Red Fort (Lal Qila)

From being the epicenter of Mughal Empire to the Headquarters of British Indian Army to being the symbol of Independent India and a World Heritage Site, few monuments from India’s glorious past still hold such a symbolic value in today’s India as Lal Qila (Red Fort).

Constructed by Shah Jahan in 1639 A.D, the layout of the Red Fort was organized to retain and integrate this site with the Salimgarh Fort. The fortress palace is an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad. The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of Emperor Shahjahan.

The Red Fort was the palace for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad, the seventh Muslim city in Delhi. 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 fort lies along the Yamuna River, which fed the moats that surround most of the wall. Construction on the Red Fort began in 1638 and was complete by 1648. However, it is believed that it is the ancient city of Lal Kot which was captured by Shah Jahan since Lal Kot literally means Red (Lal) Fort (Kot). Lal Kot was the capital city of Prithviraj Chauhan in the late 12th century.

red fort (lal qila)

Lahor Gate is the main entrance to the Lal Quila (Red Fort):

lahor gate, entrance to red fort

Diwan-I-Am was the place where Mughal Emperor used to conduct his darbar. It contained delicately inlaid and carved marble Jharoka or the Imperial Throne. It was here that the celebrations of the inauguration of the fort took place.

This hall was originally covered over with a coat of burnished white shell lime plaster, its ceiling and columns were painted with gold. The emperor in his throne was separated from the courtiers in the hall by a gold plated railing and a silver railing was erected on the three side of the hall.

The Diwan-I-am consists of a front hall open on three sides, backed by a set of rooms faced in red sandstone. The hall is divided into 27 square bays on a system of columns which support the arches. The roof is spanned by beams of sandstone.

dewan-i-am

interiors of diwan-i-am at the red fort

The Marble Jharoka or the Imperial Throne of Mughal Empreor in Diwan-I-Am in Red Fort.

imperial throne of mughal empreor at red fort

The Diwan-I-Khas or the Hall of Private Audience was used by the Mughal Emperor for giving private audience to the courtiers and state guests. The marble piers of the hall bear excellent inlay work and painted designs. The ceiling, which was originally inlaid with silver and gold, was painted in 1911.

The celebrated Peacock throne which was removed by Nadir Shah in 1739 once stood on the marble pedestal in the hall.

diwan-i-khas at red fort

interior of diwan-i-khas

Photograph of the Marble Pedestal in Diwan-I-Khas (Lal Qila), where the celebrated Peacock throne which was removed by Nadir Shah in 1739, once stood.

diwan-i-khas-interior-throne

Moti Majid (Pearl Mosque) was built in Red Fort in1659 as a private mosque for the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

moti masjid at red fort

How to reach: Red Fort (Lal Qila) is located in Old Delhi directly opposite Chandni Chowk, one can take the metro to Chandni Chowk and then walk/take cycle rickshaw for roughly half a kilometer to reach the Red Fort. Alternatively you can also take a bus/auto/taxi. The GPS coordinates for Red Fort are 28.655891, 77.241032.