Monday, April 9, 2012

Kingdom of Dreams

I played tourist the other night with some friends and went and checked out Kingdom of Dreams. I was not quite sure what to expect as the website is not that clear as to what it is all about… even after visiting I am still a bit confused about the whole place.
The best comparison I can come up with is a cross between Disneyland and Las Vegas without the rides and the gambling. 

First impression, wow… feast for the eyes; lots of lights, colour and impressive sculptures. Welcoming guests are street performers including a scary looking god, a stilt waker and a monkey that likes to scare people…beware!
After taking in the splendour of the buildings we headed into Culture Gully. Now I am a little confused by the name of this area… When one says 'gully' to me I picture a ravine in a bush setting worn away by water. Needless to say that is not what Culture Gully is. I think what it is meant to be is 'gall' which is an Urdu word for an alleyway in a city, which would make far more sense. Basically Culture Gully is a rather impressive indoor street of India complete with sky dome. Along the street there are themed buildings, restaurants and shops representing various states of India. The culture of each state represented has been incredibly well captured, the only thing that makes it unreal is that is is all a bit too perfect. Now had the website been a little more clear we might have allowed a bit more time to hangout in Culture Gully before the 8pm show. You could spend a couple of hours exploring all it has to offer. As we did not have a lot of time we chucked back some Thupka and momos before the show. The food was good but fairly overpriced by Indian standards… foreigners would think it quite reasonable. The food is paid for by prepaying rupees onto a card which you then use at various restaurants. The only criticism with this is that they charge a non refundable 100rs for the card. Similar systems are used in food courts in shopping malls but the card cost of 15Rs is always refunded. So 100Rs not refundable, to me, is quite unreasonable, especially for tourists who are not likely to have the opportunity to use the card more than once.

Culture Gully

At 8pm we went to see the Bollywood show Zangoora. Zangoora is a story about a gypsy prince. It reminded me of a typical Disney story such as Aladdin or Anastasia where you have your good guys, bad guys, the supernatural and romance. If you are a foreigner it is best to pay the 200Rs and get the translation headset (you could share one headset between 2 people) as the dialogue on stage is all in Hindi. The only problem is that most of the time the headset dialogue is ahead of the stage dialogue so at times the actions don't match up with the words and it gets confusing… you get the gist though.
The production itself is highly entertaining, it is completely over the top and often quirky with strange animations and cartoon like backdrops. The costumes are vibrant and colourful and the music just a bit too loud to be comfortable. The production seemed to include an unusually large amount of acrobatic wires at unusual times… all part of the entertainment and definitely worth a visit.
The productions sell out several days in advance with the cheaper seats selling out first. If you are on a budget (or even if you are not) I would recommend going for the cheapest seats as there are no bad seats.

We did not hang around after the performance as we assumed we had seen it all and it was going to be a long drive home. The next day, in preparation for this review, I revisited the Kingdom of Dreams website to see if it was clearer having visited and I would have to say no it wasn't. It also seems we missed two of the attractions being Showshaa Theatre and the iffa Buzz cafe. Although not a big area Kingdom of Dreams is poorly signposted and it would be very easy to miss attractions. The website does not give any timings, or prices for what goes on in The Showshaa Theatre and I saw no sign of iifa Buzz which is promoted on the website.

So would I go back again… Yes, if I had visiting guests from overseas, I definitely would. It is a very professional and highly entertaining place that showcases Indian culture and the best of Bollywood, which is always highly fascinating to foreigners.


Priya Kundu said...

awesome post! i love this!

Debosmita Roy said...

Lovely post on Kingdom of Dreams,a popular leisure destination located in Gurgaon.kingdom of dreams entry ticket rates is different for various events and is worth the time and money.