The Red Fort-The Lal Quila
Red Fort is one of the spectacular pieces of Mughal architecture. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1639 on the western bank of the river Yamuna. It is the largest monument in Old Delhi, resisting time and climate. It rises above the northeast corner of the original city of Shahjahanabad.
The planning and artistic work of the Red Fort represents the zenith of Mughal creativity during Emperor Shahjahan’s reign. The fort has many developments added on after its construction. The significant phases of development were under Emperor Aurangzeb. After the revolution of 1857 against the British rule, important physical changes were carried out in the overall settings of the site.
For nearly 200 years, Red Fort was the residence of different Mughal Emperors of India. In addition to accommodating them and their households, it was the ritual and political centre of Mughal government.
The walls of the fort open at two major gates, the Delhi Gate and the Lahore Gate. The Lahore Gate is the main entrance that leads to a long covered bazaar street called ‘Chatta Chowk’. The Chatta Chowk leads to a large open space where it crosses the large North South Street. The southern end of the street is the Delhi Gate.
Red Fort is irregular octagonal in plan. It comprises 2 long sides on the East and West and 6 small ones on the North and South. Its circumference is about 1.5 miles, with length from North to South of about 3.200 feet and breadth from East to West about 1,800 feet. On the riverfront, the walls are 90 feet in height. The ditch is 75 feet deep. It was filled with water during the wartime.
The reign of Shahjahan was the golden period of architecture. The ability of the skilled artisans gave birth to some of the best architectural works. However, the construction of Red Fort was completed after nine years and three months at a cost of almost ten million rupees. Shahjahan led the celebrations for the inauguration of the fort and covered it with silk from China and velvet from Turkey.
Red Fort is an iconic symbol of India. Its most important surviving structures are the walls, the main gates, the audience halls and the imperial apartments on the eastern riverbank. On our Independence Day, the Prime Minister hoists the national flag at the main gate of the fort and delivers a national speech. Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Integrating the best architectural designs, construction methods, details and skills, Red Fort shows signs of the magnificence and glory of the era.