The golden age of Mughal architecture is said to be during the reign of Shah Jahan. He built several grand structures many of which remained awe-inspiring up to this day. One of such great structures is the Red Fort. The Red Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 for its cultural significance in terms of architecture. The structure indeed bears proof of a flourishing civilization centuries past.
The Red Fort is a manifestation of Shah Jahan’s architectural influences and traditions: Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu. This massive structure stands prominently along the Yamuna River. The Red Fort or Lal Qila in Persian used to be referred as The Blessed Fort or Qila-i-Mubarak because it housed the Royal Family. Shah Jahan and his family first made the Red Fort their home which is why it continues to solidify the strength of Shah Jahan’s reign. The integrity of the fort is further cemented as even the British Empire used this as a cantonment. British Troops were known to be encamped inside its walls. The fort was also originally built to be integrated to the Salimgarh Fort.
The Red Fort clearly got its name from its red sandstone material which was the prominent building material used to create this massive structure. The fort can be accessed through two important gates: Akbarabad gate and Lahore gate. The Akbarabad gate or Delhi gate leads to the south while the Lahore gate leads to the west. The more popular Lahore Gate is flanked by octagonal towers that can be quite intimidating. Lahore Gate is also the main entrance of the Red Fort which leads to the Chatta Chowk, a covered bazaar where one can find souvenir and food items. As visitors walk through the Lahore gate, vaulted ceilings and arches hover above. The Lahore gate then leads to a courtyard that allows natural light and ample ventilation.
The Red Fort can be quite an intimidating structure found along the Yamuna River with walls that span to over two kilometers. Its walls tower at a height of 18 meters over the river and stand 33 meters tall facing the city. The Red Fort also houses several important structures like the Diwan-i-Aam. Diwan-i-Aam is a large pavilion for imperial audiences with a series of columns that support ornate beams as its most distinguishable feature. Other structures such as the Diwan-i-Khas or ‘Hall of Private Audience’, the Nahr-i-Behisht or imperial apartments, Zenana or women’s quarters, and the Moti Masjid ‘Pearl Mosque’ are all protected by the Red Fort.
The Red Fort is also proof of the luminance of the Mughal reign. Today, it is a calm and inviting area to unwind in. It can easily transport anyone to a once flourishing era as visitors flock the site for its rich architecture and history.
The Red Fort is located at heart of Old Delhi and is accessible through New Delhi’s several modes of transportation. It is open from sunrise to sunset every day except Mondays. There are admission fees and photography charges that will be collected. Charges also include entry fees to a building that has been converted into a museum. At night, a lights and sounds show can be viewed that depicts Delhi’s remarkable past. Indeed, the Red Fort is a site not to be missed when you are in New Delhi