Red Fort Delhi History Timings

Where is the Red Fort Located?

The red fort in Delhi is located in the old city of Delhi, the fort is situated across the famous Chandni Chowk area of old Delhi , the famous Jama masjid is just a walk of few minutes from the red fort. The palaces of the red fort overlook the ring road of Delhi with the memorials of Indian political stalwarts across the road. This area is the most congested area of Delhi city.

How to reach the Red Fort?

Parking- Being a very congested part of the city it’s good to know that the Red Fort has ample parking space available for all tourist vehicles, from the parking lot you can walk all the way to the Lahori gate or you can ride the electric vehicles available over here for a short ride. Don’t forget to visit a small mosque known as “Sunhari mosque “near the parking lot and southwestern gate of the red fort.

History of Red Fort

Red fort- In year 1638 ACE king Shah Jahan decided to make a fort on the banks of river Yamuna. This fort was completed in year 1648 at a cost of ten million Mughal Rupees. Aurangzeb son of Shahjahan ruled over India from this fort. 18th Century saw many Mughal kings being crowned and many scandals being hatched over here, In 1739 Nadir shah the Persian emperor looted peacock throne and many more valuable memorabilia from here. In 1752 the Marathas won the red fort, In 1783 the Sikh forces of Baba Baghel Singh Dhaliwal conquered Delhi. British East India gained control of red fort in 1803. After the revolt of 1857 the English again recaptured the red fort and last Mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar II was exiled to Rangoon. In 1947 India became independent nation and the Prime minister unfurls the national flag from the bastion of red fort every year on 15th August. In 2007 This fort was accorded the status of World heritage monument.

Red Fort Entry Charges  :- The entry tickets of the Red Fort Delhi can be purchased from the ticket counter at the Fort. They can also be bought online from the ASI website.

Indian Nationals Foreigner National Saarc and Bimstec
INR 40/- INR 500/- INR 40/-

 

Entrance gate- There are three gates in the red fort. The common tourists can seek entry through the Lahori Gate. The Lahore Gate is the iconic symbol of free India. Every year the prime minister of India hoists the National flag over here on 15th August the Independence Day of India. The Delhi gate is used as an entry and exit gate for the VIP persons. The third gate is no more into use. It’s known as the Khijri gate (waterfront gate). Huge wooden gates gilded with bronze guard the Lahori gate. You can sight some bullet marks probably from the war of 1857 on the doors. Very near to the entrance gate, you can buy the entrance tickets to seek entry to the red fort.

Red Fort Timings:- Red Fort Delhi is open to the tourists from sunrise to the sunset. It remains closed on every Monday.

Read More about Agra Fort:- Agra Fort History, Timings FAQ’S

What are the places to visit in the Red Fort?

Meena Bazaar- As you walk across the main entrance gate you are greeted by a colonnade of shops, this was called as “Meena Bazaar” a market for the royal ladies. The royal ladies could go for shopping right inside here in the fort. Just a little distance is the open crossing known as “chatta chowk”, this is the cross way crossing the north-south street. This is also the center point of this market. The Chatta chowk is an octagon in shape its ceiling is missing and it has an open top. The end part of the Meena bazaar is in the shape of a gate with stairs on both sides. A short walk from the Meena bazaar leads you into an open area with Barracks from the British times. These Barracks were constructed during the British rule of India to accommodate the English forces living inside the fort.

Naubat Khana- The red fort is given the name because of the red-colored sandstone ferried from the quarries of Rajasthan (Dholpur). The same red sandstone has been used to make the Naubat Khana or Nakkar khana this literally means the “Drum house”. The royal bands with drums and music instruments used to welcome the arrival of the royalty entering through the gate. The top floor has been converted into a hall with closed windows, This hall was being used as a museum now the museum has been shifted. The entrance facade of the Naubat Khana is in white colour while the exit gate is in red sandstone with multiple alcoves on either side, the carvings are similar to the ones seen in the period buildings of Agra fort and Taj Mahal (Mosque, Mehman Khana and Royal Gate).

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                          Rear side of Naubat khana in red sand stone with alcoves.Deewan E Aam: – Right across the Naubat Khana is the court of public audience known as Deewan E Aam. Nine arches of the Deewan E Aam face the Naubat Khana. This is a single-storied building with four small arched dome structures on four sides. The arches are typical from Shah Jahan era and bear remarkable similarity to the arches of Dewaan E Aam of Agra Fort.

