Fort, also known as the Red Fort, is one of the popular tourist
destinations in Delhi. The Delhi Fort is located in Delhi, India. It
is also known as Lal Qil'ah and the Red Fort.
Front View The Red Fort was the palace for Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah
Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad, the seventh Muslim city in the
Delhi site. He moved his capital from Agra in a move designed to bring
prestige to his reign, and to provide ample opportunity to apply his
ambitious building schemes and interests. The Red Fort stands at the
eastern edge of Shahjahanabad, and gets its name from the massive wall
of red sandstone that defines its eight sides. The wall is 1.5 miles
(2.5 km) long, and varies in height from 60ft (16m) on the river side
to 110 ft (33 m) towards the city. Measurements have shown that the
plan was generated using a square grid of 82 m.
The fort lies along the Yamuna River, that fed the moats that surround
most of the wall. The wall at its northeastern corner is adjacent to
an older fort, the Salimgarh, a defense built by Islam Shah Sur in
The Red Fort was conceived as a whole, and subsequent modifications
have not taken away from the overall unity of the scheme. In the 18th
century, however, occupiers and looters damaged some sections of the
palace. After the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, when the Fort was used as a
headquarters, the British army occupied and destroyed many of its
pavilions and gardens. A program for restoring the surviving parts of
the fort began in 1903.
The Diwan I Khas, or Hall of Private Audiences. The walls of the fort
are smoothly dressed, articulated by heavy string-courses along the
upper section. They open at two major gates, the Delhi and the Lahore
gates. The Lahore Gate is the main entrance; it leads to a long
covered bazaar street, the Chatta Chowk, whose walls are lined with
stalls for shops. The Chatta Chowk leads to a large open space where
it crosses the large north-south street that was originally the
division between the fort's military functions, to its west, and the
palaces, to its east. The southern end of this street is the Delhi
Gate. On axis with the Lahore gate and the Chatta Chowk, on the
eastern side of the open space, is the Naqqar Khana ("drum house"),
the main gate for the palace, named for the musicians' gallery above
it. Beyond this gate is another, larger open space, which originally
served as the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Am, the large pavilion for
public imperial audiences. An ornate throne-balcony for the emperor
stands at the center of the eastern wall of the Diwan, conceived as a
copy of the throne of Solomon.
The imperial private apartments lie behind the throne. The apartments
consist of a row of pavilions that sits on a raised platform along the
eastern edge of the fort, looking out onto the river Yamuna. The
pavilions are connected by a continuous water channel, known as the
Nahr-i-Behisht, or the Stream of Paradise, that runs through the
center of each pavilion. The water is drawn from the river Yamuna,
from a tower, the Shah Burj, at the northeastern corner of the fort.
The palace is designed as an imitation of paradise as it is described
in the Koran; a couplet repeatedly inscribed in the palace reads, "If
there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here". The planning of
the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals
in its architectural elements the Hindu influences typical of Mughal
building. The palace complex of the Red Fort is counted among the best
examples of the Mughal style at its Shah Jahani peak.
The Red Fort by night. The two southernmost pavilions of the palace
are zenanas, or women's quarters: the Mumtaz Mahal (now a museum), and
the larger, lavish Rang Mahal, which has been remarked for its gilded,
decorated ceiling and marble pool, fed by the Nahr-i-Behisht. The
third pavilion from the south, the Khas Mahal, contains the imperial
chambers. These include a suite of bedrooms, prayer rooms, a veranda,
and the Mussaman Burj, a tower built against the fortress walls, from
which the emperor would show himself to the people in a daily
ceremony. The next pavilion is the Diwan-i-Khas, the lavishly
decorated hall of private audience, used for ministerial and court
gatherings. This finest of the pavilions is ornamented with floral
pietra dura patterns on the columns, with precious stones and gilding.
A painted wooden ceiling has replaced the original one, of silver
inlaid with gold.
The next pavilion contains the hammam, or baths, in the Turkish style,
with Mughal ornamentation in marble and colored stones. To the west of
the hammam is the Moti Masjid, the Pearl Mosque. This was a later
addition, built in 1659 as a private mosque for Aurangzeb, Shah
Jahan's successor. It is a small, three-domed mosque in carved white
marble, with a three-arched screen which steps down to the courtyard.
To its north lies a large formal garden, the Hayat Bakhsh Bagh, or
'Life-Bestowing Garden', which is cut through by two bisecting
channels of water. A pavilion stands at either end of the north-south
channel, and a third, built in 1842 by the last emperor, Bahadur Shah
Zafar, stands at the center of the pool where the two channels meet.
Modern day significance
The Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Delhi,
attracting millions of tourists every year. The fort is also the site
from which the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on August
15, the day India achieved independence from United Kingdom.
At one point of time, more than 3000 people lived within the premises
of the Delhi Fort complex. But after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the
fort was captured by Britain and was made the headquarters of the
British Indian Army. After India achieved independence in 1947, the
Indian Army took control over the fort. However, in December 2003, the
Indian Army handed the fort over to the Indian tourist authorities