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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.

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Introducing Red Fort

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.
 

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