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Deewan E Aam .Red Fort .

The common people of the Mughal Empire could approach the Mughal emperor seated on the lofted platform of white marble. This platform has been covered in glass enclosure. It has been regally done in marble inlay of semi-precious stones. The hall is elevated and there are stairs leading to the inner space. The symmetry of this building is astounding; you can feel the symmetry yourself as you get excellent Instagram pictures across the arches. There are two small windows on either side of the royal throne these were supposed to be used by the royal ladies without being noticed by outsiders.

Rang Mahal- Right behind the red sandstone building of Deewan e aam is the Rang Mahal. The conspicuous feature of the Rang Mahal is the “Nahar E Bahistha” Delhi has intense summers so to combat this heat the Mughals made water channels fountains and a shallow water pond right in front of Rang Mahal. Just imagine when these fountains worked and the water flowed through the water channel across the midst of the rang Mahal. What a view it was.

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  Rang Mahal and a water body in front.

How did the Royal People use to involve in Merrymaking?

The white marble palace was used for merrymaking. Right in front of the palace is a small very well decorated waterfall (abshaar) originating from a water channel flowing through the midst of the palace. One vault of Rang mahal is done in mirrors embedded on the walls known as Sheesh Mahal. The palace is on top of the basement, there is a gate to the basement visible on the left side of the facade. It is rumored that British weapons are still stored in the basement. Adjacent to the Rang Mahal on the left side is an open pavilion. Where the king came up for a public view every day in the morning. This pavilion overlooks the riverside.

Khaas Mahal- The special pavilion of the king opens into the open courtyard this is also made in white marble with multi cusped arches. This is supposed to be the private palace of the emperor. . The name “Khaas” has been used.  It was divided into three respective sections, “Khwaabgaah” was the private place where the emperor slept, “Baithak” where the king had very private meetings and “Tasbeehkhana” a place where the emperor praised the lord and repeated the rosary. The building has rings to tie the tassels of the eloquent silk curtains and “shamiana”( royal canopies).

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Ornate Ceiling and walls with inlay work at Khaas mahal.

Where is Yamuna Gate Located?

Underneath the Khaas Mahal is the gate leading to the riverfront so it was called “Yamuna gate” it’s a folklore that the emperor Shah Jahan came into the palace through this gate in 1648 to join the inauguration ceremony, he was showered with gold coins by his crown son “Dara Shikoh” the entire palace was decorated and the celebrations continued for nine days. All the artisans were accordingly rewarded.

Dewan E Khaas– Next to the Khas Mahal is the Deewan e Khas. This is also a white marble building, this was the place where the closed meetings of the king with his ministers were held. The building had a sliver ceiling which was melted during the times Mughals had lost their power. Today the ceiling is a replica of the same in wood.

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 Marble pedestal for the peacock throne and the Gold hued walls with ceiling.

What is the famous verse of Firdaus?

On one fine marble screen is written a famous Persian verse “Gar Firdaus Rue Zameen Ast. Hamien Ast Hamien Ast” Meaning if there is heaven on this earth then it’s over here and over here. The marble was excavated from makrana in Rajasthan and extensive “Pietre dura” work can be seen on the walls and the columns. The world-famous “Takhte Taus” or the Peacock throne was once situated in Dewan E Khaas, It was later looted by the Persian emperor Nadir Shah in the late 18th century. One side of Deewan E Khaas leads into Musamman Burj. This was the place from where King George V and Queen Mary made a public appearance during the Delhi Darbar and coronation ceremony in 1903.

Image result for Deewan E Khaas leads into Musamman Burj red fort New delhi

Hammam- The building was used as a bathroom by the royalty. This building is also done in white marble with marble inlay work done on the floor. There are separate avenues for a hot bath and a cold bath. The essence of rose and fresh rose petals was used for the luxury of the royal bath.

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Hamam from inside with beautifully done floor .

