As the name suggests, Red Fort or Lal Qila, is a fort complex constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi. Untill 1857, the Red fort served as the capital of the Mughals. After that it was occupied by the British and served as their military camp till India's independence in 1947. The construction of the massive fort was started in 1638 and it took 10 years to complete the fort. Being the residence of the royal Mughal family, the Red Fort was originally referred to as Qila-i-Mubarak, literally meaning the blessed fort.

Now, the Red Fort serves as one of the most popular tourist site in Delhi. People from far and wide visit this monument. Moreover, every year on India's Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India raises the flag of India on the rampants of the Lahori Gate of the fort complex. UNESCO in the year 2007 has designated the Red Fort as World Heritage Site.

When Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra to Delhi, he made the Red Fort his palace in his new capital called Shahjahanabad. Like other fort cities in Delhi, Shahjahanabad was said to be the seventh city in the Delhi region. In the later Mughal peroid, the fort complex saw many developments during the rule of Aurangzeb and other Mughals.

The Red Fort is a symbol of architectural brilliance and power of the Mughal era. The design and art work at the fort showcases an art form, which is an amalgamation of Persian, European and Indian art. This unique Shahjahani style art was rich in colour, expression and appearance.

The Red Fort has two major gates, the Delhi gate and the Lahori gate. The Lahori Gate is the main entrance of the fort that opens at a market street called Chatta Chowk.

Some of the important buildings and other structures inside the Fort are namely:
Diwan-i-Aam
Diwan-i-Khas
Nahr-i-Behisht
Zenana: Mumtaz Mahal and Rang Mahal
Moti Masjid and
Hayat Bakhsh Bagh

The Diwan-i-Aam is the large pavilion with an ornate throne-balcony (jharokha) for the emperor. The Diwan-i-Khas is a marble pavilion with pillars decorated in floral carvings and inlay work and many semi-precious stones. Nahr-i-Behisht or the "Stream of Paradise” was a water channel that used to run through various pavilions in the palace complex. Mumtaz Mahal and Rang Mahal are two southernmost pavilions of the palace dedicated for zenanas, or women's quarters. The Mumtaz Mahal is now converted to a museum. The Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque was added later in 1659 as a private mosque for Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan's successor. Hayat Bakhsh Bagh or "Life-Bestowing Garden" is a large garden.

The Red Fort is one of the largest monuments in Delhi and also one of the most visited tourist attractions of the city. A light and sound show is organized for tourists in the fort complex every evening describing Mughal history. The complex also houses a few museums including a museum of "blood paintings", an archaeological museum and an Indian war memorial museum.

 

 
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