About Red Fort
credits:Dr. Partha Sarathi Sahana
The colossal Red Fort in Delhi was the home of the formidable Mughal emperors for around 200 years until the British took over it in 1857. The fort is not just a symbol of the popular grandeur of the Mughal era, but it has withstand the trials of turbulent times, especially during India’s most historical events that shaped the foundation of the country.
This is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the national capital. The UNESCO declared the Red Fort a World Heritage Site in 2007, in recognition of its significance. Red Fort is one of the most celebrated monuments of India and is the symbol of valour and peace.
This 17th century monument is of octagonal shape and it covers around 255 acres of land. The total number of gates here is three. The royals used to enter the fort through the Khizrabad Gate that has been closed for commoners now. The Lahore and Delhi Gates are open to locals and tourists. The fort was planned to house a palace inside its campus. The Red Fort still a historical and architectural wonder.
History of Red Fort
credits: Kevin Doncaster
The construction of the Red Fort started in 1638 with the Emperor Shah Jahan deciding to leave Agra to create a new Mughal capital, Shahjahanabad, which is presently known as the Old Delhi. With architect Lahori’s work at Agra Fort, Shah Jahan was so impressed that he asked him to work on this fort as well.
However, despite having elaborate and grand illustrations in the early years, the shine and glory of the Red Fort eventually faded when Shah Jahan fell ill and had to go back to Agra to recuperate. Since 1658, Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb, who was known to be power hungry, took the charge of the fort and kept his father imprisoned at Agra Fort for over 8 years until he died.
The opulence of the Red Fort and the fortunes of the royal family started diminishing with Aurangzeb ruling the last phase of his reign which was bristled with uncertainty, unfaithfulness and treachery. Persian ruler Nadir Shah attacked the fort in 1739 and looted several valuables, including the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor diamond. In 1752, the fort belonged to the Maratha kings who defeated the Mughals in a battle.
The Marathas had to melt down the silver ceiling of the Diwan-e-Khaas hall in order to raise funds to save the capitol from the attack of the Afghan invaders under the leadership of Ahamd Shah Durrani. In 1857, the Britishers made the Red Fort their army base and looted further valuables. In 1947, after gaining independence, the Red Fort was chosen as the main site for public celebration.
How to Reach Red Fort
credits: Christopher John SSF
The distance between Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and Red Fort is around 20.5km. You can take an app cab or taxi from the airport that would take you to the fort in around 1 hour via Sardar Patel Marg. You can also take the bus services from the airport to the Red Fort which will take around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Delhi Metro is another convenient conveyance to reach the fort from airport. You have to ride in the Orange Line of the Metro. While app cabs will charge you around Rs 500 to the fort from airport, ordinary taxis will charge around Rs 600 or more. Bus fares will be around Rs 30-Rs40, so will the Metro fare.
Best Time to Visit Red Fort
The Red Fort remains open in all seasons, every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm. However, it is difficult to roam around the fort if you visit Delhi during summer time. The scorching heat of the national capital is quite notorious and despite enough preventive measures, one might fall sick. Therefore, the best time to visit the place is anytime from October to February.
The weather this time remains pleasant. Neither do you need to carry warm clothes nor umbrellas to beat the sun. Overall it is a good time as the national capital is decked up owing to various festivals this time, especially Dussehra and Diwali.
What Not to Miss at Red Fort
Places to visit near Red Fort:
1. Jama Masjid: Jama Masjid is situated right in the vicinity of the Red Fort. The mosque was also built by Shah Jahan in 1650s. The place gives you an ideal flavour of how the traditional Old Delhi city was. The famous Jama Masjid is one of the most ancient and famous places of prayer for the Muslims of across the country.
2. Chandni Chowk: Chandni Chowk is the traditional marketplace that is dotted with stalls of handicrafts, furniture, clothes, dress materials, food, jewellery, souvenirs among other such things. The place is just a few blocks away from Red Fort. A visit to Delhi will remain incomplete if you don’t cover this shopping hub.
3.Swaminarayan Akshardham temple: The Akshardham temple is just 3.2km from the Red Fort. So you can hire an auto or get a cab to reach there. This is a very calm, serene and fantastic place to visit with a great ambience. The architecture of the temple is brilliant with white marble and broad corridors everywhere. The temple follow special security checking so be prepared to submit all your cell phones, cameras etc. You can spend around two hours at the temple. This is an ideal place to visit with your family on weekends.
