Red Fort – History and Legacy
Red Fort or Lal Qila was constructed by Shah Jahan in April, 1638 at Shahjahanabad, city of Shah Jahan, in present days well know as Old Delhi, India. The fort is built next to an Old Salimgarh Fort.
After 11 years of reign, Shah Jahan decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi on the bank of river Yamuna. As it was the golden period of Mughal Empire, Red Fort was constructed in 9 years under the personal supervision of Shah Jahan. The construction started in 1638 AD and ended in 1648 AD. Glory of India, Red ford standing tall painted with colors, embedded with jewels and precious stones. Red Fort is emphasized with the red and white sand stone representing the earthy element of India, surrounded by the gardens and water channel which reflects harmony with nature.
Red Fort – Diwan-i-am, Diwan-e-khas, Rang Mahal, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh
More than a dwelling place for the king and courtiers, Red Fort was an administrative and political center for the Mughal Empire. Due to security issues Red Fort was planned as a city with in the city covering about 255 acres of land. It housed everything needed for courtiers and the royal families. Red Fort can be accessed by two gates known as Lahore gate and Delhi gate. Both gate leads to Nakar Khana (Music Hall), for the public entertainment and as a center of market with street running parallel on both sides with shops catering the daily need of people and it further leads to Diwan-i-Am, the center of the court for public where people come with their complains to get solutions.
Diwan-i-Khas, a private meetings hall, highly ornamented with jewels overlooking the river Yamuna.
Rang Mahal located on the opposite side of Diwan-i-Am is also a piece of elegance and beauty because of its ornamental decorations serving as a dwelling place for wife and mistresses.
Connecting Rang Mahal and Diwan-i-Am is the beautiful Hayat Bakhsh Garden, Red Fort, Delhi, for which Red fort is famous.
Red fort also houses Musammam Burj, Shahi Burj (Royal Tower), connected with emperors court Hammams (Royal Baths) and pavilions known as Sawan and Bhado. Moti Mahal was built later as a private mosque for Aurangzeb within the campus.
Red Fort – After Mughal Empire
After the reign of Aurangzeb, Mughal Empire started to weakens, predecessors of Mughal Empire were ineffective unlike their successors hence Delhi was invaded by Nadir Shah a Persian emperor. Red fort was devastated by Nadir Shah completely and after three months he returned to Iran leaving behind a weak Mughal Empire. Later, Delhi was handed over to Marathas to protect the throne, who were later defeated by British East India Company. British took over Red Fort and it become a residence for British.
British destroyed some of the buildings and gardens completely. Most of the left over valuables, jewels and documents from the red fort were sold to the private British Museums and libraries.
Red Fort – Under Free India, Now and Future
Though passing from so much of devastation in the past centuries, Today Red fort stands as Symbol of Victory for India. India’s First Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the flag at the top of the Lahore gate on 15th August 1947 celebrating first independence day of India. Today Red Fort is the highly attracted tourist destination of India and most import historical monument of Delhi.
By: Yesha Bhatt