The Red Fort or Lai Qila as it popularly known takes its name from the red sandstone used to build its vast walls. It is a masterpiece of architecture and one of the most famous tourist spots. Every day the tourists from India and abroad visit this place and fulfil their long cherished dream.
Mughal Emperor Shanjahan started the construction of this huge fort in 1638, and the work was finished in 1648. This fort was celebrated for its opulence-the marble, the silver and gold, the lavish use of jewels though much of this wealth has disappeared over the years, still it has much more to give a powerful impression of the Mughal Empire at its height.
The fort sports all the obvious trappings, befitting a vital centre of Mughal government, halls of public and private audience, domed and arched marble places, plus audience appartments, a mosque and elaborately designed gardens. All this establish the fact that the fort is an impressive testimony of mughal grandeur.
There are 15 distinct structure within the fort with the first being the Lahore Gate and the last one the Moti Masjid. It is the Lahore Gate, which is the entrance to the fort, from where the Prime minister unfurls the National Flag on August 15, Independence Day and addresses the nation.
The entrance of the Gate opens on to the Chalta Chowk, a long covered bazar of Delhi’s most skilful jewellers, carpet makers, weavers and goldsmiths. This bazaar is also known as Meena Bazzar. Just beyond the Chalta Chowk, is the heart of the fort called Naubat Khana or the Drum Room from whose musicians used to play music to welcome the Emperor or to bid him a safe journey?
The fort has two audience chambers-the Diwan-i-am and the Diwan-i-Khas. The first is built of red sandstone and is set atop an impressive plinth. It was for the public audiences with the rulers. The second (Diwan-i-khas) was for private audiences.
This hall is made of marble and its centre-piece used to be the Peacock throne, which was carried off to Persia 1739, but an inscription in the Diwan-i-Khas records Shahjahan’s opinion of the place; “If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this”. The hammam (bathing) has three chambers with a fountain in the middle of the one in the centre. It also has pieta dura work on the walls.
Shah Burj was a place where the composers held private conclaves and it is in a secluded point.
The Red Fort is an eloquent reminds of the glory and fame of the Mughal period. Its magnificance simply leaves on awe-struck. It attracts the tourist from India and abroad. One feels proud after visiting this magnificent building. It is a pride of Delhi, indeed.