No upgradation in system since the programme began in 1993
One of the most popular attractions on the tourists' list in Hyderabad -- the sound and light show at Golconda fort -- is losing its sheen.
Scores of tourists who come to this monument ensure that they don't miss the sound and light show that narrates the history of the fort.
But they are disappointed for a variety of reasons.
What could have been a perfect setting for a rendezvous with the Quli Qutb Shahi dynasty -- the ruins of the Rani Mahal section of the fort with its exotic niches and alcoves within this historic rampart -- is dishing out a disappointing fare.
“The seating capacity of the venue is 250. But on holidays and weekends we have over 900 people watching the show,” says A. Ramji, Assistant Manager, Andhra Pradesh Tourism in-charge for the sound and light show. The reason for this packed capacity is the callous attitude of the personnel manning the ticket counter.
Despite two shows every day, at 7.15 p.m. (English) and 8 p.m. (Hindi/Telugu), tickets are sold only for the 7.15 p.m. show forcing the latecomers to join the show in progress.
Tourists who come in time for the second show are forced to return home as the counters are closed by then.
“We will issue the tickets for the next show only if the strength is 25,” is the indifferent response at the ticket counter.
“We need 20 people per show to meet the electricity charges and towards paying salary of the employees,” affirms Mr. Ramji.
Left with no choice the tourists take tickets for the current show albeit missing the introduction, as the venue for the show is quite a walk away.
What ensues next is the struggle to find seats in the darkness as the staff arrange plastic chairs. While the fort is known for its acoustic marvels, the same cannot be said about the sound and light show, as most part of the narration is barely audible. Interspersed with songs and Dakhni poetry as the show unfolds the life and times of Quli Qutb Shah, the only saving grace is Big B's baritone bit.
For travellers who have seen the laser show at Somnath temple or Red Fort, the visual offering at Hyderabad comes as appalling.
“Shows at Cellular Jail, Port Blair and at Red Fort, Delhi were started at the same time as Golconda. While the shows at Port Blair and Delhi were upgraded 2 or 3 times so far, the old system is being used for the show at Golconda since it was started in 1993,” says Mr. Ramji. “Talks are on to replace the existing show with a new model,” he adds.
With a bazaar that sold diamonds, a king who was a poet and a scion who was in love, the story of Golconda packs in enough ammo to create a dazzling effect for visitors to take back home.
But it is not to be, if one were to attend the sound and light programme.