Moti Masjid Red Fort – This is the only structure made by Emperor Aurangzeb. He is known to have constructed this mosque from his hard-earned money. He used to see the caps and do the calligraphy work on writing the Quran to earn righteous money.  The mosque is small and made in white marble with an ablution tank for the devotees. The building appears straight and very well-tuned to the geometry of other building but the inner confines are angled a little, this was to make sure that devotees bow towards the west (Mecca).

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                                         The Moti Masjid from inside.

Hayaat Bagh- This is a four quartered garden very well in tune with the descriptions of the Jannat (Heaven) in the Quran. The garden has been bisected by four streams respectively of Milk, Wine, Water, and honey. Islam originated in Arabia a desert so what else can you imagine about heaven being in a desert. The two marble palaces have been named as “Sawan and  Bhadon” on the basis of the two rainy months of the Indian calendar, In the midst is the red sandstone palace called as “Jafar mahal”.

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                          The facade of the Lahori Gate of Red Fort Delhi with Indian Tri Colour

Baoli– Towards the Salimgarhi fort is a stepped well, It is known to exist over here much before the red fort of today. The stepped well was used as an alternative mode of water supply and was to be used in an emergency of an enemy attack.

Red Fort FAQ’S

Q-  What are the timing of light and sound show in the Red Fort Delhi?
A- Yes there is an excellent sound and light show held in the Red Fort. It is available Hindi and English language every day. The tickets for the this show can be purchased on a first come first serve basis. Following are the timings for this show-

Hindi 07.30 PM to 08.30 PM (May to Aug)

07:00 PM to 08:00 PM (Sep & Oct)

06:00 PM to 07:00 PM (Nov to Jan)

07:00 PM to 08:00 PM (Feb to Apr)

English 09:00 PM to 10:00 PM (May to Aug)

08.30 PM to 9.30 PM (Sep & Oct)

07.30 PM to 8.30 PM (Nov to Jan)

08.30 PM to 9.30 PM (Feb to Apr)

 

Q- Why there is so much open space in Red Fort Delhi while the royal palaces are not that large.
A- The Mughals came from central Asia and brought their legacy with them. They used to love their “Shamianas” or royal tents. It is known Shahjahan had a royal shamiana whom he was very fond of. This shamiana was epitome in luxury, braided with the most luxurious carpets, the gold thread woven tassels of silk curtains exuded nothing but luxury.

Q- Why did Shah Jahan make Red Fort in Delhi?
A- Shahjahan was the absolute ruler of India, his shifting of capital and making of Red Fort in Delhi sure was not because of any threat perception. Shahjahan loved his wife Mumtaj Mahal and after her death is known to have lost all interest in worldly pleasures. It is said he confined himself to a room for a month and when he made his first public appearance after the confinement. The people could not believe their eyes as the emperor had turned grey in just a month. Agra was the place where the mausoleum of Mumtaj Mahal was being constructed being in Agra constantly reminded him of his irreparable does so to solace himself he started making a new fort in Delhi.

Q- Was the Red Fort Delhi made by the Artisans who worked at  the Taj Mahal?
A- Yes the chief architect was Ustad Ahmad Lahori and in fact, the red fort of Delhi strongly negates the so-called assertion about the amputation of the workers working in the Taj mahal. The same team of masons, stone carvers, cutters engineers worked in the construction of the red fort. The fort bears astonishing architectural similarity between the monuments constructed by Shahjahan at Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal in Agra.It is said that Shahjahan on the auspicious occasion of the inauguration of the red fort gifted these artisans with valuable gifts.

Q- Why the bank of Yamuna was selected for making of Red Fort in Delhi?
A- Mughal right from the times of Babur was very perturbed by the summer heat of the plains of India so to combat this heat they made beautiful gardens , The most important thing for these gardens is the availability of water so most of the Mughal forts and monuments are made on the banks of rivers to facilitate the availability of water.

 

Dr Atul Kumar Singh Parmar

Dr Atul is a graduate of R.B.S College Agra after the graduation did his Masters in Arts (English) Later pursued Bachelor of Education and Doctorate in English fro Agra University Agra. He has been been engaged in the tourism trade since 1995 , Worked as Govt Of India approved tour escort till 2011, He is promoter of 10thGate Tours dba S.A.M Tours and Travels. He is an avid traveler and travel writer with expertise in tours and travels, history, literature, architecture, social and political.

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