Red Fort of Delhi – Lal Qila

Red Fort Delhi India

The Red Fort (known as the Lal Qila in Hindi) is an old fort complex located in Delhi. It was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who also constructed the world-famous Taj Mahal, in the 17th century. The fort served as the residence of the Mughal emperor, his acolytes and their families. It was also the place from where the emperors ran their vast empire. Currently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage, the fort complex serves as a tourist spot and is a powerful symbol of the Indian Republic. The prime minister addresses the nation from this complex on the Independence Day each year. Today the Red Fort is seen as the symbol of the seat of power of government of India. The Red Fort is heavily guarded and has been a subject of a terror attack in 22 December 2000 by Lashkar-e-Taiba (one of the most militant terror outfit in South Asia).

History of the Red fort

Shah Jahan Mughal Emperor
Shah Jahan Mughal Emperor

The fort was built during 1638-1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. (Shah Jahan is famous for spending prodigiously on buildings, which will ultimately bankrupt the empire.) Made from red sandstone, and thus the name, the fort complex is an assemblage of several buildings. It was constructed after Shah Jahan decided to move the capital from nearby Agra to Delhi. The Red Fort was the seat of Mughal power until the 1857 when the last Mughal emperor was dethroned by the British after the Sepoy Mutiny. After independence from the British, the fort fell into the hands of the Indian Army which wouldn’t give up control until 2003, when it would hand over the fort to Tourist Authorities.

Architecture of the Red Fort

The architecture is a fine example of Shahjahani style, which in itself takes inspiration from the Persian, Islamic, Indian and European architectural styles. It’s spread over approximately 255 acres and the highest building is around 33 m in height. Some of the walls are more than two kilometres in length.

The complex consists of several buildings, the most important of them include:

Diwan-i-Am

Diwan-i-Aam, Lal Quila, Delhi
Diwan-i-Aam, Lal Quila, Delhi. Souce: Wikimedia Commons

Persian for “Court for the Commoners”, this building served as the place where the emperor would meet and listen to the ordinary people coming from all over his empire.

Diwane Khas

This is the place where the emperor would meet and discuss important matters with the powerful, the rich and people from his own administration. This was open to only a selected few and thus the name “Diwane Khas.”

Nahre Behist

This was the residence of the emperor and his family. This part was an attempt by the architects of the time to make it as luxurious as it could be by imitating the Paradise as is described in the holy book of Muslims.

Zenana

It divides further into Rang Mahal (Bright Palace) and Mumtaz Mahal. The Zenana served as Women’s quarters in the complex.

Moti Masjid

This 25-feet high mosque served as the private place of worship for the emperor. It was constructed nine years after the Red Fort was build. The mosque is comparatively small, spread over less than 108 square meters.

For tourists to the Red Fort

The Red Fort is a popular tourist destination. It’s open to public on all days, except on Mondays. The entry ticket for Indians is one-fifth of a US dollar while foreigners have to pay around $5 to enter the fort. There is a light show held each evening, which informs the audience about the history of this magnificent complex.

Address

Chandni Chowk Netaji Subhash Rd, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Phone number: 011 2326 9410

Vidoe of the Red Fort, Delhi, India

More places to visit in Delhi

101 Travel tips for visiting India

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38 thoughts on “Red Fort of Delhi – Lal Qila

  1. This is such a magnificent architecture. We can’t possibly expect anything less from the great emperor who’s behind the world renowned Taj Mahal. Sadly I couldn’t visit this when I visited Delhi. Next time for sure 🙂
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  2. Very cool! I studied Indo-Muslim architecture and was so impressed by some of the gorgeous palaces and religious colleges that never really got their dues.

    Murissa
    The Wanderfull Traveler

  3. I love visiting the red fort coz its acutally a blend of Persian, Islamic, Indian and European styles of architecture. In history the Shahjahani style of building is shown here.

  4. Hi Shalu,
    Thanks for giving us a “virtual” tour of the Red Fort. This is my first time to ever hear (or read) about it. The Diwan-i-Am surely looks majestic, and to think that’s only the place where the emperor would meet and talk to the ordinary people. Thanks for sharing!

  5. The architecture of Red fort is fabulous … its not only in Delhi but also another red fort is Agra also.. history of red fort is very good ..before read this i don`t have so much knowledge ..thanks for sharing this information about red fort ..

  6. We all know that India is a big culture in the world. And this post is an another thing bringing me to go to India. This place may be the first to visit when I go to India next month.

  7. congratulations, shalu ji,

    your website is very informative and descriptive, I saw your books and I must say they are nuggets of information. just one advice, you can translate these book in Hindi, so that many Hindi speaking and reading people can also take advantage of your experiences.
    thanks for your effort.

  8. this is the awesome article. keep sharing like this. i love indian places. incredible india. indian history is the greatest history.

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