4. Gurdwara Bangla Sahib: This gurdwara on Ashoka Road is just 4km from the Red Fort. This is a must-see place in Delhi which is considered as the pious place for believers of the Sikh religion. The service of hundreds of volunteers here to the visitors and devotees is exemplary. A visit to the place brings you true peace and helps you connect with your inner self.
5.Raj Ghat: This is another must-visit place for all Delhi tourists. Raj Ghat is where the mortal remains of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was buried. The black marble platform burial in this open-air memorial site is beautiful with nicely maintained garden that offers a calm and serene atmosphere. Maintaining silence is a must if you are a visitor here.
6.Fatehpuri Mosque: Fatehpuri Mosque is one of the most famous mosques and monuments of Delhi. It is located right in the vicinity of the Red Fort. It was built during the Mughal era. The mosque remains open every day from 5am to 10pm. On special occasions and festivals, the timings might change slightly. The place remains closed on Sundays. Visiting the mosque, which was built following the architectural pattern of the famous Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, will give the flavour of the old Delhi charm and the traditional Mughal culture. The mosque wears a grand look on Id and other such occasions.
Other Essential Information About Red Fort
Location: The Red Fort is based on a 255-acre of land near the western bank of the Yamuna. The Chandni Chowk of Old Delhi ends at the vicinity of Red Fort. The business district of Connaught Place is located a few miles north of the fort.
Price: The entry ticket price of Red Fort is Rd 35 for native Indian citizens. For foreigners, the tickets are priced at Rs 500. If you opt for the light and sound show at the Red Fort, it will cost you Rs 60 per adult person, while for children, it is Rs 20 per head. During the weekend, the ticket prices vary a bit. For adults it is Rs 80 and Rs 30 for kids.Timing: The Red Fort remains open every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The fort, however, remains closed on Mondays. Check out the Delhi Tourism website for any change of the entry and exit timings of this tourist venue depending on special national events or so.
Architecture of Red Fort
The Red Fort has an area of around 255 acres that are enclosed by 2.42km of defensive walls. The walls are punctuated by bastions and turrets both on the river side and the city side. The shape of the fort is octagonal with the longer north-south axis and shorter east-west axis.
The double dome, the intricate marble carvings and floral decorations with colourful stones reflect the symbol of the typical Mughal architectural style. The Red Fort is the perfect amalgamation of India, Persian and European styles of architecture. It is rich in terms of colour, expression and form.There are multiple entries to the fort. Lahori Gate is the one through which common people used to enter the fort during the reign of the Mughals.
As you enter through this gate, you will end up reaching a huge barrel vault structured shopping area-like complex which is known as Chatta Chowk. This place used to be the market to cater to the needs of the higher-ranked Mughal women who used to stay inside the fort. The walls, the ramparts and the main gates are the most surviving structures of the Red Fort.
Light and Sound Show
The famous light and sound show at the Red Fort is a one hour audio visual show that portrays the history of Delhi as well as the fort. The show starts with the tale of how Emperor Shah Jahan chose the place for the huge fort to be built and how the rulers of the Mughal dynasty tried to save the fort as well as India from invaders of different countries.
The show also describes the fort’s significance during the Indian freedom movement. Some portion of the speeches of freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi and Chandra Sekhar Azad have been used in the audio clippings. The show ends with a speech by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru and finally playing of the National Anthem.
The shows are presented in English and Hindi. The Hindi show starts around 6pm from November to January, while English show begins at 7.30pm. Each show begins around half an hour later as the season changes between Septembers and August.
Tips For Visiting Red Fort
If you are a history enthusiast and want to explore the rich tradition, heritage and splendour of this gigantic Mughal monument, follow these tips during your trip to the Red Fort.
1. The fort opens at 9.30am every day, except on Mondays. So reach early to the site to avoid crowd and have ample time to visit all the nook and corners of this huge monument.
2. If you are visiting the place during summer, try to equip yourself with water bottle, an umbrella and a hand-held fan as the summer in Delhi can be really scorching and unbearable, even with the start of the day.
3. Generally, a tourist does not need a guide at the Red Fort as the site has sufficient markings and signs with detailed explanations about the particular architecture you are visiting. However, if you still feel you need to hire a guide for a better understanding, you should go for those registered with the government.
4. If you are visiting the fort, there is no point in missing out on the light and sound show. So arrange your timing at the site accordingly so that you can get the best of your visit.