Red Fort Delhi, India - Delhi's landmark monument, the Red Fort or Lal Qila was built as the palace complex for Shah Jahan, who wished to re-locate his capital from Agra. The new headquarters of the Mughal administration were built along the north-western wall of the old Salimgarh Fort. The construction of the fort began in 1638, and was completed in 10 years, incorporating all the elements of the grandiose lifestyle pursued by Shah Jehan. A two and a half kilometer long wall varying in height from 16 to 33 metres runs around the complex, separated from the rest of the city by a wide moat.
Facing the city of Lahore in Pakistan, the main gate of the Red Fort opens into the Chatta Chowk or the Meena Bazaar where skilled jewelers, weavers and carpet makers enchanted the ladies of the court with their wares. The Chhatta Chowk leads on to the Drum House or the Naubat Khana, where musicians announced the arrival of the Emperor.
The Diwan-i-Am, and the Diwan-i-Khas, meeting rooms for the public and private council respectively were given their due in the construction of the new capital. The Diwan-i-Khas has superbly crafted walls and pillars. The famed Peacock Throne, or the Takht-e-Khaus was housed in the Diwan-i-Am, a magnificent seat for the Emperor studded with sapphires, rubies, emeralds, pearls and the Koh-i-noor diamond.
The royal baths or the hammams' are another interesting feature of the Red Fort. Three large rooms with high domes and a fountain, including a sauna are adjacent to the Diwan-i-Khas. The Turkish style baths were built in marble, and studded with semi-precious stones.
The private apartments of the royals, built at a higher level than the rest of the fort were designed to afford a view of the River Yamuna. The Nehr-i-Behisht is a stream running through the chambers flowing down from the Shahi Burj tower, symbolic of the stream of paradise referred to in the Quran. The ladies quarters, or the zenanas are restricted to the southern end of the apartment complex.
The Khas Mahal was the lavish chamber of the Emperor, and the Mussamman Burj tower was the site of a daily ritual during which he could be seen by the people.
The Pearl Mosque was the contribution of Aurangzeb to the Red Fort, a compact three domed mosque opening into the courtyard. The last emperor of the Mughal dynasty, Bahadur Shah Zafar had the Hayat Baksh Bagh garden developed in the northern section of the fort in 1842. This was perhaps the last addition to the Red Fort before it succumbed to British forces in the Revolt of 1857. The British destroyed large sections of the Fort, which were partially restored by Lord Curzon in 1903.
What to see
The old historic fort, three museums containing all the historic, antiques and ancient items. The age old stories that every stone bears. The light and sound in the evening will take you in the days of the historic India.
Open on all day except on Monday from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.
The admission fees is INR 11 for Indian Citizens and INR 100 for all the foreign citizens. The admission fee includes the entrance fee of the three museums inside the fort.