The Red Fort
The Red Fort is a historical monument located in the center of Delhi, which is also known as the Lal Qila, was constructed by one of the most famous Mughal emperors, Shah Jahan. Built on the banks of river Yamuna, the fortress-palace was designed by architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. It took 8 years and 10 months to build the magnificent fort. The fort served as the royal residence of the Mughal emperors from 1648 to 1857. It took over the honor of royal residence from the famous Agra Fort when Shah Jahan decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi.
The wall are made of red-sandstone walls, it is over 2.4 km in length and 16 meters in height cascading along the banks of the Yamuna River and surrounded by a canal. Spread across an area of 254.67 acres.
Prominent Structures within the Fort
From: Cultural India
Though as many as 66 percent of the structures within the fort were either destroyed or badly damaged, the Red Fort still houses many historic edifices and some prominent ones are listed below:
- Mumtaz Mahal – Situated in the women’s quarters (zenana) of the fort, Mumtaz Mahal was one of the six palaces within the fort. All these palaces were built along the banks of Yamuna River and were interconnected by the Stream of Paradise. The Mumtaz Mahal was constructed using white marble and embellished with floral decorations. During the British rule, it was put to use as prison camp. Today, Red Fort Archaeological Museum has been set up inside this impressive building.
- Khas Mahal– The Khas Mahal was used as the emperor’s private residence. The palace was divided into three parts namely the chamber of telling beads, sitting room and sleeping chamber. The palace was decorated with white marble and floral embellishments and the ceiling was gilded. Khas Mahal was connected to ‘Muthamman Burj’, a tower from where the emperor would address his subjects or simply wave at them to acknowledge their presence.
- Rang Mahal– The Rang Mahal which literally translates to ‘Palace of Colors’ was built to house the emperor’s mistresses and wives. As the name suggests, the palace was made to look colorful with bright paints and ostentatious decorations. A marble basin, which was installed at the center of the palace, would welcome water flowing from the Stream of Paradise. A basement, under the palace, was used by the women to cool off during the summer.
- Hira Mahal – Built in 1842 by Bahadur Shah II, the Hira Mahal is probably one of the last structures to have been built by a Mughal emperor before the invasion of the British. It is a mere pavilion but has an interesting legend associated with it. According to the legend, Shah Jahan had hidden a diamond, meant for his first wife, in this very place. The diamond, which is not yet found, is said to be even more precious than the famed Kohinoor.
- Moti Masjid– Moti Masjid which literally translates to ‘Pearl Mosque’ was built by Aurangzeb for his personal use. Interestingly, the mosque was also used by the inhabitants of the Zenana. Constructed using white marble, Moti Masjid has three domes and three arches.
- Hammam– The Hammam is basically a building that housed the baths, used by the emperors. On the eastern apartment, stood the dressing room. In the western apartment, hot water used to flow through the taps. It is said that perfumed rose water was used for bathing purpose. The interiors of Hammam were embellished with floral designs and white marble.
It took us about one hour to do the whole walk and the entrance fee was 600 Rupees. We took time reading the different posts about different structures; you can also take a tour guide if you want more information. We decided not to take the tour guide, although we might have missed on some information that wasn’t on the information posts of different structures.
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (Monday Closed)
Hours: 9am to 6 pm
Entrance: Indian National- 50 Rupees Foreigners 600 Rupees
sights from Red Fort: