Red fort at Delhi


If you are on Delhi tour then do not miss a visit to Red Fort, which is one of the most popular tourist destination of Delhi. In your tour to Red fort you will discover its Mughal cultural impact and architectural beauty in the heritage monument and the opportunity to visit the museums that showcase the Mughal dynasty Kings jewelers, carpet weavers, goldsmiths, war instrument and many more. Red Fort designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2007.

The Red Fort also known as Lal Qila is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi that served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors. Red Fort is situated on the side of Yamuna River and every year on 15 August (Independence Day) Indian flag is hoisted here by Prime Minister of India. Red Fort was the palace of Mughal Emperors and later became the center of politics in British times. The earlier Red Fort was built by Tomara king Anangpala, now known as the Qulb Mosque.

It was here in Red Fort that the famous Peacock Throne built for Shah Jahan was kept. It was later stolen by Nadir Shah during the plunder and loot he caused in Delhi.

Delhi Gate Red Fort, Delhi - 1895

HISTORY:


Red Fort was built in 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was the palace of Shah Jahan and rest of the Mughal Emperors till last emperor Bhadhur Shah Zafar was exiled. However, Aurangzeb was the first and last great Mughal emperor to rule from here.

It was built using the red sandstone hence the name Red Fort. It took 9 years and 10 million rupees to complete the Red Fort.

Shah Jahan began construction of this massive fort in 1638 and it was completed in 1648. He moved his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi, to bring prestige to his reign, and to provide ample opportunity to apply his ambitious building schemes and interests.

Shah Jahan never completely moved his capital from Agra to his new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi because he was deposed and imprisoned in Agra Fort by his son Aurangzeb. The Red Fort has had many developments added on after its construction by Emperor Shah Jahan. The significant phases of development were under Aurangzeb and later under later Mughal rulers.

Red Fort has a Drum House, Hall of Public Audiences, white marble Hall of Private Audiences, the Pearl Mosque, Royal Baths and Palace of Color in its vicinity.

Red fort at Night time

ARCHITECTURE:


The Red Fort with thick red sandstone walls, bulging with turrets and bastions is one of the largest and oldest monument in Delhi India. The Fort rises above a wide dry moat in the northeast corner of the original city of Shahjahanabad, now Old Delhi. Its walls extend from 2 kms and vary in height from 18 m on the river side to 33 m on the city side.

The Fort also houses the Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audiences where the Emperor would sit and hear complaints of the common folks. The Diwan-i-Khas is the hall of private audiences where the Emperor held private meetings. This hall is made of marble and its center-piece used to be the Peacock Throne, which was carried away to Iran by Nadir Shah in 1739.

The other attractions within this monument are the Royal Baths or hammams, the Shahi Burj, which used to be Shahjahan's private working area and the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque, built by Aurangzeb for his personal use. The Rang Mahal or the "Palace of Colors" housed the Emperor's wives and mistresses. This palace was crowned with gilded turrets, delicately painted and decorated with an intricate mosaic of mirrors, and a ceiling overlaid with gold and silver that was reflected in a central pool in the marble floor.

It is enclosed by a rubble stone wall, with bastions, gates and wickets at intervals. Of its fourteen gates, the important ones are the Mori, Lahori, Ajmeri, Turkman, Kashmiri and Delhi gates, some of which have already been demolished. His famous citadel, the Lal-Qila, or the Red Fort, lying at the town's northern end on the right bank or the Yamuna and south of Salimgarh, was begun in 1639 and completed after nine years. The Red Fort is different from the Agra fort and is better planned, because at its back lies the experience gained by Shahjahan at Agra, and because it was the work of one hand. It is an irregular octagon, with two long sides on the east and west, and with two main gates, one on the west and the other on the south, called Lahori and Delhi gates respectively. While the walls, gates and a few other structures in the fort are constructed of red sandstone, marble has been largely used in the palaces.

From the western gateway after passing through the vaulted arcade, called Chhatta-Chowk, one reaches the Naubat- or Naqqar-Khana ('Drum-house'), where ceremonial music was played and which also served as the entrance to the Diwan-i-'Am. Its upper storey is now occupied by the Indian War Memorial Museum.

The Diwan-i-' Am ('Hall of Public Audience') is a rectangular hall, three aisle deep, with a facade of nine arches. At the back of the hall is an alcove, where the royal throne stood under a marble canopy, with an inlaid marble dias below it for the prime minister. The wall behind the throne is ornamented with beautiful panels of pietra dura work, said to have been executed by Austin DE Bordeaux, a Florentine artist. Orpheus with his lute is represented in one of the panels here. Originally there were six marble palaces along the eastern water front. Behind the Diwan-i-' Am but separated by a court is the Rang-Mahal ('Painted Palace'), so called owing to colored decoration on its interior. It consists of a main hall with an arched front, with vaulted chambers on either end. A water-channel, called the Nahr-i-Bihisht ('Stream of Paradise'), ran down through it, with a central marble basin fitted with an ivory fountain. The Mumtaz-Mahal, originally an important apartment in the imperial seraglio, now houses the Delhi Fort Museum.

