May 12, 2012

Delhi Red Fort

Site Name: Red Fort
Site Type: Historical, Fort, monument, heritage
Location:  Delhi, India
Highlights: An important heritage symbol in Delhi; one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city
Nearest Railway Station: Delhi
Nearest Airport: Delhi
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: A lot of options are available within Delhi city
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the city

Shah Jahan, the famous Mughal Emperor who built Taj Mahal, the most famous tourist spot of India, shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi in 1638 CEand started constructing Shahjahanabad, the seventh cit of Delhi. On 16th April 1639, he laid the foundation of Lal-Qilaaka Red Fort, which can be considered as the pride of Delhi city, the capital of India. It took nine years (1648 CE)to complete the construction and cost about one crore rupees.

As the red coloured stone is majorly used to construct the fort, it was named as Red Fort. The fort is octagonal in plan with a height of 33.5 m on the town side and 18 m along the river. Its rampart walls cover a perimeter of 2.41 km. A moat, originally connected with the river, runs outside the ramparts.

The main entrance of the fort lies through the Lahori gate and there is a roofed passage flanked by arcaded apartments called Chhatta Chowk (now used as shops). The other three entrances to the fort are closed. There are many buildings inside this massive fort. After Sepoy Mutiny, many structures were removed/vandalised by the British.



Naqqab-Khana:
Naqqab-Khana, which stands at the entrance of the palace area, was used for playing music five times a day. It's a large three storied red stone building, now housing the War Memorial Museum in its upper storey. The later Mughal kings Jahandar Shah (1712-13 CE) and Farrukhsiyar (1713-19 CE) were murdered here.

Diwan-I-Am:
Diwan-I-Am is the hall of public audience. The hall has an impressive facade of nine openings in the form of arches. The emperor used to receive the general public here. The marble dais lies below, was used by the prime minister. The wall has beautiful panels inlaid with multicoloured stones, representing flowers and birds.



Mumtaz Mahal:

Mumtaz Mahal is one of the main palaces inside Red Fort. The lower half of walls and pillars of the palaces are built in marble.

Rang Mahal:

The Rang Mahal has a large hall which was originally painted on the interior and hence got the name which means 'palace of color'. Over the walls and ceilings of the six apartments of Rang Mahal, tiny pieces of mirrors are embedded. Hence, these apartments are called as Shish Mahal (house of mirrors).



Khas Mahal:

Khas Mahalis a private palace consisting of three parts. They were used by the emperor for private worship. There is a set of rooms used as sleeping chamber in this palace. There is a hall with painted walls and ceiling. There exists a beautiful marble screen at the northern end of the rooms.

Muthamman Burj:

Adjoining the eastern wall of sleeping chamber of Khas Mahal, a semi octagonal tower is found. It is called as Muthamman Burj. The emperor used to appear here every morning.

Diwan-i-Khas:

Diwan-i-Khasis the hall of private audience. The famous Peacock throne which was removed by Nadir Shah was originally located in this hall. The famous inscription of Amir Khusraw "If there be a paradise on the earth, it is this, it is this, it is this' is inscribed in a wall in this palace.



Hammam:

On the north of Diwan-i-Khas lies the bathroom set aka Hammam. It consists of three aparments and was built with marble inlaid with floral patterns of multi-coloured stones. The two rooms on either sides of the present entrance were used by the royal children for their bath. The eastern apartment, with three fountain basins, was used as the dressing room. One of the fountain basin was believed to have emitted rose water. The western apartment was used for hot or vapour bath.

Moti Masjid:

Moti Masjid (means 'pearl mosque') was built by Aurangazeb for his personal use. It is a small mosque located to the west of the Hammam.

Hayat-Bakhs Garden:

The northern side of Moti Masjid is occupied by a garden called the Hayat Bakshs Bag, which is divided into squares. A domeless tower called Shah Burj is found in a corner. A pavilion named Hira Mahal is found on the elevated strip of land.

When you go to Delhi, never miss to visit this historically significant and architecturally excellent site.

Happy travelling.


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