seating was arranged on the central lawns, straight down the lane from the main gate. The current seating has been shifted farther to the end of the pathway on the eastern side.

Secondly, I guess that it may not be light & sound show in strict/conventional sense – meaning the show is projected on the same backdrop, so you watch the same spot through the show. In the previous format, the entire surrounding was used as backdrop – fatal fall of Humayun was indicated by focus on the real tower; Red fort was indicated by another light in a different direction, needing you to turn your head all around, thus providing a real-time depth to perception and an earthly flavour. Current show, albeit more stimulating, remains more of a virtual reality. Well, it’s a make-believe world after all.

We saw the English version and Naseeruddin’s narration was impressive, as always. Personally, though, I would prefer to watch the Hindi version – my gut feel is Hindi version would be more dynamic.

Effects in the show are marvelous – a scene of crumbling building, for a second made us feel that the tower was really falling on us.

The show is extremely informative as well as entertaining – a must do, I would say. So go ahead and enjoy it.


This being an open air affair, next to Zoo area – expect clouds of mosquito attacking you mercilessly. So carry your tube of ‘ODOMOS’. I saw some very sensible persons carrying their own ‘mosquito coil’ which was frequently lit and placed on nearby ground.

P.S. The trip to Ishq-e-dilli can be rounded off with Matka Pir biryani/korma (located next door), if you a non-veggie and Matka Pir aficionado. In fact, you could place the order well in time (tele 23371454), collect the item before the show, leave it in the vehicle and relish it in your own time after the show. Other food options nearby are of course Pandara Road Market and Khan Market, both 2-3 minutes drive away.

Happy Watching Isq-e-dilli to all Ghumakkars.



  • maheh semwal says:

    Dear Aurojit,

    Very informative post. I never have been to Purana qila inspite of living here for the last 25 years.

    • AUROJIT says:

      Thanks Mahesh,

      Actually, Purana Qila offers a number of family outing options, viz, Zoo (half a day affair, though untenable in summers), boat rides in the gardens, visit to Purana qila (one hour at least) and of course, the light & sound show in the evenings.

      Worth a try with children.

      Thanks again for going through the post.


      • maheh semwal says:

        i have been to near by area like Zoo, pagati maidan, India Gate , Children Park (India Gate) , boating near India gate etc.

        After going through you post , I will plan for it.

  • amitk227 says:

    Hi Aurojit,
    Great post bro. I been to several places around Delhi but never at this show. I realized that we often miss what is really close and easily accessible to us. You said truly about Matka-Pir. I am great fan of this place. Sometime I don’t understand that they are doing business or charity, because the kind of quality and quantity they offer at throw away prices is really good.

    • AUROJIT says:

      Thanks Amit,

      True about missing things in vicinity – I remember reading a quote by some great man, which read something like this,

      .. a tourist is a person who enjoys/appreciates the things, when away from home, which he never bothers to look at while at home…..

      Though we ghumakkars may not like the statement, but there may be some grain of truth in it.

      Join the club – of matka pir fans. Its superb.

      Thanks again.

  • Sahil says:

    Mr. Aurojit , great to see your post after a long time. I have been to Purana Qila , but never attended the light and sound show. Thanks for sharing :-)


    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Sahil,

      Yeah, not posting but certainly following posts here, including the great ones written by you!

      The show is a must, I would say, if nothing else then for the information contents.

      Thanks for going through the post.

  • kumkum says:

    Hi, nice post…
    I have seen the English version and found it pretty nice. Wonder why ITDC is not popularising it..strange are the ways of these govt institutions …

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Kumkum,

      Yep, no complaints with English version here too. My comments on Hindi version were based on the fact that I am yet to see that version …. romanticising the unseen. And of course, since this is an Indian story, Hindi rendition perhaps would be closer to the story.

      Fully agree with strangeness of govt institutions.


  • Nandan says:

    This is on my radar for a long time. Just like the people who man the radar , looking at intrusions or general scenery, I too have done nothing about it. Reading those quarter page advts in HT and always longing.

    I have been to many sound-n-light shows, the traditional ones where they use the real backdrop as the backdrop. People carrying their own Kachhua coils :-) lol.

    Desh mera ranrez ye babu, Ghat Ghat yahan ghat-ta jaadu

    There has been a lot of talk (just talk) on doing a Ghumakkar meet. May be Ghumakkar can sponsor a show and invite all the local ghumakkars followed by Matka Pir Biryani on the lawns of Bhairon Mandir. Or even a round of tea and aaloo-sandwich at Sri Ram Centre Canteen. Need Volunteers. :-)

    • jaishree says:

      As for Matka Pir gathering….. Would they have something for Khamesra family…… Although missing from Ghumakkar( still doing lot of ghumakkari) right now, plan to come soon with newer destinations.

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Nandan

      who more than a Ghumakkar would aver to ‘ghat-ghat ka ghata jadu’ in this ‘Desh’. It is there, waiting to be discovered all around, really.

      Meet of ghumakkars is a real marvellous idea,,, fully supported and seconded. Delhi has so many venues to offer… I strongly feel that some concrete step in this direction should be taken, may be we start planning now to place it somewhere in Aug-Sep, to keep Delhi heat at bay…Perhaps we could start taking a call of sorts on this, figure out likely supporters to the idea, and then volunteer would also come by.

      Hoping for fructification of the idea/talk.