The Diwan-i-Khass ('Hall of Private Audience') is a highly-ornamented pillared hall, with a flat ceiling supported on engrailed arches. The lower portion of its piers is ornamented with floral pietra dura panels, while the upper portion was originally gilded and painted. Its marble dias is said to have supported the famous Peacock Throne, carried away by the Persian invader Nadir Shah.

The Tasbih-Khana ('chamber for counting beads for private prayers') consists of three rooms, behind which is the Khwabgah ('sleeping-chamber'). On the northern screen of the former is a representation of the Scales of Justice, which are suspended over a crescent amidst stars and clouds. Adjoining the eastern wall of the Khwabgah is the octagonal Muthamman-Burj, from where the emperor appeared before his subjects every morning. A small balcony, which projects from the Burj, was added here in 1808 by Akbar Shah II, and it was from this balcony that King George V and Queen Mary appeared before the people of Delhi in December 1911.

The Hammam ('Bath') consists of three main apartments divided by corridors. The entire interior, including the floor, is built of marble and inlaid with colored stones. The baths were provided with 'hot and cold water’, and it is said that one of the fountains in the easternmost apartment emitted rose water. To the west of the Hammam is the Moti-Masjid ('Pearl Mosque'), added later by Aurangzeb. The Hayat-Bakhsh-Bagh ('Life-giving garden'), with its pavilions, lies to the north of the mosque, and was later considerably altered and reconstructed. The red-stone pavilion in the middle of the tank in the centre of the Hayat-Bakhsh-Bagh is called Zafar-Mahal and was built by Bahadur Shah II in about 1842.

The Pearl Mosque or Moti Masjid at Red fort Delhi 2 - 1880's

In 1644, Shahjahan commenced in Delhi his great mosque, the Jami'- Masjid the largest mosque in India, and completed it in 1650. Its square quadrangle with arched cloisters on the sides and a tank in the center is 100 m. wide. Built on a raised plinth, it has three imposing gateways approached by long flights of steps. Its prayer-hall, with a facade of eleven arches, flanked by a four-storeyed minaret on either end, is covered by three large domes ornamented with alternating stripes of 'black and white marble.

TOURIST ATTRACTION NEAR RED FORT:


India Gate:
India Gate is a majestic high arch, 42 meters high, built as a memorial to the Indian soldiers killed in the World War I. The surrounding area is an ideal place for spending sometime with family and friends.

Jama Masjid:
Jama Masjid is the largest and one of the oldest mosques of Delhi and it can incorporate around 25,000 people at a time. Jama Masjid was also built by Shah Jahan and it took 6 years to built it.

Lotus Temple:
Shaped like a Lotus, the Lotus Temple also know as the Bahai Temple is the most wonderful modern marvel of 20th century India. Open to all, the Lotus Temple is an ideal place for peace and meditation.

Qutub Minar:
Qutub Minar was the first Islamic structure Built in India. One of the most visited tourist spot of Delhi, Qutub Minar was built in 1199 by Qutub-ud-Din. . It is 72.5 metres high and one has to climb 379 steps to get to the top. The diameter of the base is 14.3 metres while the top floor measures 2.7 metres in diameter.

Raj Ghat:
Raj Ghat is the place where Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Later many famous politicians like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and many others were also cremated in the vicinity.

TIMINGS:

  • Red Fort remains open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday but remains closed on Monday. It also remains closed on National Holidays.
  • It opens between 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.
  • Each evening (except Monday) a one-hour sound-and-light show re-creates events of India's history, particularly those associated with the Red Fort.

ENTRY FEE:

  • Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs.10 per head.
  • For others foreigners - Rs. 250/- per head (Free entry to children up to 15 years)
  • Tickets to the fort are available from the ticket kiosk opposite Lahore Gate (the main gate).

HOW TO GET THERE?

The fort is located at Netaji Subhash Marg, Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi.

By Air:
  • This fort is located in New Delhi so reaching it won't be a problem. The distance from the Indira Gandhi International airport is about 30 kms.
By Rail:
  • Delhi has two rail heads - New Delhi Railway Station and Old Delhi Railway Station, both of which is connected to rest of India by several trains.
    • Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk
    • Distance from Old Delhi Railway Station: 3 Kms
By Road:
  • Delhi has well defined road and can be reached from nearby place very easily.


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