Monuments of Shahjahanabad: An Introduction to Lal Quila

“Once, there was nothing here. Now, look how minarets camouflage the sunset. Do you hear the call to prayer? It leaves me unwinding scrolls of legend till I reach the first brick they brought here. How the prayers rose, brick by brick?”
– Agha Shahid Ali


Delhi, the capital of India, has a solid, authentic foundation ruled by the most powerful emperors of Indian history. The historical backdrop of the city is just about as old as the epic Mahabharata. The town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live. At the appropriate time, eight different urban communities woke up contiguous Indraprastha: Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad. Delhi has been an observer of the political disturbance for more than five centuries. The Mughals managed it in progression to Khiljis and Tughlaqs.

India Gate is 1192, the armies of the Afghan King Muhammad of Ghori caught the Rajput town, and the Delhi Sultanate was set up (1206). The attack of Delhi by Timur in 1398 erased down the sultanate; the Lodis, the last of the Delhi kings, gave way to Babur, who fought the war of Panipat in 1526 to establish the Mughal Empire. The early Mughal sovereigns inclined toward Agra as their capital, and Delhi turned into their extremely durable seat solely after Shah Jahan constructed (1638) the boundaries of Old Delhi.

From Hindu Kings to Muslim Sultans, the reins of the city continued to move, starting with one ruler then onto the next. The dirt of the town, smell of blood, forfeits and love for the country. The old ‘Havelis’ and structures from the past stand quiet, yet their quietness likewise says a lot for their proprietors and individuals who lived here hundreds of years back. In the year 1803 AD, the city went under the British principle. In 1911, the British moved their capital from Calcutta to Delhi. It again turned into the focal point of the multitude of administering control. The city has a history of tossing its rulers, be it the Britishers or the current political groups that have the pleasure of driving free India. After autonomy in 1947, New Delhi was authoritatively proclaimed as the Capital of India.

The Red Fort

Red Fort, also called Lal Qalʿah, also known as Lal Kila or Lal Qila, is also called Mughal Fort in Old Delhi, India. It was constructed by Shah Jahān during the seventeenth century and was a significant vacation destination. The fort was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. The stronghold’s gigantic red sandstone boundaries, which stand 75 feet (23 meters) high, encase a complex of royal residences and diversion corridors, projecting galleries, showers and indoor waterways, and gardens designed geometrically, just as a grand mosque. Among the most renowned designs of the complex are the Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-I-ʿAm), which has 60 red sandstone columns supporting a level rooftop, and the Hall of Private Audience (Diwan-I-Khas), which is more modest and has a structure of white marble. A previous red fortress had been underlying Old Delhi in the eleventh century by the Tomara lord Anangapala. The Quṭb Mosque presently remains on the site.

Lahore Gate

The Lahore Gate and its way comprise at least three separate segments, each contributed by a different person. The bridge to enter the gate was constructed in 1811 during the British period. Aurangzeb added the 10.5m high barbican – the fort encasing the Lahore Gate and making it more complicated. Past the barbican, at right, stands the Lahore Gate named after the city of Lahore. The Lahore Gate is the place where the Prime Minister addresses the country on Independence Day.

Chhatra Chowk

Just past the Lahore Gate lies the market. Today is known as Chhatta Chowk, yet in Shahjahan’s time was otherwise called Meena Bazaar or the Bazaar-e-Musakkaf. In the seventeenth century, the shops along this covered, vaulted arcade sold somewhat outlandish products: eunuchs, gems, brocades, and so on. Today, they provide food solely to keepsakes looking for sightseers. If you advance toward the focal point of the arcade, where an octagonal open court allows in daylight, you can, in any case, see hints of the first beautification as chiselled mortar.

Naubat Khana

Past the Chhatta Chowk is the Naubat Khana, or Naqqar Khana, the drum house. Constructed in 1639-48, the Naubat Khana initially housed the music display and was the fundamental access to the Diwan-e-Aam. Performers at the Naubat Khana would play the drums for the day on exceptional events like the sovereign’s birthday, five times each day if the head were in-home and threefold in case he was voyaging. Initially, there was a walled square before the Naubat Khana, with a tank in the centre and openings to a north-south market road prompting the Delhi Gate on one side and toward the north of the complex on the other. A channel of water ran down the length of this road. Guests would land in this square, leaving their carriages, carts, ponies and elephants here. Thus, this was otherwise called Hathi Pol or ‘Elephant Gate’.

Higher up, the music display of the Naubat Khana has been changed over into the War Memorial Museum, with shows going from Mughal to World War I fights – you’ll see excellent old swords, safeguards, maces, powder horns and protection from Mughal times. The World War I segment has a mixed showcase of firearms, outfits, identifications, military adornments, photos, banners and so on.


Beyond the Naubat Khana, a stone pathway flanked by yards, prompts the Diwan-e-Aam, the Hall of Public Audience. The Mughal sovereigns would get the overall impression of people and hear their petitions and protests. The Diwan-e-Aam also initially had an enormous square before it, encircled by arcaded lofts. The Diwan-e-Aam is a striking, flawlessly royal residence with open sides and a front of red sandstone. The lobby was initially covered with cleaned white shell lime mortar, with plated roof and sections, and railings of gold and silver, isolating the majority from the honorability.

