The Red Fort is a historical fortification within the Delhi area. Shah Jahan constructed it within the year 1639 as a result of a capital shift from Agra to Delhi. Used as the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty, this imposing piece of architecture derives its name from its impregnable red sandstone walls. Additionally, to accommodate the emperors and their households, it had been the ceremonial and political centre of the Mughal state and also the setting for events critically impacting the region. Today, this monument is home to many museums that have an assortment of precious artefacts on display. Every year, the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the emblem here on Independence Day.
Formerly referred to as Quila-e-Mubarak or the Blessed Fort, the Red Fort lies along the banks of the river Yamuna, whose waters surround the fort. It was a component of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad, popularly known today as ‘Old Delhi’. The whole fort complex is claimed to represent the architectural creativity and brilliance of Mughal architecture. With most history and heritage related to it, the Red Fort is one of the foremost popular monuments in India and a significant tourist attraction in Delhi. It became the UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. The Archaeological Survey of India is at the moment liable for the protection and preservation of this magnificent monument.
The architecture of Red Fort
Combining features of Indian, Persian and Timurid styles of architecture, the Red Fort is a monument par excellence. The architect of the Red Fort was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, who also designed the mausoleum. It’s surrounded by a 2 km perimeter wall which acted as an efficient defence. The structure of the fort is octagonal, and it’s several gates, the prominent ones being Lahori, Ajmeri, Kashmiri, Mori, Turkman and Delhi gates.
The Red Fort has several structures inside its premises. The foremost well-known among these is the Diwan-i-Aam, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Moti Masjid and therefore the Nahr-i-Bahisht (stream of paradise).
The ‘Diwan-i-Am’ also called ‘Hall of Public Audience’ may be a rectangular hall consisting of three aisles, with a façade of nine arches. Originally there have been six marble palaces along the eastern waterfront. A water channel, named the Nahr-i-Bahisht (‘Stream of Paradise’) runs through it, with an ivory fountain fitted with a central marble basin. The Mumtaz-Mahal now houses the Delhi Fort Museum. The Diwan-i-Khas (‘Hall of personal Audience’) could be a beautifully decorated pillared hall, with a flat ceiling supported by engrailed arches. Peacock Throne is alleged to be kept here before being abstracted by Nadir Shah. The Hammam (‘Bath’) consists of three sections divided by corridors. The entire interior and also the floor is constructed of marble and inlaid with coloured stones. Moti-Masjid (‘Pearl Mosque’), added later by Aurangzeb is to the west of the Hamman. The red-stone pavilion within the middle of the tank within the centre of the Hayat-Bakhsh-Bagh is termed Zafar-Mahal and was built by Bahadur Shah II in about 1842.
Most of those buildings were inlaid with precious stones and complex floral motifs. The unique cusped arches, highly intricate ornamentation and also double domes are the foremost important features of the Red Fort’s architecture, something which became a trademark of Shahjahani architecture.
History of Red Fort
The construction of Red Fort began within the holy month of Muharram, on 13 May 1638. It took nine years to create, and under the supervision of Shahjahan, the Fort was completed on 6 April 1648. To contain the older Salimgarh Fort inside its boundaries, the walls were built asymmetrical, unlike the other Mughal buildings.
It remained the seat of Imperial Mughal Rule till 1857 when the Nice Revolt transpired. It consists of several other structures which were built during Shah Jahan’s life, and a few which were added by the later rulers. His son and successor Aurangzeb, added the Pearl Mosque or the Moti Masjid to the fort complex when he took over because of the emperor after a fierce War of succession between him and his three brothers.
The Fort saw its degradation after the rule of Aurungzeb was over. In 1712, another ruler Farrukhsiyar replaced its silver ceiling with copper. In 1739, the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah invaded Delhi and looted the Red Fort, confiscating with himself the dear Peacock throne. The Fort was captured, plundered and attacked several times between 1739 and 1857 by Ahmad Shah, Marathas, Sikhs and also the British. To lift funds for the defence of armies from Ahmad Shah Durrani, Marathas sold the silver ceiling of Diwan-e-Khas in 1760. The Fort was the seat of Mughals for over 200 years, but after the revolt of 1857, the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II was exiled to Rangoon. He was the last Mughal resident of the Fort and therefore the symbol of the 1857 rebellion against the country within which Shahjahanabad residents participated. This marked the tip of the Mughals.
The fort was then occupied by British people Colonial Rulers, who invaded plenty of precious artefacts like the Kohinoor diamond, the Jade Wine Cup of Shah Jahan and also the crown of Bahadur Shah II. They planned scientific destruction of the Fort including destroying furniture, gardens, harem apartments and servant quarters. Apart from the white marble buildings, the majority of the inner structure was destroyed. Later in 1899, when Lord Curzon became the Viceroy of India, he ordered the building to be restored and gardens were also restored.
After the British left India, the primary Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru raised the emblem from Lahori Gate and since then, every Independence and Republic day witnesses the Prime Minister unfurling the flag and giving his ceremonial speech at the Red Fort.