About Red Fort
Shah Jahan shifted his capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad and laid the foundation of Red Fort, or the Lal Quila, on 16th April 1639. It took nine years to build this mighty citadel and it got completed on 16th April 1648.From the western gateway after passing through the vaulted arcade, called Chhatta-Chowk, one reaches the Naubat- or Naqqar-Khana (‘Drum-house’), where ceremonial music was played and which also served as the entrance to the Diwan-i-’Am. Its upper storey is now occupied by the Indian War Memorial Museum.Built of red sandstone,
The Red Fort or the Lal Qila more famously known amongst the locals has an irregular octagonal shape. Its rampart walls cover a perimeter of 2.41 Kms and rise to a height of 33.5 mtrs on the town side and 18 mtrs on the riverside. The Yamuna River used to flow on the eastern side of the Red Fort when it was built, filling the moat that runs outside the ramparts. The moat was thus a considerable obstacle for an enemy army. However, the moat today remains empty as the river has moved, over 1 km to the east.
It is said that about one crore rupees, an astronomical sum in those days, was spent on its construction. Half of this sum was spent to build the exotic palaces within the fort. Built of red sandstone, it is octagonal in shape, with two longer sides on the east and west. In 1638 Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi. It is enclosed by a rubble stone wall, with bastions, gates and wickets at intervals.
The remaining palaces lie along the eastern side of the fort, with two three-storeyed main gateways located at the center of the western and southern walls. These gates are known as Lahore Gate and Delhi Gate. There are three other entrances on other sides but they are now closed and entry through them is restricted.This great fort on the banks of Jamuna, built by Shahjahan as the citadel of the seventh Delhi founded by him, then known as Shahjahanabad and now old Delhi, is a significant link between the past and the present, for it is from here that the prime minister of India addresses the people on the Independence Day, which is August 15th.
The main entrance to the Lal Quila is through the Lahori Gate. Beyond the gate, there is a roofed passage, flanked by arcaded apartments leading to the palaces, known as Chhatta Chowk. These apartments are now used as shops. Besides these, there are three more gates on other sides, which are kept closed now. The master builders of the Red Fort were Hamid and Ahmad. Visitors are allowed only in a part of Red Fort, as the army occupies the rest of it. Some of the main buildings within the fort are given bellow.
The Lahore Gate
The Lahore Gate of the palace is veiled by the Babar added by Aurangzeb, a Mughal emperor. The gate is from where the Prime Minister addresses the nation and unfurls the National Flag on August 15, Independence Day.
The entrance of the Gate leads through a long covered bazaar called the Chatta Chowk. From Chatta Chowk follows the Naqqar Khana(Drum Room) also called Naubat Khana or the Welcome Room, which earlier formed part of a square enclosure with apartments for the umrah (Nobles) on duty. It was at this point that everyone other than the Emperor had to dismount from their elephants and walk towards the magnificent Diwan-e-Am(hall of public audience) where the Emperor used to listen to the grievances of the common man.
The Naqqar Khana is 49 feet high with an open arched hall at the top which served as a music gallery from where the strains of music filtered down to welcome the Emperor or to bid him a safe journey. The War Memorial Museum is housed on the first floor. The Diwan-e-Am is built of red sandstone and is set atop an impressive plinth. The southwest and northwest corners of the pavilion are articulated by small chhattris.
The Fort also houses the Diwan-i-Am or “the Hall of Public Audiences”, where the Emperor would sit and hear complaints of the common folk. His alcove in the wall was marble-paneled, and was set with precious stones, many of which were looted, after the Mutiny of 1857.
The Diwan-i-Khas is “the Hall of Private Audiences”, where the Emperor held private meetings. This hall is made of marble, and its center-piece used to be the “Peacock Throne”, which was carried away to Iran by Nadir Shah in 1739. Today, the Diwan-i-Khas is only a pale shadow of its original glory, yet the famous Persian couplet inscribed on its wall reminds us of its former magnificence: “If on earth be an eden on bliss, it is this, it is this, none but this.”
Light and Sound
The main attraction of the Red Fort is the Sound and Light Show that tells tales of its historical past and narrated in Hindi and English for foreign tourists. The fort is opened for public viewing from Sunday to Tuesday and closed on Mondays. The entry fee for Indian residents is only Rs. 10/- whereas for Foreign Nationals is US $5.00 or Rs. 250/- (entry fees are subject to change). For video filming, the charge is Rs. 25/- for each camera and one can spend the entire day from 1000 hours to 1600 hours during its preferred visitation time.A sound and light show is held every evening giving an idea of the Mughal history, both in Hindi and English. The timings for summer Hindi 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and English 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., and for the winter they are in Hindi 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and English 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
General Fact about Red Fort
- Location:Netaji Subhash Marg, Near Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi
- Time to Visit: Open on all days except Monday, from sunrise to sunset
- Preferred Timings:10 am – 4 pm
- Day Closed:Open all Days
- Admission Fee: INR 11 for Indian citizens / INR 100 for foreigners (including the tickets of all the 3 museums inside).
- Parking: INR 10 for 4 hrs
- Photography Charges:INR 25
- Nearest Railway Station:Old Delhi Railway Station
- Nearest Metro Station:Chandni Chowk
- Nearest International Airport:Indira Gandhi Intenational Airport
- Time required for sightseeing:Approximately 2 hours
- Famous As :World Heritage Site
- Designed By :Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
- Also Known As:Qila-e-Mualla