Situated amidst the hustle and bustle of the old city of Delhi, Red Fort or the Lal Quila (literally translated to Red Fort) has been standing tall with its red sandstone walls for ages. Adding the red tinge to the Old City Area of the National Capital Region of India, the mighty Fort with its high turrets has been witness to change of regimes and many physical, intellectual and strategic battles that this mighty nation has had to fight over centuries.
History of Red Fort
The Red Fort was built by the famous Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan, in the seventeenth century. The fort was the palace fort of Shahjahanabad, the capital city of the Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan. Along with the Salimgarh Fort standing adjacent to the Red Fort, the area is known as the Red Fort Complex. Islam Shah Suri built the Salimgarh Fort in 1546.
The Red Fort, built in the Mughal style, houses palaces, entertainment arenas, indoor canals, gardens developed in geometrical patterns, an ornate mosque, baths, interesting balconies projecting out and much more within its vicinity. One thing about this fort is its unique location and architectural features. Situated on the banks of River Yamuna, the fort boasts red sandstone walls that have stood tall for centuries. Interestingly, the history of Delhi also records an earlier version of the Red Fort, also built in Old Delhi during the 11th century by King Anangapala of the Tomara Dynasty. However, the prominent Qutb Mosque stands at this site presently.
The walls of the Red Fort are 75 feet high. These high walls have guarded the palaces within the fort, and the history embedded in each wall and corner of the fort protectively for centuries. A strong symbol of power since its construction during the rule of Shahjahan, the fort had witnessed events such as the rise and fall of the Mughal Dynasty, the gradual takeover of the country by the Britishers, the huge independence struggle fought by several Indian freedom fighters, and even the awakening of India when it broke its shackles of British rule and became Independent at the stroke of Midnight on August 15, 1947. Historically, the Fort is known to have been the residence of more than 3000 people till 1857. This itself proves the enormity and vastness of the Fort. The Red Fort was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.
Currently, the Fort is one of Delhi's major tourist attractions and an iconic landmark for the entire nation. This is the place from where the Prime Minister of India has been hoisting the National Flag every year to mark the Independence of one of the most important economies of the world – India. The tradition of hoisting the national flag – the Tricolour, above the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort has been practiced since August 15, 1947, when India got its Independence from British rule. The Fort is thus a prominent landmark and backdrop for important geo-cultural-political events and discussions of India!
Unique Architecture of Red Fort
India has been a land of many cultures, traditions, and religions. This phenomenon is not a recent one. Such an amalgamation has been the spirit of India since time immemorial, even when it was an undivided entity of the South Asian subcontinent. The same spirit has been showcased even in the architecture of Red Fort. It is a beautiful amalgamation of the Mughal, Persian, the Timurid architectural styles with the Hindu tradition interwoven in the design of the Red Fort. Tradition, modernity, and utilitarian features have been showcased intricately while planning the premise. This is evident from the fact that the fort houses a unique bath where the queens and the kings took private baths. This bath got water from the river Yamuna flowing beside the fort. Indoor canals were constructed to channel the water inside these baths. Thus, a perfect blend of modernity and traditionalism is intricately balanced in every feature of this fort!
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Best Time to Visit Red Fort
The fort is situated in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Delhi experiences harsh summer conditions. Therefore, the best time to visit the Red Fort is from October to February, when the public touring inside the fort would be comfortable. The fort is open to the general public on all days of the week except Monday. The time for visiting the fort is 9.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M., though there are regular screenings of light and sound show for the general public to educate them about the history. Tickets have to be purchased to enter the Red Fort Complex. All Indian Citizens and foreign citizens must purchase a ticket per the Fort's mandatory requirements. However, children under 15 years need no ticket to enter the vicinity. Book a Red Fort online ticket for a hassle-free and quick visit inside the premise. This way, the visitors would save time and effort while visiting the fort.
Interesting Facts about Red Fort
Every monument has some interesting facts stored in its history and existence. Some of the interesting facts related to Red fort include:
1. Long Time to Construct. It took ten long years or a decade to construct the Red Fort. Ustad Hamid and Ustad Ahmed, two prominent architects of the time, were responsible for constructing this mighty fort! 2. Original Colour of the Building. The fort was originally white in colour since it was built with white sandstone. It is believed that the Britishers are responsible for the change in colour to red!
3. Change of Name. The original name of the fort was “Qila-e-Mubarak”, which translates to “The Blessed Fort.” Shahjahan decided to construct this fort when he decided to shift his capital to Delhi.
4. Kohinoor Diamond. The famous Kohinoor Diamond, which is now a precious possession of the British Museum in England, was originally a part of the royal throne of Shah Jahan in Diwan-i-Khas at Red Fort.
5. The Lahore Gate. The Lahore Gate at the Red Fort, where the Tricolour is hoisted every Independence Day, actually opens towards Lahore in Pakistan (this is because, at that time, India and Pakistan were one single entity)!
