Bollywood Songs & Famous Indian Monuments

When Melody & Monument comes together - It makes a cinematic history. Timeless Indian destinations do have a good connection with ageless melodies - and so does the famous Bollywood songs. These timeless songs chronicle Indian monuments as they used to be few decades ago. Bollywood and tourists destinations of India have a relationship and each one puts a light on the other.

Indian Destinations in Bollywood Films
Image source –

Indian Destinations have always been popular with our Indian filmmakers. Sometimes they go to popular Indian destinations for a perfect backdrop for their songs and scenes. Sometimes they put a spotlight on a lesser known tourist destination in India and make it popular.

Iconic Indian destinations in Ever Green Bollywood Songs of yesteryear often finds a good space in Bollywood Trivia

I am an ardent fan of Old Indian Film songs. I owe it to my growing up in the Doordarshan era. Today when I look at my favourite songs on YouTube, I see the iconic locations as they were 40, 50 or 60 years ago. Sometimes I also get the glimpse of the Indian monuments that are now out of bound for us.

Let me take you down the memory lane with some of these are iconic locations where some timeless songs were shot.

Let us call it the Bollywood’s yesteryear journey through the Incredible India!

Aaj Fir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai from Guide – Chittorgarh Fort

In this film adaptation of R K Narayan’s Guide, Waheeda Rehman dances, almost making us want to dance with her, to the unforgettable lyrics written by Shailendra. One can’t miss the various picturesque shots of the Chittorgarh fort. In fact for a long time, till I visited the fort, this song was my reference for the visuals of this fort. I now admire the skill of the film maker to get the Vijaystambh in perspective. And capturing other nuances with his lens.

Indeed, the song acts as a musical guide of the fort!

Read More:

Chittorgarh Fort – stories of Courange, Devotion & Scarifice

Temples of Chittorgarh Fort

Oh Mere Raja from Johny Mera Naam – Nalanda

Dev Anand and Hema Malini play Chor & Sipahi i.e Thief & Cop, as they try to deceive each other in iconic film Johny Mera Naam. Playing hide and seek in the ruins of Nalanda in Bihar.

The world’s second oldest university with its Buddhist temples, its expansive campus in red bricks is a perfect backdrop for the Song. In fact, the cable car used in the song is in nearby Rajgir. When I visited Nalanda and Rajgir in 2011, both the places were exactly as they were shot more than 40 years back. The cable car was as scary and as bare. For Nalanda, of course, 40 years is too small a period to change. It has stood as it is for many centuries. I found it exactly as Hema Malini and Dev Anand would have found it before I was born.

Read More:

Nalanda – Seat of Ancient Learning

Rajgir – Host of Buddhist Councils

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar from Aap ki Kasam – Gulmarg

This song features two iconic Shiva temples of Kashmir. It begins with the steps of Shankaracharya temple atop Shankracharya hill in Srinagar. But within few second, moves to Maharani Shiv Ji temple at Gulmarg where the majority of it is shot. It’s fair to assume it would have been shot during the summer months as you see greenery all around as when I visited it in November, the green colour was hard to spot. Kashmir was the most favorite of Indian destinations to shoot for filmmakers through the 1960s and 1970s

Music of R D Burman and the freestyle Masti filled dance of Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz in the film Aap ki Kasam are something that would make anyone peppy on a dull day.

Read More: Things to do in Gulmarg

Dil ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar from Tere Ghar ke Saamne – Qutub Minar

Now this one is an immortal Black & White song from Tere Ghar ke Saamne shot at Qutub Minar. Nutan has never looked more beautiful and the song has the playful energy woven into the melody of S D Burman’s music.

The song is very special as it takes you inside the Qutub Minar. As you know for many years now, no one is allowed inside the Qutub Minar. So this song became my entry into that forbidden world inside Qutub Minar. It feels it has been shot in a rather shorter section of the Minar as you see the same stones through the song. But you can figure out that the gap between the inner pillar and outer wall is wide enough for 3-4 people to walk easily.

How I wish makers of the film has stepped behind and captured the Mehrauli of the early 1960s when some monuments would have been intact.

