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Red Fort, New Delhi: A Travel Guide

Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Delhi. The Red sandstone fortifications of the enormous Red Fort which rises 33-m above the shouts and screams of Old Delhi, acts as a reminder of the glorious power and spectacle of the Mughal emperors, and thus it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world, every year. It is also the largest monument in Old Delhi.

Red Fort, Delhi by alexfurr
Red Fort, Delhi by alexfurr - Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Location:Red Fort is located at Netaji Subhash Marg in Chandni Chowk, which is a very popular site of Old Delhi.

Built by: Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor.

Built in: During the 17th Century.

Highlights: Sound and light show depicting Mughal Empires, Indian war memorial Museum

How to Reach: From the capital city, local transport is easily available to the Red Fort. Besides the Delhi Metro Chandni Chowk station is the nearest metro station to the Red Fort from where reach the fort within 10 minutes by road. From the Delhi airport you can reach the fort within 30-35 minutes by road.

Best time to visit: Due to the scorching heat of New Delhi in summers, winters are the best season to visit the Red Fort.

Entry Fee: 10 INR for Indian Nationals and 250 INR for Foreign Nationals (25 INR extra for video)

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset (Closed on Monday)

Introduction

Built by the Mughals, in the 17th century, The Red Fort is one of the most remarkable structures present in modern day Delhi.

Lahore Gate, the main gate, is one of the symbolic and emotional focal point of the modern Indian nation. Huge crowd of public gathers around it, every year, on Independence Day.

Inside is a veritable treasure trove of buildings, including the Hall of Public Audiences, the white marble Hall of Private Audiences, Drum House, Royal Baths, Palace of Color  and the Pearl Mosque. The vaulted arcade of Chatta Chowk, a bazaar selling tourist trinkets, leads into the huge fort compound.

The sound and light show in the evening gives a dramatic representation of Mughal Empire and recreates the events connected with the fort.

History of the Red Fort
The Red Fort was constructed by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 17th century and it served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors and the palace for Shah Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad.

Shah Jahan ordered the construction of the Red Fort in 1638 when he shifted the capital of India from Agra to Delhi and Ustad Ahmad was chosen as the architect.

The construction was completed by 1648 and it was originally titled as "Qila-i-Mubarak". Shah Jahan's successor, Aurangzeb, built barbicans in front of the two main gates, thus making the entrance route to the fort more circuitous. He also added the Moti Masjid to emperor’s private quarters.

Aurangzeb’s dictatorial rule led to the downfall of Mughals rule and thus, there was a collapse of palace and inhabitants of Red Fort. After a span of 30 years, in 1712, Jahandar Shah took over the Red Fort and a year later he was murdered and replaced by Farukhsiyar.

By 1783, the throne of Red Fort kept changing hands between the Marathas and Mughals, after which the Sikh Misl Karorisinghia, led by Baghel Singh Dhaliwal, conquered Delhi and the Red Fort. Sikhs signed a deal with Mughals giving the throne of Red Fort to Shah Alam, only if they agree to protect and construct seven Gurudwaras in Delhi.

In 1803, the Britishers gained control over the administration of Mughal Empire. Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal emperor to occupy the fort.

Significant Structures at Red Fort

Diwan-i-Aam
One of the most interesting sites of Red fort, Diwan-i-Aam or the all of Public Audiences acted as the Mughal emperor’s confession room. The Emperor would listen to the pleas and requests of the common public in this hall. It was also used for various state functions during the Mughal rule. There are many more interesting structures behind the Diwan-i-Aam in the courtyard.

Hayat Bakhsh Bagh
The Mughals constructed the Hayat Bakhsh Bagh or “Life-bestowing Garden” at red Fort to symbolically represent paradise on Earth. The garden comprises of aesthetically carved structures and beautifully grown flowers and tress of various species that are a must-watch sight.

Diwan-i-Khas
Diwan-I-Khas or the Hall of Private audiences was used by the Mughal emperors to hold their private meetings with courtiers and state guests.

Diwan-i-Khas, Red Fort
Diwan-i-Khas by mike matthews, via Wikimedia Commons
Delhi Gate
Delhi gate is the Southern public gate from which the tourists can enter the Red Fort.

Moti Masjid
Moti masjid or the Pearl mosque was built by Aurangzeb, in 1659, which is a small mosque carved with white marble.To the west of the hammam is the Moti Masjid, the Pearl Mosque.

Lahore Gate
This acts as the main gate of Red Fort and from the ramparts of Lahore Gate, the Prime Minister of the country gives his Independence Day speech.

Zenana
Zenanas or the women’s quarters are the southernmost pavilions of the palace. The women of the palace used to reside in the Zenanas during the Mughal Empire.

Significance of Red Fort today
The aesthetics, planning and construction of the Red Fort symbolizes the pinnacle of Mughal creativity that was prevalent during the rule of Mughals in India.

After India gained independence The Red Fort continued to be under the control of Indian Army which they used as their cantonment till 22 December 2003. Now it is handed over for restoration and preservation to the Archaeological Survey of India.

Prime Minister of India hoists the National Flag at Red Fort every year on 15th August which is celebrated as India’s Independence Day, after which he gives his national speech.

Also, The Red Fort acts as a tourist site for the public which shows a light and sound show every evening depicting Mughal history. Today, a sound and light show describing Mughal history is a popular tourist attraction in the evenings.

Also, people can witness the archaeological and Indian war memorial museum which is filled with “blood paintings” that depict the story of young Indian martyrs. The retail mall at Lahore Gate is also a popular tourist attraction at Red Fort.

Interested in knowing more about the top 10 forts in India? Click here

[Explore Delhi Tour Packages at IndianHoliday.com]

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