Red Fort (Lal Qila)

Red Fort in Delhi

The Symbol of India Lal Quila also called the Red Fort is one of the most important monuments of India. It stands on the bank of river Yamuna. The whole structure is made of Red stone. The fort was built by Shahjahan - the Mughal King who also built the famous Taj Mahal - in 1648. Shahjahan called it the Uru-Muhalla. Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and Red Fort was the new capital. Lal Quila stands at the eastern side of Shahjahanabad and the very name of "Lal Quila" comes from the huge wall that encloses the whole structure. The wall is 2.5 km long and the height varies from 16 meters on the river side to 33 meters towards the city.

One of the special attraction of the fort is the huge wall that encompasses the whole structure. The walls have two entrances, one at the delhi gate and the other at the Lahore gate. Lahore Gate is the main entrance point of the fort, leading to Chatta Chowk. It is a coveres bazaar street where merchnats sold their goods to the nobles of the court.

As you move along the passage of Chatta Chowk, you will come across Naqqar Khana, also called drum house. This place was used by the musicians who played thieir bands every day. The place now is used as a war museum. There is another open space along the main entrance path which served as the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Am. An ornate throne balcony can be seen at the eastern wall of the Diwan-i-Am. Nobles used to gather here facing each other depending on their ranks and hierarchy. The emperor used to sit above with royal princes occupying the place next to the throne and the wazirs used to sit on the marble takht below the throne. The architectural design behind the Emperor's throne was done by French artists which was a major attraction in alomost every Mughal architecture. You could also see the rings that were used for curtains possibly to keep the hall off the sunlight.

A gateway called Lal Purdah can be seen on the left of the Diwan-i-Am which was the way out of the court. The gate was used by Emperor's important members in the court and were called Lal Purdaris.

On the left you will find a royal bath. Close to the royal bath, there is a mosque or private royal chapel. The mosque was built by Auranzeb which was used for offering prayers.

Behind the throne, you will find the imperial apartments which consist of a row of pavilions. These pavilions are covered by continuous water channels called the Nahr-i-Behisht. There is a tower called Shah Burj at the north east corner of the fort which acts as a source for water from the river Yamuna to these water channels. The whole design within the palace is based on the theme of "Paradise- as described in the Koran. An inscription within the palace reads "If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here". Hindu influence of Mughal Architecture can be seen in all the pavilions despite the fact that the palace was built with Islamic architectural prototypes.

Palace garden at the Red Fort is one of the main attractions as it gives you a glimpse of the great Mughal garden. The garden is also called the Hayat Baksh garden. Another gardens in the palace is the Moonlight Garden or the Mehtab Bagh. It was called Moonligh Garden because the garden was full of flowers that blossomed during the moonlight.

Another pavilion is Diwan-i-Khas, a lavishly decorated hall that was used for mistrial and court gatherings. It is the best among all the pavilions because of its architecture specialty which includes designs with floral pietra patterns on the columns and the wooden painted ceiling. There is a carving on the marbles of Baithak, called the sitting space. The place was used by the emperor to entertain his friends and people close to him. The balcony on the top, also called the Jharoka, was used by the emperor to address the crowd.

As you move beyond the private apartments, you will notice a palace called the Rang Mahal or the Palace of Colors. The palace belonged to Padshah Begum. Beyond the Rang Mahal, there is a building which has now been converted into a museum. The museum contains reminiscence of the great Mughal era, the costumes and the pictures of the Mughal era.

Red Fort has a lot to offer to the visitors. There are many things that can only be seen and witnessed. You must visit the fort once and get to learn a lot about the great Mughal architecture. Being among the top tourist destination of Delhi, Red Fort attracts thousands of visitors every year. Above all, the Red Fort has a very important purpose in the democracy of India. It is the site that is used for celebrating the Independance Day. The Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on August 15 from this very historical monument.

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