For the first time, the entire 58-minute sound-and-light show at Delhi’s historic Red Fort and also at the grand old Purana Quila are now available for free viewing on YouTube.

An initiative of Union Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi, this is part of plans to disseminate information about various important heritage sites in the country. The Tourism Ministry is also contemplating putting more such visual extravaganzas on the social media in the coming days.

Under the new initiative, Dr. Chiranjeevi said, the audio tracks of all 23 sound-and-light shows funded by the Tourism Ministry would be uploaded on the Internet for free viewing throughout the world. This is being done with the objective of spreading knowledge about the country’s major heritage sites. Earlier this week the first two sound-and-light shows, both being operated directly by India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), were uploaded on YouTube. Since YouTube is mainly a visual channel, reference images of both the shows accompany the audio track.

By uploading the entire audio tracks of these 58-minute and 54-minute shows, the Ministry of Tourism claims to have become the first tourism authority in the world to upload its entire feature-length sound-and-light shows on the Internet. As a search of the word “sound-and-light show” on YouTube will reveal, all shows presently available on the said website are excerpts of one to nine minutes’ length and are not from the original soundtrack.

They have perhaps been uploaded by spectators and not by any tourism authority. Because the two Delhi shows have been uploaded from the original 5.1 (five-speaker) sound track, the Ministry of Tourism has ensured crisp stereophonic sound on YouTube.

When YouTube becomes ready to host 5.1 (five-speaker) sound, its users will be able to hear the sound-and-light shows in their full glory.

The sound-and-light show at Delhi’s Red Fort, when first mounted way back in 1968, was written by the legendary writers Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi Azmi and Khushwant Singh, and directed by the renowned film director Chetan Anand. Its Hindi version has the voices of cinema super star Meena Kumari and Amrish Puri, the latter a newcomer then. The English version has the voices of Kabir Bedi and Pratap Sharma.

The sound-and-light show at Purana Quila, which went live in December 2010, has the voices of Naseeruddin Shah, Mukesh Khanna (Hindi) and Himanshu Sabharwal (English) who has also narrated and scripted the show.