Shah Jahan the great Mughal emperor transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundation of the seventh city of Delhi which was called Shahjahanbad and built very magnificent structure known as Red Fort also known as Lal Qila. It is an irregular octagon type. There are 14 gates in the Red Fort and is made up of red sandstone and the Prime Minister of India address and hoist national flag of India on every 15th august since India got freedom from the British rule on August 15, 1947. The attraction of the fort is great and huge walls of Red Fort and the walls has two entrances, one at the Lahore Gate which is the main entrance of the Red Fort and next at the Delhi Gate and the wall is about 2 km long which looks very beautiful in red stones.
Red fort is located on the bank of river Yamuna in Old Delhi. It is opposite to Old Jama Masjid. It is located on Netaji Subhash Marg and the nearest Metro Station is Chandni Chowk. If you arrive by train then Old Delhi Railway Station is the closest railway station which is located just 1 km away.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Red Fort is from October to March when the weather is pleasant in Delhi.
History of Red Fort
In 1638, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan started the construction of Red Fort at the bank of river Yamuna. He assigns Ustad Ahmed and Ustad Humid as an architect for constructing Red Fort which was completed in the year 1648. Red Fort is originally known as Qila-I-Mubarak and the reason after this name was that it was the residence of the royal family. The walls, gates and other structures in the fort are constructed of red sandstone. The size of the fort can be estimated by the fact that it took ten years to complete it. It has two and half km perimeter with about 33m of the tallest structure. According to the needs of Shah Jahan of this fort, it was made accordingly. During the times of Mughal, it was called Qila-I-Mubarak meaning hereby the blessed fort. Shah Jahan has made this fort in such a way to protect it from enemies and external attacks. It covers approx. 256 acres of land and there are hundreds of small openings. Shah Jahan’s architectural point of view was multi-faceted in addition to the thick red sandstone walls it also contained the palaces of Shah Jahan and its successors and also several mosque. He was captured by his son Aurangzeb and spends his remaining days as a prisoner in the fort that was constructed by him. There is no doubt that this fort is clearly a reminder of the glory of the Mughal Empire.
Structures of Red Fort
The Diwan-I-am was the hall where emperor sat on the alcove and listened to the complaints and issues, suggestions etc. of the public.
A huge railing was there to separate the emperor and the common people.It is the next building visited by the visitors .The measurement of this sandstone building is 185’*70’.There is a big courtyard known as Mardana at the back of this hall. There are 40 pillars in all and the significant feature of this hall is the alcove in the back wall of the hall where emperor sat in state and here a famous peacock thrown was installed on special occasions.
The Diwan-I-khas was used to refer the hall where confidential meetings were held with ministers or guest conducted by the emperor .The wall of this hall are decorated with the holy verses and through the middle of this hall,the paradise stream flows which make this place more beautiful and is known as Nahr-i-Bihisht. The present wooden ceiling of the hall was painted again in the year 1911.In the Centre of this Diwan-I-khas stood the famous peacock thrown which was looted by Nadir Shah in 1739. The hall is a rectangular chamber with huge arched openings, which are very beautifully engraved.
Moti masjid is also known as “Pearl Mosque”. This masjid is situated on the right of the Red Fort .This was the private mosque of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. This mosque is made up of pure white marble and has three beautiful domes. The measurement of the pearl mosque is (length=12metre, width=9 meter and height=8metre).This mosque had prayer mats made from black marble and were also known as “Musallas”.The east door of the mosque contains copper coated leaves. This mosque was also used by the ladies to attend prayers. It also has a small pond (Wuzu-Khana) in the Centre of the courtyard.
The Lahore Gate is the main entrance gate of the Red Fort. From this place the Prime Minister of India delivers a speech on Independence Day every year, Since India got its independence in 1947. The gate is 41feet high and 24 feet wide, and contains three-storeyed rooms. The gate is named in such a way as it is highly oriented towards Pakistan district called Lahore.
Attractive places near Red Fort
Lal Kuan is a place famous for kitchen and hardware accessories. It is located close to the Chawri Bazaar Metro Station and is famous for its popularity of the Kites and this place is easily accessible by roads. This market is also popular for its well-known spice and sweet shops. Above all, this market is sure to leave you satisfied with a hunger to come again and again.