6. Parallelogram-Shaped. When enjoying a bird’s eye view, the fort is octagonal in shape and is spread across 256 acres of land. The vast expanse with a peaceful and quiet premise seems to transport visitors to the erstwhile times when the fort enjoyed the hustle and bustle of darbaris and the general public.
7. High Walls. The walls of the fort differ in their height. The walls on the riverside are 18 metres tall, while the walls on the city side are 33 metres high.
8. Historical Connect. The last Mughal Emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was tried by the Britishers for treason at his own home, the Red Fort, and since he was found guilty, he was stripped of his title and exiled to Rangoon, now Myanmar!
Important Places to Visit within the Red Fort
This iconic landmark of India is packed with a magnificent history, striking architectural style, political significance, and lovely premises. Some of the Important Places that should not be missed while visiting the Red Fort include:
Diwan-I-Aam. This used to be the House of Public Audience, where the Mughal rulers met the general public. This place has 60 pillars made of red sandstone and supports a flat roof.
Diwan-I-Khas. This used to be the Hall of Private Audience. This place is smaller than Diwan-I-Aam and is constructed of white marble.
Nahr-i-Behisht. Literally translated as the Stream of Paradise, this Nahr or continuous water channel provided water to all the private apartments within the fort.
Lahori Gate. This main entrance to the fort opens towards the ‘Chatta Chowk’, a covered street with arched cells where the prominent jewellers, weavers, and other traders put up their shops.
Meena Bazar. The covered passage that housed the different traders served as the private market for the ladies of the palace.
Naubat Khana. This was where the musicians played for the royal people and announced the arrival of princesses and other royal members.
Delhi Gate. This is the gate towards the south of the fort. The gate is similar to the Lahore Gate of the Fort.
Moti Masjid. The popular mosque within the fort is exclusively used by the royal family and those living within the fort.
Some other unique features of the fort include the Hammam or the royal bath, the Shahi Burj or the private working space of Emperor Shah Jahan, the Pearl Mosque constructed by Aurangzeb, the Rang Mahal or the Palace of Colours where the emperor’s wives and mistresses stayed, and the lush green gardens in geometric patterns.
Once in Delhi, reaching Red Fort is quite easy. Red Fort is a prominent location in Delhi that is well connected with various modes of transport, including bus, metro, and rail. The visitors can take autorickshaws, private cabs, local buses, and even metro routes to reach this historical monument. The nearest metro station to reach Red Fort is Chandni Chowk station, while Old Delhi Railway Station is the nearest railway station to reach the spot using the Indian railway network. Well-connected with major cities worldwide, Red Fort in Delhi enjoys hassle-free connectivity through diverse modes of transportation. Here’s how you can arrive at this iconic landmark in Delhi in the most convenient way. Have a look
International Airport to Arrive at Delhi
Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)
Tourists arriving in Delhi from far and wide corners of the world prefer travelling through the fastest and the most convenient way of travelling, that is by flight. One international airport in the city is Terminal 3 in Indira Gandhi International Airport. The airport receives international flights from major cities in the world.
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Reach Red Fort
Delhi is well-connected by trains. Four railway stations in the city bring visitors from across the country. The train journey is the best way to explore the scenic surroundings, soak in the feel of the city, and experience a unique sensory treat. The major railway stations in Delhi are-
New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS)
Old Delhi Railway Station (DLI)
Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station (NZM)
Anand Vihar Railway Terminal (ANVT)
Delhi enjoys amazing connectivity with different parts of the country, especially touristy cities like Jaipur, Agra, Manali, Shimla, Dehradun, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Alwar, and more. State Transport and Private Buses provide services to Delhi and its major areas. The city has multiple bus terminals to cater to visitors from all over the country. These are-
Sarai Kale Khan
Frequently Asked Questions About Red Fort
Q 1. What makes Red Fort famous? A 1. Red Fort is one of the most popular iconic landmarks in Delhi. It enjoys immense historical, political, and architectural significance. Its massive Redstone walls are its striking feature.
Q 2. When and how was the Red Fort built? A 2. The Red Fort was built by the famous Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan, in the seventeenth century. The fort was the palace fort of Shahjahanabad, the capital city of the Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan. Along with the Salimgarh Fort standing adjacent to the Red Fort, the area is known as the Red Fort Complex. Islam Shah Suri built the Salimgarh Fort in 1546.
Q 3. What is the best time to visit Red Fort? A 3. The fort is situated in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Delhi experiences harsh summer conditions. Therefore, the best time to visit the Red Fort is from October to February, when the public touring inside the fort would be comfortable. The fort is open to the general public on all days of the week except Monday. The time for visiting the fort is 9.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M.
Q 4. Are a camera and mobile allowed in Red Fort? A 4. Yes, cameras and mobile phones are allowed in the fort. Visitors are allowed inside the premises after proper screening and checking.
Q 5. Is the light and sound show in Red Fort open? A 5. Yes, the Red Fort light and sound show is open. The timings are 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm in Hindi and 9 pm to 10 pm in English from May to August. The show timings from September and October are 7 pm to 8 pm in Hindi and 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm in English.