      Wishing that


      • Sahil says:

        @ Nandan and Aurojit ,

        Its absolutely correct what you both said. We must plan some ghumakkar meet.
        ” Aakhir ghumakkar hain , hume to ghumne ka bahana chahiye “.


  • jaishree says:

    Kachchua Coil at SnL show……..kudos to our survival instinct / adaptation / Jugaad/ Practical sensibilities!

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Jaishree,

      My understanding is that Matkapir will cater to everybody, if the order is substantial. Perhaps time when ghumakkars employ all their survival instinct / adaptation / Jugaad/ Practical sensibilities to realize the idea discussed above about a get together.

      Thanks for going through the post.

  • Nice one Aurojit..

    Its really surprising t to know about this kind of interesting event happening around in the city and most of us do not know about it. Watching the show can be a great fun during a weekend eve.

    Loved the picture of Qila in tricolor.

    Thanks for sharing !!!

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Shefali,

      Thanks. The show is undoubtedly interesting. Yes, a perfect take for a weekend eve.

      Thanks again…

  • Nandan says:

    End of August looks like a good time to soak in the Ghumakkar sweat over a early morning heritage walk in Chandni Chowk or Sultanate lanes of Lodi, followed by a hearty b’fast.

    Lets keep talking and reminding each other and we shall make it happen.

  • Deepaks says:

    Nice pics. I was trying to visualize the Purana Kila while reading it but couldn’t. Had a feeling that I would have preferred the older, less technological show more. I was trying to remember the old light and sound show they were doing in red fort, may be 30 years ago, but had very hazy memories!

  • AUROJIT says:

    Thnaks Deepak,
    red fort show, as I understand, is still on.
    Yes, I agree that less technology option would have been preferable.
    Went through the pics on ur blog – they are great, am already a fan of Chayachitrakar – ????????????

  • Adi says:

    Does this happen every day in Purana Quilla? I am planning for next week?
    Waiting for the response.


    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Adi,

      yes – it is a daily affair in general. Firm up your plans further by calling up the tele (Delhi tourism) I mentioned in article.

      Thanks and emjoy.


  • Nandan Jha says:

    An update. I was there last night and attended the Hindi version of it. The show started on time, may be a couple of minutes early, and it was a treat all through. It is an hour long show which takes one through the chronicles of Delhi’s (and some bit of India’s) history.

    The key voice over us by Harish Bhimani (who probably is playing the character of a ‘Zara’ (a small marginal piece of a larger setup) and one more gentlemen. I would strongly recommend it. The weather is just perfect at this point of year.

    Thank you Auro.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Thanks for the update. Yes, weather is turning fine for the show but for the spells of rain.

    And was it rounded off with matka peer :-)


  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Auro – Yeah, the rain can cast a spell. But I guess Oct/ Nov are going to host terrific days for this kind of outing. No, no matka peer.

    By the way, J&K house’s canteen serves some real Kashmiri cuisine (at least the basic ones like Rogan Josh etc) at great prices. Also not sure on whether you noticed, this story has seen a LOT of views and comes prominently on relevant searches at Google.

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Nandan,

      Thanks for info on views.

      J&K had been our favourite (Rogan josh does come to mind) till about a year back. The overbearing security and very limited time window has deterred us from enjoying the place lately. Good part there is comfortable parking and gorgeous food.

      By the way, Gujarat Bhawan next door is a happening thing now. Go there for simple, satwik veg food with unlimited chhachh (and everything else). On offer is standard thali fare (INR 80/- without and INR 100/- with pudding).

      State bhawans – how we love them and how much we miss Sikkim House !!!



  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Auro – So last evening, after enjoying ‘Ramayana’ by ‘Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra’ we headed for ‘Bang Bhawan’ and had various Thalis and topped it with Rosogulla. It set us off by INR 500 which included a waterbottle, a diet coke and meal for 5 people. Hailey Lane. Apart from great food, views of non rushed bengalis enjoying their evening meal comes free.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Is it the one located at Hailey Road (on the stretch between KGM and Barakhamba and close to SBKK)? Banga Bhawan serving bong thali is a lucrative proposition and we would try to make a trip soon.

    ‘Non-rushed Bengalis’ – an interesting ‘n’ flauntable phrase……:-)

    Another option in the area is ‘Maharashtra Bhawan’, which is almost across SBKK and attracts reasonable patronage.

    ‘Music in the Park’ season is already upon us and this season, they seem to have prepared an impressive line-up…

    Cheers to yearning and learning…


  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Auro – Yes, the same one. The cafe/canteen is on level 1. You can take your car in and go all the way down and then park at the end , right at the turn.

    Please flaunt it. :-)

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Nandan,

    thanks for the info. Would make a trip to Banga (urf Bong) Bhawan soon and probably a report thereafter.

    It would be a good idea to compile data on the state bhawans here. They present such a varied and more importantly, authentic, culinary experience….



  • Monni says:

    Do not go to Sound and Light show of Purana Quila. It is actually not happening there, now-a-days.

  • Piush says:

    any idea about parking space except Zoo parking,,
    if someone going just for boating at puarna quilla??

  • Bhawana says:

    Hello friends, plz provide me phone number of purana quila light and sound show..(Delhi tourism tele 23315322 is not working).and plz tell me how to purchase a ticket for light and sound show before show or online.

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