Kingdom of Dreams - Filling Entertainment !!
It was the time of the year when planning something special is imperative for every husband on earth and things were not different at my end. The birthday of the wife was approaching fast and I still was on a lookout for things to do to make this occasion special. While the usual chores (midnight cake delivery, flowers, gifts) were all set, the only thing left out was where to take her out. After much deliberations (with myself), I remembered that there is this place where she always wanted to go and we hadn't had a chance yet. This realization did make my life a bit easier and I went straight to their portal to book tickets for a show at the "Kingdom of Dreams".
There are two online channels to book tickets at KOD as it is popularly known as. While one is the Bookmyshow route where you could use any BMS specific vouchers or offers, another option is to book through KOD's own portal. The interface and look-and-feel are exactly same as when you book a movie and you can also select your seats based on the moolah you are ready to shell out. The prices for weekends are about Rs 500 higher compared to the weekdays. I was booking for a weekday and saw that the lowest two categories were somehow blocked for next 3-4 weeks so they were out of the picture. The weekday allowed me to go a level further up and I booked two seats in the silver zone towards the aisle.
|The External Courtyard and Box Office|
The outer courtyard is a vast open area which has the box office to book your tickets or get the tickets for the online bookings. Though there are numerous counters only couple of them were operations and hence there was a considerable line-up to get the tickets. On the opposite side of the box office, there is a set up for adventure sports for kids - including bungy jumping, roller coasters, and those high swings. The play area seemed to be a huge hit among small ones and parents lined up to purchase those tickets while the younger ones enjoyed. The place was definitely lively with activities. As we looked towards the entrance gates, we noticed the gang with huge drums, called nagadas, ready to welcome the guests with traditional style. We got our tickets checked and moved into the venue with drums beating in the background.
Once inside, we were in the forecourt of KOD which has a huge expanse of open space. A part of the space is used for live show and a stage-like area has been set up for the purpose. There are waterworks and fountains for the cascade effect. The gates and arches of various entrances have been beautifully decorated to give the place a royal look and allow a visitor to embrace the theme of a "kingdom". We spent a few minutes absorbing looks of the forecourt and various offshoots taking visitors to separate sections of the venue. One huge door with wide arches opened up into a world of dreams with food everywhere as far as you can see and this was where we headed to begin the evening.
|Posing in The Forecourt|
|A View of the Cultural Gully|
The huge gates led us to a wide food street called "Cultural Gully". To start with you enter the hall which has a sky mirage roofing to give a feel of open space. The dim blue lighting strengthens the impact created by the roof. As you move towards the other end of the "gully" you pass through food stalls from each part of the country running from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu. You need to pick a prepaid card like the ones in a food court of a shopping mall. The quality of food and hygine is maintained but I felt that service could be improved. The lethargy and hesitancy in service is apparent specially if you are racing with time to feed your belly before a show. This could be a sample bias as I only tried two of the stalls but it is what it is. Also when I say lethargy, it is slowness of service and courtesy in communication is not comprmised. We tried the Maharastrian and the Rajasthani stall and enjoyed the food. As we finished the food, we were reminded of the upcoming show on the public address system which asked us to be seated soon for the show - scheduled to begin at 7 PM.
Out through the same huge gates, we proceeded to the forecourt and furthered to huge stairs which led to the artium of the famed Nautanki Mahal. This area again would remind you of movie theatre's waiting lounges with food stalls and coffee outlets. The difference is that instead of popcorns, these serve bhel puri. Once tickets were checked, we entered the auditorium and were ushered in to our seats. We were instructed that during some of the sequences through the show, the doors would be inoperational and entry/exit would be restricted. We later realized that this was because some of the dance sequences involved artists spreading throughout the area. The show began right on time at 7 and after initial credits and introduction of the key actors, a dance sequence marked the beginning of the performance. We were there for a show called "Zangoora" which revolved around the theme of a prince being thrown to grownup in a family of nomadic artists becuase his father, the king, was duped and killed by power hungary bureaucrats. Twenty years later, one of the loyal bureaucrat returns to remind the prince of his true originis and helps him gain his kingdom back from clutches of the evil. Amidst this, there is a love triangle that plays on to help keep the musical theme alive.
|A look inside the Auditorium|
As the show ended at about 9:30 and we moved out, we were pretty impressed with the performance and were wondering how soon can we come back for the other show titled "Jhoomroo". We exited through the "Cultural Gully" and came out. We noticed that it was pitch dark outside but the food street still had essense of evening to offer. The valet was efficient and our car was brough out soon and we left the venue. I would definitely recommend people to try this out once. Also if you go for a show, get yourself registered for their "Royal Card" i.e. the loyalty membership which allows you to visit back just for the "Cultural Gully" for half the price.