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Red Fort Delhi


Red Fort Delhi


  • The Red Fort is in Delhi, India. For about 200 years it was the official residence of the Mughal emperors till 1857. It is called Red Fort because its massive surrounding walls are made of red sandstone. In Hindi language red is translated as Lal and fort is translated as Qila. Therefore Red Fort is translated as “Lal Qila”. Red Fort was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007. It is the biggest monument in Delhi and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. The Red Fort is among the most beautiful and well designed forts all over the world.

History

  • Shah Jahan made a decision in 1638 to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi and started construction of the Red Fort along the Yamuna River. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri was appointed as the Chief Designer. Construction started on 13 May 1638 and was completed after ten years in 1648. To have the older Salimgarh Fort, the boundary walls of the Red Fort are not symmetrical like other Mughal forts. Its aesthetics and planning symbolize the peak of Mughal vision during Shah Jahan's rule.
  • After Shah Jahan’s son, Aurangzeb the fiscal and administrative set up of the Mughals declined. To raise funds the Marathas removed and melted the silver ceiling of the Diwan-i-Khas in 1760. Sikhs conquered Delhi and the Red Fort in 1783. The Sikhs agreed to vacate the fort on the condition that the Mughals would build and protect 7 Gurudwaras in Delhi.
  • Delhi was under control of Marathas till 1803 when they were defeated by British East India Company’s forces. Bahadur Shah II was the last Mughal emperor to live in the fort. The rebellion against the British failed in 1857. Bahadur Shah II was captured by British forces. He was placed in the Red Fort as a prison and was exiled to Rangoon on 7 October, 1857. Valuables from the palaces were plundered by the British. Gardens and servants' quarters were destroyed, all furniture was destroyed or removed.

Architecture

  • The Red Fort is spread over an area of 254.67 acres surrounded by 2.41 kilometres of walls which vary in height from 33 metres on the city side to 18 metres on the river side. The fort is octagonal, the north-south axis is longer compared to the east-west axis. The double domes, floral decorations and marble in the fort's buildings represent Mughal architecture.
  • It shows very high level of ornamentation. Artwork of the fort synthesizes Indian, European and Persian art creating an exclusive Shahjahani style rich in colour, expression and form. Red Fort is among the Indian building complexes summarizing a very long period of its arts and history.
  • The main entrance is the Lahore Gate which leads to a domed shopping area called the Chatta Chowk (covered bazaar). The Khizrabad Gate was used by the emperor. The Delhi and Lahore Gates were used by the general public.



Red Fort Delhi


Major structures

  • The royal apartments on the eastern riverbank, the audience halls, the main gates, the ramparts and walls are the most important surviving structures.

Lahore Gate

  • It is named as Lahore Gate because it is directed towards the Pakistani city of Lahore. It is the main gate where on 15th of August every year, Indian Prime Minister raises the national flag and addresses the nation.

Delhi Gate

  • It is similar to the Lahore Gate. The Delhi Gate is the southern gate for general public. On either side of the gate, two life-size stone elephants face each other.

Water Gate

  • The Water Gate is at the southeastern end of the walls. Earlier it was on the riverbank; even though since the construction of the fort, the river has changed course, the name has not been changed.