Introduction: Among all Indian royal Palaces this massive red fort will be the most magnificient. This beautiful monument is located in the chandni chowk area of Delhi and popularly known as Red fort because of the beautiful usage of red sandstone in making of its grand walls. This huge fort is an irregular octagon in shape having two long sides on the east and west and six smaller sides on the north and south. It occupies an area of about 253 acres enclosed by 2.39km of defensive wall. The fort is 18m tall on the side of the river while on the city side is up to 32m tall. Fort has two main gates named as Lahore Gate in its western side and the other on the southern wall known as Delhi Gate. Besides these there are three gates and two windows more although which is now closed to the general public. It is the most visited and popular tourist spots in Old Delhi with more than 15,000 visitors daily.
This beautiful red monument houses a number of museums which are
- Lahore gate: It is the main gate facing towards chandni chowk, the famous area of the city. It named as lahori gate because it faces towards the city of Lahore.
- Chhatta chowk: This market has 32 shops on both sides. One can enter into through an arched shaped passage. Things like Precious stones, gems, jewellery, velvet, brocades and silk catering used to sell here. Legend has that this design was chosen by Shah Jahan himself.
- Naubat Khana: It is more than 90feet high, with a lofty open arched hall. This was the drum room, where ceremonial music was played by the Royal Band five times a day. At Naubat khana everyone had to dismount from their elephants and walk towards except Princes from the Royal Blood.
- Diwan-e-am: This was the place where the Emperor sat for public audience and to listen to their problems. A place for audience rectangular in shape with small chhattris sits atop on a plinth of stone 4 feet high. The entire hall was originally decorated with white chunam stucco work and historical pictures. In the centre of wall, a marble canopy was placed which is called as Jharokha. The wall which is behind the canopy is beautifully decorated with many multi coloured Pietra Dura stones, said to have been executed by Austin de Bordeaux, a Florentine artist. This place was also used for state functions.
- Diwan-e-khas: It was a magnificent pavilion standing on a 4feet high plinth. Halls measures 85feet by 67 feet (approximately). Ceiling was made up of silver, cost more than 25 lakhs at that time. This pavilion houses a peacock throne which took more than 7 years to be completely built at a cost of 9crores rupees. Canopy of the throne was also carved with diamonds with a border of precious pearls. As the name defines the meaning itself ‘the hall for special people’. This is the most beautiful building in the fort complex. In the centre hall an arch has some Persian letter inscribed on it…
“IF THERE IS A PARADISE ON THE EARTH
HERE IT IS, HERE IT IS, HERE IT IS!
In may 1857, it was this place where indian soldiers declared Bahadur Shah Zafar as the emperor of hindustan.
- Mumtaz mahal: This place used to be the apartment for the royal princess but today houses the Delhi Fort Museum. It has many artefacts salvaged from the royal place.
- Rang mahal: The name literally means “Palace of Colours”, reason behind the name is its coloured decorations. This pavilion measures 1500feet by 690feet. The ceiling again is highly decorated with flowerily designs. Original ceiling was made up of silver with flowers of gold. But it was taken off by Farrukhsayar. It is divided into 6 compartments having engrailed arches on the piers. It’s northern and southern sections were called Sheesh Mahal because of pieces of mirror embedded in the ceiling which reflects light. In the centre of the Rang Mahal is a tank in which there was an impressive fountain of Lotus shape, carved out of a single piece of marble. This was the place for royal ladies.
- Khas mahal: Or may say the private residence of the Mughal emperor in Delhi. There are three parts in it: The ‘’Baithak’’ (the conversation house) named ‘’Tosh-khana’’, sleeping chamber or ‘’khwabgah’’ and the Tasbih-khana or the house of worship. There is also a balcony which once projected over the river bank.
- Hammam: This place consists of three chambers divided by the water passages. First room facing towards the river used to be the dressing room. Next chamber has a bath fountain for hot and cold baths with a silver jet in the centre of it. The last chamber has a huge beautiful fountain in the middle for the hot baths only. The entire interioris built of marble and inlaid with coloured stones. Windows of these chambers were dark green in colour and walls are beautified with PIETRA DURA
- Hira Mahal: It is situated in the front of zafar mahal. This was built in 1842 by Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal Emperor.
- Shah burj: A building situated at the eastern corner. This was the place where Emperor used to have secret conversations.
- Moti masjid: Moti masjid is located on the northern side of hammam. This place sits atop on 3feet high plinth. This was built in 1662 by Aurangzebas emperor’s private quarters. Originally made up of copper but later it got destroyed and replaced by marble domes which you can see today.
- Sawan and Bhadon pavilion: Sawan pavilion is named after the first month of the rainy season and situated on the north side of Hayat Baksh Garden. On the south is Bhadon pavilion. Bhadon is the second month of the rainy season according to the Hindu calendar.
- Zafar mahal: A red sandstone pavilion situated in the hayat baksh garden between sawan and bhadon pavilion. This was added by Emperor Bahadur Shah. This place was named after his pen name of “Zafar”.
History/About: Red fort was the seventh fort of the Mughal city ‘Shahjahanabad’ of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. This used to be known as “Qila-i-Mubārak” in its gold days, which means “A blessed fort”. The reason behind this name was this place was designed for the royal family to live in. The construction was started in 1639 in the sacred month of Muharram and took 9 months and 3 months to complete in 1649. More than 9 crores rupees were incurred to build this massive fort. Mukarmmat khan was the supervisor and architecture. Some also says that Ustad Ahmad Lahauri (who also constructed theTaj Mahal) was the architect who designed the fort. Fort used to be the mini-city with palaces, offices and shops, where more than 3000 people lived. Yamuna water was used to feed the moat built all around the fort. In 1858, a large number of places in the fort were demolished, many of Taikhanas (basement room) sealed and massive barracks constructed for the soldiers. Many alterations and additions were made by Emperor Aurangzeb and the British Government also. This was the place where the First Independence day speech was delivered by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Address: Netaji Subhash Marg, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
Visiting hours: 6:00AM – 6:00PM
Entry Fee: 30 for Indian citizens
Camera fee: Free
Nearest metro station: Lal Quila, Chandni chowk
Best time to visit:
Contact no.: 011-23277705