Red Fort – A UNESCO world heritage site, Red Fort is one of the most iconic historical monuments in the capital city, Delhi. The day after visiting India Gate, we went to explore this yet another masterpiece located near Chandni Chowk. Commissioned to built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1638, the construction of this fine architectural masterpiece was completed in the year 1648. A seat of the Mughal empire for around 200 years, until it fell into British hands, Red Fort has immense historical significance.
It is from this place in Delhi that Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had first addressed the populace of free India, he delivered a remarkable speech then, the words of which still resonates in the aura of this fort. Year after year, the trend continues and now, it has become an Independence day ritual. Every year, the PM hoists our national flag, the tricolour atop Red Fort and addresses the people of India.
The key rooms to visit inside the fort are the Diwan-i-‘Am (Hall of public audience) and the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of private audience). The entrance to the Diwan-i-‘Am has the Naubat-Khana (Drum house), a place from where the musicians played during the ceremonies. The Diwan-i-‘Am is a large hall with a nine arch façade. This hall also has an ornamented alcove where the royal throne would be placed.
The Diwan-i-Khas is said to have housed Shah Jahan’s famous peacock throne, before it was taken by the Persian Nadir Shah. Other notable places in the Red Fort that we explored are the Rang Mahal (Painted palace), the Khas Mahal (A private house with a chamber for telling beads or TasbihKhana, the Mumtaz Mahal (which has now been converted to a Museum), a sleeping chamber or Khwabgah, a robe chamber or Tosh Khana) and the Hammam (the ornately decorated royal bathing area, located to the north of the Diwan-i-Khas). Mughal architecture is famous for its beautiful gardens, which is the Hayat-Baksh-Bagh (life-giving garden) with its pavilions in the case of the Red Fort.
Red Fort can be easily reached via Delhi Metro, it is close to the metro station Chandni Chowk which lies on the Red Line of DMRC. The place charges a minimal entry fee of Rs 10 for Indians and Rs 250 for foreigners. The fort also hosts a light and sound show depicting Indian and Mughal History, which is absolutely worth-attending! This light and sound show starts at 6 PM in both English and Hindi. Further, the complex is closed on all Mondays.
Recommended Reading: A day well spent exploring India Gate