Read More:

North Mehrauli Trail

South Mehrauli Trail

Mehrauli Archeological Park

Jain Temples of Mehrauli

Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra from Kashmir Ki Kali – Dal Lake Srinagar

This remains my favourite! I have yearned to go to Kashmir after watching it innumerable times and can never be bored of this song. It just has everything for everyone. The theatrics of Shammi Kapoor, the bubbly dimpled smile of Sharmila Tagore, the exhilarating tone of Mohd  Rafi and the colourful boats plying on the superlatively beautiful Dal Lake from the film Kashmir ki kali.

The houseboats and shikaras in the backdrop of lakes lined with Chinar trees and Mughal gardens – can there be a better Indian destination to film a youthful song!

I am sure this song played its part in making Houseboats in Srinagar one of the top Indian destinations for tourists visiting Kashmir.

Read More: Houseboats in Srinagar – Living and experience

Tumne Kisi Ki Jaan from Rajkumar – Mahabalipuram

Depicting the love story of an aristocrat in the film Rajkumar, the song glides through the heritage structures of Mahabalipuram, near Chennai. You see Sadhna and Shammi Kapur playing around the five Rathas of Pandavas as they sing and dance to hanker Jaikishan’s music.

If you visit Mahabalipuram now, you see this almost as you can see in this song. The giant elephant stands as it is as do the 5 Rathas. The place seems as clean as it was when I last visited it in 2012. I do not recall the monument where Shammi  Kapoor is on top of a temple and the second half of the song is, of course, shot in a studio. I assume shooting at Indian destinations is not an easy task.

Read More: Mahabalipuram

Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa from Aandhi – Avantipur Ruins

This haunting melody from the controversial political drama, this song from Aandhi takes us on a virtual tour through the ruins of Avantipur temples. They were built by King Lalitaditya and Avantivarman, located in Kashmir somewhere between Srinagar & Anantnag.  The ruins in dark grey stone add to the texture of the song and always leave me wanting.

Every time I look at this song, I sigh and take a mental note of visiting Avantipur, one of the Indian Destinations that is still evading me. Hopefully someday soon!

Yeh Lucknow Ki Sar Zameen from Chaudhvin Ka Chand – Lucknow

The title song of Gurudutt’s 1960 musical blockbuster was a tribute to the city of Lucknow, the latter capital of Awadh Kingdom. It also offers glimpses of the regal structures of the Nawab era that are now popular Indian destinations like the various Baghs and Imambaras. The name of the city derives from Lakshmana of Ramayana who was believed to have built Lakshmanapuri which later was known as Lakhanavati, shortened to Lakhnav. Along with Varanasi and Agra, Lucknow forms the third vertex of the UP Tourism’s Heritage Arch. The cultural folklore speaks of savouring Banaras ki Subah and Awadh Ki Shaam i.e Morning of Varanasi and evening of Lucknow. The poetry and the cuisine of Lucknow never fail to claim their unique mention in the cultural annals.

Read More:


Rhythm of Chaos on the Shores of Ganga

Taj Mahal – Most photogenic monument in the world

Mere Sapnon Ki Rani from Aradhana – Heritage Darjeeling Train

This evergreen song from the film Aradhana needs no introduction. Probably the call of the heart of every boy waiting for his right better half and the dream of every girl to be stalked by someone like Rajesh Khanna (and mine is to find those earrings, Sharmila was wearing). The famed Darjeeling train passing through the lush green wilderness and vast tea estates is absolutely like freshness Darjeeling tea brings to our lives.  Is it not just the apt ambience for two lovelorn hearts to meet.

I am yet to go to Darjeeling, but I am sure the roads would no longer be as empty.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway pictured in the song is a UNESCO World heritage Site.

Read More: Tea Gardens of Assam

Main Ek Raja Hoon from Uphaar – Golconda Fort

This romantic song echoes amidst the awe-striking walls of the Golconda fort at Hyderabad. Built by Kakatiya Kings as a mud fort and it is better known for the Koh-i-noor and Hope diamond that were found here. Golconda Fort is an architectural marvel as far as acoustics are concerned. A clap from the top of the tower would echo and alert the guards standing 300+ steps away on a hill.

The fortress makes a perfect retreat from the city of Hyderabad and the soulful music of Laxmikanth Pyarelal uniquely captures the expression of love on the innocence of Jaya Bhaduri.

Had the filmmakers stepped a bit outside the Golconda Fort, they would have got the best examples of Deccani Architecture.

