It has been the landmark of grandeur, backdrop to wars and struggles, and the rise and fall of empires. The fort was the centerpiece of power, the artery of life and commerce which gave impetus to this new capital of the Mughal Empire. Through its 380-odd years of existence, Built by the Mughals at the zenith of their power, it has been visited by many friends and rivals, who took away the prized peacock throne, precious art work and its crown jewel the Kohinoor. With the fall of the last Mughal, the British turned the fort and its pleasure palaces into military barracks. This fort has borne witness to the proverbial change of its many guards. This historic  fort was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007

It was the time when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan moved the capital of his empire from Agra to a newly constructed city in Delhi, that he called Shahjahanabad (present-day Old Delhi). Along with the construction of this new city, he laid the foundations of his palace in 12th May’ 1638 and it was completed on 6th April 1648, as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad, the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India

As the residence of the imperial family, the fort was originally known as the ‘Blessed Fort’ or ‘Qila-i-Mubārak’ (the Fortunate Citadel) or Qila-i-Shahjahanabad (Fort of Shahjahanabad) or Qila-i-Mualla (the Exalted Fort). The name Red Fort is a translation of the Hindustani Lāl Qila deriving from its red sandstone walls. Lal is derived from Indian (Hindustani) language meaning “Red” and Qalàh derived from Arabic word meaning Fortress. Originally red and white, Emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite colours and, the design of the fort palace monument credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. The Red fort complex represents the best of Indo-Islamic style of architecture and Indo-Islamic culture. It is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Emperor Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Indo-Islamic prototypes, each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions

Archaeological excavations at Red fort have unearthed several Ochre Coloured Pottery culture artifacts dating from 2600 BCE to 1200 BCE. The most important surviving structures are the walls and ramparts, the main gates, the audience halls and the imperial apartments on the beautiful riverbank of Yamuna

Lined-up with great halls and chambers including the grand Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khas, luxurious living quarters, entertainment areas, gardens, and markets, the Red Fort not all red. Instead, it was a symphony in red sandstone and white marble, that was much favoured by the Mughal royals. In keeping with its dual nature, the fortifications and ramparts were clad in red sandstone while the palace and living quarters were made of marble and limestone 

The fabled peacock throne of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan with its prized jewel, the Kohinoor was one of the greatest treasures of the Red Fort. Known as the Takht-i-taus, this throne contained more than 2500 pounds of gold and 500 pounds of ultra-precious gemstones. Admired by visitors from corners of the world, it also caught the attention of all

The Lahori Gate is the main gate to the Red Fort, named for its orientation towards the city of Lahore. During Aurangzeb’s reign, the beauty of the gate was altered by the addition of a barbican, which Shah Jahan described as “a veil drawn across the face of a beautiful woman”

The Delhi Gate is the southern public entrance and is similar in layout and appearance to the Lahori Gate. Two life-size stone elephants on either side of the gate face each other

Chhatta Chowk (or Meena Bazaar) where silk, jewellery and other items for the imperial household was sold during the Mughal period, this market was earlier known as Bazaar-i-Musaqqaf or Chatta-bazaar (meaning roofed market)

The inner main court to which the Nakkar Khana, surrounded by guarded galleries. The far side is the Diwan-i-Aam, the Public Audience Hall. In the east wall of the court stands the now-isolated Naubat Khana (Waiting Hall), also known as Nakkar Khana (drum house). Music was played daily, at scheduled times and everyone, except royalty, were required to dismount. Later Mughal kings Jahandar Shah (1712–13) and Farrukhsiyar (1713–19) are said to have been murdered here

Pixelated Memories: Diwan-i-Am, Red Fort, New Delhi

Diwan-i-Am - Western Facade - Red Fort - Delhi 2014-05-13 3194.JPG

The Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) was a building for the official affairs and requests of the novelty and royal family. A gate on the north side of the Diwan-i-Aam leads to the innermost court of the palace (Jalau Khana) and the Diwan-i-Khas. It is constructed of white marble, inlaid with precious stones

Diwan-i-Khas, Fort Delhi | Agra fort, Red fort, Fort

Moti Masjid, the Pearl Mosque. A later addition, it was built in 1659 as a private mosque for Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It is a small, three-domed mosque carved in white marble, with a three-arched screen leading down to the courtyard

The hammam were the imperial baths, consisting of three domed rooms with white marble patterned floors. It consists of three apartments separated by corridors and crowned with domes. The apartments are illuminated by a colored glass skylight. The two rooms to either side of the present entrance are believed to have been used by the royal children for bathing. The eastern apartment, containing three fountain basins, was used primarily as a dressing room. In the center of each room stood a fountain, and one of the rooms contained a marble reservoir built into the wall

Hammam (Royal Baths), Red Fort, Delhi | One weekend while pu… | Flickr

Hammam (Royal Baths), Red Fort, Delhi | The hammam of the Re… | Flickr

Historically the Red fort adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The innovative planning arrangements and architectural style of building components as well as garden design developed in the Red Fort strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, and Agra. The Red Fort has been the setting for events which have had a critical impact on its geo-cultural region

File:Red Fort, Delhi, India 6.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The Red fort of Shahajanabad has borne witness to the proverbial change of its many guards

The significance of Red Fort is more than a monument; it was the seat of the Mughal Empire for over 200 years, until it fell into British hands. The Fort has seen many ups and downs in past era, it has witnessed many struggles to grab the power and it was looted many times. The administrative and fiscal structure of the Mughal dynasty declined after death of Sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in early 18th century, and then degeneration of the Red fort started and continues until India’s Independence

Most of the jewels and artwork located in the Red Fort were looted during Nadir Shah’s invasion of 1747 and again looted by British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. They were eventually sold to private collectors or the British Museum, the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum. For example, the jade wine cup of Emperor Shah Jahan and the crown of Emperor Bahadur Shah II are all currently located in London. Various requests for restitution have so far been rejected by the British government

Wine cup of Shah Jahan - Wikipedia

India - Crown of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II

The last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was coronated here in 1837, during which time it is said that his powers did not extend beyond the boundaries of his palace. An emperor with no real empire to hold sway over, he spent his days in poetry, calligraphy and spiritual pursuits. He had no army and upon his death was buried in Burma, far away from his Red fort palace home

Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal who would rather have been a poet

Last Mughal Emperor Who Ruled Delhi, Bahadur Shah Zafar a Romantic and Sad  Character - HubPages

The Red Fort, has witnessed the change in Indian history to British rule, and was the place where Indian independence was first celebrated, and is still celebrated today

It is a monument of national significance; every year on 15th August India’s Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India hoists the country’s flag at the Red Fort and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts

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