The biggest monument of Delhi is the Lal Quila, or the Red Fort, which is made up of red sandstone, bulging with turrets and bastions was the mute witness of several cabals, battles, scandals.... and still withstood firmly with the vagaries of nature and time. It is located along the river Yamuna in the northeast corner of of original city of Shahjahanabad now known as old Delhi. It is a mammoth structure, wall extend up to two kilometers and height of 18 meters on the river side and 33 meters on the city side. During Mughal era the Yamuna river used to flow on the eastern side of the fort therefore, filled up the moat, which was a good obstacles for a foe.
Lal Quila or Red Fort was credited to Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He built this mammoth structure after he transfered his capital from Agra to Shahajahnbad, royal architect Ustad Hamid and Ahmed prudently designed this fort. The Red Fort was well-planned to combat with enemies, it has huge walls and all the trappings.
The wall of the fort are smoothly dressed and open to two gates, one is Lahore and always has a special significance to Indian freedom movement as this gate witnessed so many freedom speeches and activities since the first war of independence in 1857. The Lahore gate is baronial structure laid by semi-octagonal towers. Lahore gate has several apartments inside it and it is believed that the large bronze-covered wooden door of the gate was so heavy that elephants were used to open and close the doors. The Lahore gate leads to Chatta Chowk popularly known as Meena Bazaar, was a prestigious shopping hub at Mughal era and still attracts tourists for its artistic objects. Main attraction of shops here are jeweleries, carpets and different artifacts. Just beyond the Chhata Chowk, Naubat Khana, which is also known as Drum House. This was the place where emperor spent umpteen hours listening to his musicians. The music gallery was decorated with large number of musical instruments of that era like kettledrums,hautboys (shenai)and huge cymbals. the place was also an important significance as from here royalty and festivities were harbingered. Rectangular Naubat Khana’s walls were designed in stone and originally painted in gold. The first floor of Naubat Khana is now converted into a War Memorial Museum, which has arms and ornaments of Mughal era. Also having painting of different Mughal rulers and a brief description of First War Of Independence.
Diwan-i-Amor or the Hall of Public Audiences was a place to watch. Here the emperor listened to common people complaints. The wall was marble –paneled and decorated with precious stones although much of stones were looted during the mutiny of 1857.
The Diwan-i-Khas or Hall Of Private Audiences was the place where emperor Shah Jahan had private meetings with his ministers. This marble carved hall had a center attraction that was the Peacock Throne, which was Nadir Shah took away to Iran in 1739. Diwan-i-Khas of todat still preserce the relics of past and remind us of its grandeur.
Other attractions of this Fort was the ‘hammam’ or royal baths was known as Shahi Burj, that was supposed to be emperor’s private area. Till date the grandiosity of the structure shows the lavish life of Mughals. Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque is another structure built by last illustrated Mughals, Aurengzeb who used it for his personal use. The Rang Mahal or house of colors was specially designed for the wives and mistresses of emperors.
The Red Fort lost most of its splendor during the First War Of Independence in 1857 when British occupied red Fort and demolished number of palaces and structures and massive barracks of soldiers were constructed inside the fort. Despite of being razed by battles, Red Fort still reflects the zenith of Mughal’s grandiose and craftsmanship. Red Fort is now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. Recently, Red Fort has been given the heritage status by UNESCO on 21st of June 2007.
Even today, Lal Quila or Red Fort speaks loud of Mughal’s glory and the structure and interior is simply awesome. One of the sought after monument in Delhi welcomes tons of travelers across the world every year.
How to reach
By air: Delhi's Indira Gandhi Airport is well connected with major destination of the world and country.
By Train: There are two stations, New Delhi and Old Delhi. Connected with most of the major stations of India.
By Bus: Kashmere Gate is the major bus terminal, Red Fort is near Chandni Chowk.