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Indian Monuments » Red Fort

About Red Fort

One of the most spectacular pieces of Mughal Architecture is the Lal Quila or the Red Fort. Built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648, the Red Fort has walls extending up to 2 kms. in length with the height varying from 18 mts. on the river side to 33 mts. on the city side.

The entry to this splendid fort is from the Lahori Gate or the Chatta Chowk. Lal Quila is now a busy market place called the 'Meena Bazaar'. This bazaar has an excellent collection of antiques, miniature paintings and skillfully crafted fake ivory jewellery. The bazaar also sells some fabulous carpets beautifully woven. Just beyond the Chhata Chowk, is the heart of the fort called Naubat Khana, or the Drum House. Musicians used to play for the emperor from the Naubat Khana, and the arrival of princes and royalty was heralded from here.

The Fort sports all the obvious trappings befitting a vital centre of Mughal governance: halls of public and private audiences, domed and arched marble palaces, plush private apartments, a mosque, and elaborately designed gardens. Even today, the Fort remains an impressive testimony to Mughal grandeur, despite being attacked by the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah in 1739, and by the British soldiers, during the war of independence in 1857.

The Fort also houses the Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audiences, where the Emperor would sit on a marbled paneled alcove, studded with gems, and hear complaints of the common people. The Diwan-i-Khas is the hall of Private Audiences, where the Emperor held private meetings. This hall is made of marble, and its centre-piece used to be the Peacock Throne, which was studded with rubies and gems and was carried away to Iran by Nadir Shah in 1739. Today, although the Diwan-i-Khas is only a pale shadow of its original glory, yet the verse of Amir Khusro " If there is Paradise on the face of earth, it is here, it is here, it is here" reminds us of its former glory.

The Rang Mahal or the 'Palace of Colours' as it is known, holds a spectacular Lotus shaped fountain, made out of a single piece of marble, and housed the Emperor's wives and mistresses. The palace was decorated with excellent paintings, gold bordered projections, mosaics of mirrors and the ceiling was made with gold and silver which wonderfully reflected in a central pool in the marble floor. The other attractions enclosed within this monument are the hammams or the Royal Baths, the Shahi Burj, which used to be Shahjahan's private working area, and the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque, built by Aurangzeb for his personal use.

Even today, the Lal Quila is an eloquent reminder of the glory of the Mughal era, and its magnificence simply leaves one awestruck. It is still a calm haven of peace, which helps one to break away, from noisy and busy life outside the walls of the Fort, and transports the visitor to another realm of existence. Sound and light shows or son et lumiere as it is better known, highlighting particular phases of history are held here. The shows are in Hindi and English with tickets costing Rs. 20, available at the Fort. The English seasons are from November to January at 7.30 p.m., in January to April and September to October at 8.30 p.m. and from May to August at 9 p.m.

Climate

The summer season begins from April and ends in the month of June. During the summers the average maximum temperature is 40°C and minimum temperature is 25ºC. The monsoon arrives the city in early July and continues till the end of September. The winter extends from late November to February. The temperature in winters varies between 21°C to 5°C. January is the coldest month when the temerature drops to a minimum of 0 °C.

Transportation

  • Air: Delhi is the main gateway city for northern India with a modern airport. All major international airlines in the world fly through Delhi. Indira Gandhi International Airport is located at 23km southwest of Central Delhi and the domestic terminal at Palam is 5km away from the international terminal.

    Taxi and coach transfer is available from both International and Domestic Arrivals. Pre-paid Taxi (a service with journey fare paid at the booking counter), air-conditioned and non- air-conditioned coach counters are located immediately outside the customs Hall in International Terminal and outside Baggage Claim area in Domestic Arrivals.

    Airport Coach (non-airconditioned) is operated by Delhi Transport Corporation (via Connaught Place and Railway Stations) to Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT), Kashmiri Gate and by Ex- Servicemen's Airlink Transport Service to Connaught Place. The coach covers all major hotels enroute.
  • Train: Delhi is the hub of the Indian Railways network with Express trains to all parts of the country. The city has two major railway stations in New Delhi and Old Delhi. New Delhi station is within walking distance of Connaught Place and Main Delhi station is about 7km from Connaught Place. Delhi offers Express trains to all parts of the country. For the foreigners, tickets are available at the International Tourist Bureau (Ph: 011-3346804), located at New Delhi station. The main ticket office is at the IRCA building on Chelmsford Road, Pahar Ganj, between New Delhi station and Connaught Place.

    Shatabdi Express air-conditioned fast tourist train operates to Bhopal (via Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi), Lucknow (via Kanpur) and Chandigarh, provides access to some of the neighboring tourist centres.
  • Bus: Buses from all the major places in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are available for getting to Delhi. During the summer months, air-conditioned coaches are recommended. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) operates special services from railway stations to different parts of the city.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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