Nai Sarak is located between Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar. This market is lined with many modern types of buildings which were built in 20th century. It is famous for stationery items such as books, pencils, scrap material, old musical equipments. Nai Sarak is also famous for its silk sarees and lehangas. The street is named so because it is new and everything in it is done by British after the 1857 war. On every Sunday, whole market is closed but a large wholesale texbooks are sold at very cheap prices. This place is easily accessible by public transport.
Chandni Chowk market
Chandni Chowk market was built in 1650 AD and was one of the country’s ancient markets which were design by the daughter of great emperor, Shah Jahan. This market was setup before 17thcentury and had a long canal separators which adds there beauty during the night. This market is one of the India’s biggest wholesale markets and is found at the center of the city from Lahore gate to Fatehpur masjid. A canal was constructed during early 17th century to provide water to the surrounding areas. It is also known as moonlit square. Each lane of this market represents a speciality, for example the paranthe waali gali is famous for its varieties of paranthas. Similarly there are many lanes such as textile lanes, jewellery lanes etc.
Muslim Sunehri Masjid
This mosque was constructed in 1721 and according to Islamic calendar; it was built in 1134 Hijri when there was the rule of Mohammad Shah Khan. This mosque was constructed by Roshan-ud-Daula Zafar The mosque stands on a platform of 2.1 height. The place of prayer has three chambers and these chambers open only during prayer hours. The pillars of the mosque are carved with patterns of green colour flowers and the doors are painted of grey colour. The three domes of the mosque are guilded with very fine copper, which gives the name of the mosque: Sunehri, which means golden in Urdu.
Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib
This Gurudwara was built in 1783 in memory of the Sikhs 9th guru, Guru Teg Bahadur. This is located in the heart of the Chandni Chowk. There are about 250 rooms in the Gurudwara which are provided to the visitors to stay and provide all modern facilities. This Gurudwara still protects the huge tree where the Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded and also saves a well where he uses to fetch water for bathing when he was in the prison. The tree and the well is considered sacred by the Sikhs till today. It is a construction of medieval type and took more than 4000 workers to build it. It is mandatory to cover the heads before entering in Gurudwara because of the belief than blessings will shower only if the head is covered.
Jama masjid is the largest mosque the country and is surrounded by over-crowded market. It is opposite to Red Fort and was built between 1644 and 1656. About 5000 labours work day and night to build it and the cost of the mosque when it was made was estimated about 1 million rupees. This mosque is made up of pure red sandstoneand floor with pure white marble and the height of minarets is about 40m. it has three entrance gates and 4 towers and it can be seen from any region within 5 kilometers of its radius. The initial three stories of Jama Masjid is covered with red sandstone and the 4th is made of pure marble, while 5thstorey is again made of red sanstone. The masjid is covered with inscribed holy verses of Quran .the north gate of the masjid contains relics collection of Prophet Muhammad for example the Quran written on the skin of deer, a red colour beard hair of the prophet, his sleepers and his footprint carved on a marble.
Entry tickets and timings of the Red Fort
Visiting hours – 9:30- 5:30 every day except Monday
Entry fee – Rs. 10/- for Indian citizens and for the citizens of SAARC countries and Rs. 150/- for foreigners
Entry fee for sound and light show has individual ticket which cost Rs. 50/-.
How to reach Red Fort
Delhi is the national capital of India and due to this it has an advantage of being accessible by all the means of transport from the cities of India. The means of transport to reach Red Fort range from cheapest trains and buses to the expensive cabs and taxis.
From the airport, air conditioned taxis and other cabs facilities can be opt to reach Red Fort. Taxis and coaches are easily available from both the domestic and international airport. The time to travel from airport to Red Fort is approx. 0 hours and 32 minutes without stopping in between and neglecting the traffic conditions.
Both interstate and intrastate bus services are available to reach Red Fort. Delhi Transport Corporation operates special services from railway station to Red Fort and is one of the cheapest mode of transport.
Local trains are one of the cheapest mode of transport and it is quite time saving. Taxis and cabs are easily available from railway station to Red Fort. The time to travel from railway station to Red Fort is approx. 15 to 20 minutes.
By Delhi Metro
Metro fare is quite reasonable and pleasurable. The nearest Metro station to the Red Fort is Chandni Chowk Metro Station and from there regular auto-rickshaw which is cheaper is available for Red Fort.