On 15th of August Independence day Prime minister of our country India hoist the national flag at the ramparts of Red fort, apart from this there is lots of history associated with it from the time of Mughal.
From the main gate entry the Chandani chok bazaar (market) can be seen and inside the corridor there are small shops around where old cultural jewellery and other decorative items can be purchased. Later moving forward from the corridors on left side a little walk away museum is there. People from different places come here and appreciate the master piece of construction of old era.
Shah Jahan (A.D. 1628-58), the Mughal emperor shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi in A.D. 1638 and established Shahjananabad, the seventh city of Delhi. He commenced the construction of his citadel, ‘Lal Qila’ or the Red Fort on 12th May 1639 and took 9 years and 3 months to complete it under the supervision of master builders Hamid and Ahmed. Originally it was known as ‘Qila-i-Mubarak’.
The fort is built using red sandstone and is octagonal on plan with the rampart surrounded by a moat originally connected with river Yamuna. This highly fortified citadel has two main gateways, the Lahori gate on the west and the Delhi gate or ‘Hathi gate’ on the south.
Nadir Shah the Persian invader plundered the city of Delhi in A.D. 1739 and took away the prized booty including the Takht-i-Taus (peacock Throne) with the Kohinor (world’s largest diamond). In A.D. 1857 Bahadur shah II was proclaimed Emperor by the freedom fighters. INA officers Shah Nawaz khan, P.K. Shegal and G.S. Dhillon were trialled in 1945-46. These are some of the imprints of history left on the Red Fort.
Diwan-i-Am or the ‘Hall of public audience’, was the place where Shah Jahan (A.D. 1628-58) received the general public and heard their grievances.
With a courtyard in the front, it was originally surrounding by arcaded apartments used by chiefs (Umaras) on duty. With an impressive façade of nine engrailed arch openings the hall was ornamented with gilded stucco work. In the centre of the eastern wall, stands a marble canopy covered by a ‘Bengal roof’, under which was placed the emperor’s throne. A marble dias below the throne, inlaid with semi-precious stones, was used by the Wazir (prime minister) for receiving petitions.
Behind the canopy, the wall is decorated with beautiful panels inlaid with multi-coloured stones (pietra dura work), representing flowers and birds, said to have been executed by Austin de Bordeaux, a Florentine jeweller.
The Rang-Mahal or the ‘Palace of Colours’, consists of a large hall, originally painted on the interior from which it derives its name. This was the largest of the royal apartments and was also called ‘Imtiyaz Mahal’ (Palace of Distinction).
It is divided into six apartments by engrailed arches set on piers. The northern and southern ends of the Rang Mahal are known as ‘Shish Mahal’ (House of mirrors) and contain marble dados. Over the walls and ceilings of these apartments are embedded tiny pieces of mirrors, which reflect light and create a picturesque effect. Through the centre along its length flowed the channel known as ‘Nahr-i-Bihisht’ (stream of paradise). In its centre is a marble basin, which is said to have been provided originally with an ivory fountain.
This was the emperor’s private palace. Animal fights such as between lions and elephants, were organized below this palace for the entertainment of royals.
The palace consists of three parts. The set of three rooms facing the Diwan-i-khas was called ‘Tasbih-Khana’ (chamber of telling beads) and was used for the emperor’s private worship. The three rooms behind it were known as ‘Khwabgah’ (sleeping chamber). To its south a long hall with its painted walls and ceilings and a perforated screen on the west was known either as ‘Tosh khana’ (robe chamber) or ‘Baithak’ (sitting room). A beautiful perforated marble screen carved with a ‘scale of justice’ adorns its northern wall.
The projecting tower to the east of the Khas Mahal is called the ‘Muthamman-Burj’ (octagonal tower) from where the emperor appeared daily to greet the crowd gathered below the fort.
Diwan-i-khas also known as ‘Shah Mahal’ was the ‘Hall of Private Audience’ used by the emperor for receiving selected courtiers and visitors.
It consists of a rectangular central chamber, surrounded by series of arches rising from piers. The lower parts of the piers are inlaid with floral designs, while the upper portions are gilded and painted. The four corners of its roof are surmounted by pillared chhatries. Over the marble pedestal in its centre stood the famous ‘Peacock Throne’ which was removed in 1739 by Nadir shah. Through the centre of the hall flowed the Nahar-i-Bihisht (stream of paradise). Over the corner-arches of the northern and southern walls below the cornice is inscribed the famous verse of Amir Khusraw exclaiming. “If there be a paradise on the earth, it is this, it is this, it is this”.
Moti Masjid or the pearl mosque was built by Aurangzeb for his personal use. It would take him just a short walk from his bed chamber to reach the sacred place of worship at various times of the day or night. The mosque was also used by the ladies of the seraglio (Harem) who entered through a passage in the northern wall of the enclosure.
The mosque is built over a raised plinth and is entered through an eastern arched gateway with a copper plated door. The courtyard of this mosque is enclosed by high walls. Though red sand stone has been used externally, its interior is composed entirely of pure white marble. The prayer hall of the mosque is inlaid with outlines of ‘musallas’ (small carpets of prayers) in black marble and it stands at a higher level than the courtyard. The hall is surmounted by three bulbous domes, originally copper plated. In the courtyard is a tank with a fountain used for ablution.
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.
Rs. 250/- per head (Free entry to children up to 15 years)
Visiting Hours: 9:30AM to 4:30PM daily (except Monday)
Website for reference: http://asi.nic.in/asi_monu_tktd_delhi_redfort.asp
Note: Infromation in Italic fonts are as it is mentioned as on the information board at Red Fort.