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|Monuments in Delhi|
RED FORT : The Symbol of India
Netaji Subhash Marg, Delhi, India
Reasons to be here –
For the history enthusiast, shutterbug, and the explorer in you!
Entry Fee –
10/ person Indians residence)
250/ person (Foreign residence)
Six days a week except Monday; 06:00 AM-06:00 PM
Red Fort of Delhi, or the Lal Quila, is a masterpiece of the zenith of Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan era. This fortress-palace of yesteryears is open to public and is one of the top tourist destinations of Delhi. Shah Jahan commissioned its construction in 1638 when he was to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi and it was ready by 1639. It shall be remembered that the designer of this magnificent monument was none other than Ustad Ahmad Lahori, the designer of the world famous Taj Mahal at Agra. It was around this fort that the city of Shahjahanabad was developed. Red Fort was originally called as Qila-e-Mubarak, meaning “Blessed Fort”.
The Splendour and the Plunder
Red Fort had been the epitome of the riches of Mughal Empire. Apart from its stunning architecture (discussed below), it was studded with jewels and precious and semi-precious stones. The Red Fort was plundered during the invasion of Nadir Shah who took away most of its jewels and the famous Peacock throne. Later on, the British also removed its ornamentations and sent these to London. Kohinoor diamond, crown of Bahadur Shah II, wine cup of Shah Jahan were some of these items taken away by the British from Red Fort.
In modern times, Red Fort was used a military garrison till 2003. After 2003 it was handed over to ASI for restoration works. It is now open for public, though some parts of the fort are blocked for general public.
Every year, on the occasion of Independence Day on 15th of August, the Prime Minister of India unfurls the National Flag from the rampart of this fort at Lahore Gate and addresses the nation.
Red Fort is made of red sandstone where it has been used extensively. In contrast to Taj Mahal which is made of all white marble, Red Fort in Delhi is made of whole red sandstone. It is constructed in octagonal shape spread over an area of more than 256 acres and encompasses within its periphery the older Salimgarh Fort. For this reason it is a bit asymmetric. The Fort has high walls made of sandstone running around its periphery for a good 2.41 kilometers. There walls are interrupted by turrets. It was built on the banks of River Yamuna which used to feed waters in its moats that ran along the walls of its periphery. Lahore Gate and Delhi Gates were the two entrances to the Fort used by the general public. Another gate, the Khirzabad Gate, was used exclusively by the Emperor.
Key Features of the Red Fort
- Chatta Chowk – Next to Lahori Gate main entrance, this was a marketplace for women of royal family. It is covered by vaulted arcade. It open in a 540 by 360 feet open space.
- Diwan-i-Aam – This was the public audience hall where Emperor used to hear the voices of common people.
- Diwan-i-Khas – This is Hall of the Private Audience which was constructed in white marble and studded with gems and jewels. It was where the Peacock throne was situated. It is also the building on which entrance the famous poem lines of Amir Khusrao are carved-
“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.”
It’s meaning when translated to English is-
“If there is paradise on Earth
It is here, it is here, it is here.”
- Khas Mahal – This was the apartment of the Emperor.
- Mumtaz Mahal – It is a part of the ‘zanana’ (meaning ‘women’) in Red Fort. It is made in white marble and has six apartments. At present, there is an exhibition of Red Fort Archaeological Museum that has articles from Mughal Period.
- Rang Mahal – It was where the wives and mistresses of Emperor lived.
- Moti Masjid – It was not in the original design of Red Fort agreed by Shah Jahan. It was a later addition by Aurangzeb for private prayers.
- Naubat Khana – It was the place where music was played all day long.
- Hammam – This was the place of imperial baths consisting of three domed rooms.
- Hira Mahal – It was built by Bahadur Shah II at the end of Hayat Bakhsh Bagh.
- Baoli- It is a stepped well. It also has chambers which were converted into prisons after rebellion in 1857.
- Hayat Baksh Bagh – It was a garden in northeast of complex which had a reservoir. At each end are Sawan and Bhado pavilions, named after the Hindu months and seasons.
- Delhi Gate – Gate for entrance of general public from the southern direction.
- Lahore Gate – Main entrance to the Fort.
Metro Connectivity and Location
Red Fort lies right on the Lal Qila Metro Station of Violet Line of Delhi Metro.
Other Metro stations close by are-