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
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:
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.
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.”
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.
It divides further into Rang Mahal (Bright Palace) and Mumtaz Mahal. The Zenana served as Women’s quarters in the complex.
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.
Chandni Chowk Netaji Subhash Rd, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Phone number: 011 2326 9410
Vidoe of the Red Fort, Delhi, India