Read More:

Qutub Shahi Tombs & Deccani Architecture

Paigah Tombs – family tombs of Paigahs of Hyderabad

Creative Jaali patterns at Paigah Tombs

Charminar to Chowmahalla Walk 

Tell me more songs from the golden era of films with Indian Destinations!

This post has been written in collaboration with SaiSwaroopa Iyer  –  a Venture capital professional turned author with a keen interest in Indian history, literature, music and poetry. Check out her book Abhaya that picks up old stories to sort out new age problems.


  1. Off the cuff I can think of Udaipur lake palace in “Nainon wale ne’ from mera saaya,the chortens & monasteries of ladakh in ” Zara si aahat hoti he toh’ from Haqeeqat and Nainital in the very atmospheric ‘parbaton ke pedon par’..from the movie ‘shagun’

    • Thanks Greeshma for adding to this list of songs – both me and Sai wanted more and more people to share more songs so that we can have a next part in the series. Stay Connected.

  2. Wonderful list, Anuradha and Saiswaroopa. I can think of “Gumnaam hai joi” from the film Gumnaam, which was shot at the ruins of St. Augustine in Old Goa. In fact, there is a plaque which mentions this referring to the song and asking the viewer to compare the ruins then and today.

    Another song I can think of is Bismil from the film Haider, which was shot at the ruins of the Martand Sun Temple. I know this is not an old song, but in case you do a series on new Bollywood song, then maybe you could consider this.

    • Sudha, Thanks for the first one from Gumnaam. We missed that, but will put it in the next edition of this post.

      Haider song we remembered, but for this post we were sticking to the golden era. Depending on how readers receive this post, we will do a series. Feel free to join in. In fact I found a Akshay Kumar song shot at Hampi 🙂

        • Me too Sudha 🙂

          Please share as many as you remember – this is like nostalgia at various levels.
          And every time I see that Qutub Minar song, I thank the director, for this is my only source to know the interiors of Qutub Minar in a fun way.

    • Wow Madhulika, such a pleasure to go through your list. I searched for that Ellora song, I remembered the visuals but totally forgot the song and the film. Taj Mahal – I remembered, but missed. Lodhi Gardens, I had no inkling of.

      Bookmarked your post for referencing in the next post in this series.

  3. saiswaropa iyer and anu ji my good old friend,
    i was lookin 4 this particular number-
    some yrs., back when i visited the lake palace in udaipur this song reminded me of my school days of weekly movies in the defence campuses/ qrs.
    u guesed it right-
    the song accha to hum chalte hain.
    and the film i think u have got it right-
    aan milo sajna.
    this is my add-on.
    there r several tamil hits at strategic tourist spots.urge u 2 work on them as well.
    i tn and ap fils and politics r merging with obsession and a lifeline of the masses..

  4. apologies 4 the typo errors in the last lines.
    it is tamil nadu and telangana, andhra.
    keep exploring 4 posterity.

  5. Awesome ! Was not aware of some of the locations. A few songs that I remember with beautiful locations are – “zihale masti mukund ranjish” from Gulami.

    One location that should feature is the Mumbai Chaupati, has been a location of some of the most beautiful songs (like Rim Zhim Gire Sawan)

  6. I visited Kashmir recently. The song “tere Bina Zindagi se koi” from film “Andhi” was shot in Martand Sun Temple Anantnag. The Avantipur ruins resemble the Sun Temple though. One para of the song was filmed at Shalimaar Baag.
    Wonderful list!
    Perhaps u can add the song “aaiye padhariye” from “geet gaya patharon ne” which was shot at Ellora. This is one song that focuses on the surroundings rather than the actor. Also impossible to shoot at Ellora now since it is world heritage site

  7. Absolutely wonderful post Anuradha. I cherished reading about each song. I watched these songs many times but was not aware of the locations (except for Qutub minar in “dil ka bhanwar” song). Now. i am going to watch all these songs again and visit these places virtually. Thanks for making me more aware. Your posts are always a joy to read.

    • So glad that you enjoyed these iconic Bollywood songs from a new perspective. We plan to do a follow-up post on this as lot of suggestions came for inclusion. If you have any suggestions, please share.

  8. I think ‘Husnuwale tera Jawab nahi’ from film Nazraan(1961) was filmed in Brindavan gardens ,Mysore. Many Hindi and Kannada songs have been filmed in Brindavan gardens. I loved the songs you have posted.Thank you.