The lobby’s feature is the great white marble privileged position that stands in the focal point of the eastern divider. The privileged position is wonderfully adorned, with a bending Bangalda or whaleback rooftop and carvings of blossoms, especially daffodils, up and down the lower front of the construction. The divider behind the privileged position is decorated in excellent and broad pietra dura work portraying trees, blossoms and birds. These enriching boards, much harmed and halfway eliminated and taken away to England after 1857, were reestablished in the mid-1900s by an Italian craftsman named Menegatti.

Mumtaz Mahal

The Mumtaz Mahal was initially a piece of the supreme seraglio. After the revolt of 1857, it was utilized as a jail and later as a sergeant’s wreck. It currently houses the Archeological Museum, an intriguing assortment of antiquities from the Mughal time. The fortunes incorporate good tests of calligraphy, farmaans or royal proclamations by Jahangir, Shahjahan, Aurangzeb and Sultan Abu Sayyid, the granddad of Babur, the main Mughal head. There are old books (a fourteenth-century Quran and a duplicate of Firdausi’s Shah Nama); some acceptable compositions by Govardhan and Mansur, both famous Mughal craftsmen; fine Persian tiles from the thirteenth century; weapons’ and the belongings of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar and his significant other, Zeenat Mahal. These are likewise different things related to the revolt of 1857: artistic creations, drawings, and old letters (counting one from Bahadur Shah to Queen Victoria).

Rang Mahal

Originally named for the paintwork that improved its boundaries (‘rang’ signifies ‘shading’), just as the beautiful public life of its interior, the Rang Mahal was the head working off the majestic seraglio. The royal residence, made of white marble and shell mortar, was otherwise called the Imtiyaz Mahal (the ‘castle of qualification’). Shahjahan’s time was on fire with paint and mirrorwork, its length divided by heavy window hangings. A comprehensive, shallow water channel went through it, with a focal marble bowl cut into the floor. Under the Rang Mahal was a tehkhana or storm cellar, to which the women of the seraglio would move in the warm mid year days. After 1857, the military took over the Rang Mahal and filled in the wrecked space for the regiment positioned at the fortress. Today, a little chamber decorated with fine mirrorwork still endures, acceptable segments of brilliant mirror shaping arabesques and mathematical examples on the roof and upper boundaries.

Khaas Mahal

Next to the Rang Mahal is the Khaas Mahal, the private royal residence of the head, with finely cut white marble all through. Post for the impeccable jali (screen) work and the portrayal of the balances of equity on the northern side of the Khwabgah (resting chamber), which likewise has wonderfully constructed metal entryways, cut all over in an example of blossoms, with uncommon door handles looking like elephants with mahouts (individual who drives an elephant) sitting on them. At the east ending of the Khaas Mahal is the Musamman Burj, a semi-octagonal pinnacle with cut marble jalis and a jharokha (oriel window) in the middle. The Musamman Burj was initially constructed with an arch of plated copper – what you see Today was placed by the British after 1857. The jharokha of the Musamman Burj was known as the jharokhae-darshan, where the head would show up at the crack of dawn day by day to show himself to his subjects.


The Diwan-e-Khaas, or the ‘Lobby of Private Audience’, where the ruler met with his most select squires, is by a wide margin the most lavish of the Red Fort’s numerous castles. Dissimilar to the Diwan-e-Aam, this lobby is made totally of white marble and was initially decorated with cutting, overlaid and delicate pietra dura trim. In its prime, the Diwan-e-Khaas was covered, loaded with mirrors and gold-weaved shades, and with a massive overhang of red fabric extending across the front. Towards the rear of the corridor, on a marble stage, sat the incredible Takht-e-Taawus, the Peacock Throne. The Peacock Throne was depicted by the French gem dealer and voyager Jean-Baptiste Tavernier as being overcome by a ‘peacock with a raised tail made of blue sapphires and other shaded stones, the body being of gold decorated with valuable stones, having an enormous ruby before the bosom, from whence balances a pear-formed pearl of 50 carats or somewhere around there… ‘.

The Peacock Throne was carted away by the trespasser Nadir Shah in 1739, and the Diwan-e-Khaas has endured extensively over the years. You can, in any case anyway, find out about its previous eminence. Hints of the overlay used to cover the roof in remodels during the mid-1900s are noticeable, and the pietra dura decorate of blossoms on the lower areas of the sections is pretty much flawless. Ongoing reclamation work has likewise replicated the plated design on one of the columns fronting the lobby.


Near the Khaas Mahal and Diwan-e-Khaas stand a generally unexceptional structure, totally shut and with several glass windows on each side that permit guests to peep in. Here you will want to see a few indications of what was once a most loved chamber for the Mughal heads: the Hammam or bathhouse. The Hammam was customarily where the king had his shower, yet frequently examined significant state issues with the subjects who went to him. The Hammam includes three fundamental chambers, met by hallways, with a focal bowl for hot and cold showers. (The measure of wood devoured by the magnificent Hammam was considerable: 125 maunds of kindling were required at one time – a maund being around 37.3 kg – to warm the Hammam). The insides of the Hammam are of white marble enlivened with pietra dura trims and cutting and a story with pretty botanical plans.

Hira Mahal

Beyond the Hammam is a four-sided structure of white marble, known as Hira Mahal. This tiny, essential, and sparingly designed construction was constructed in 1842, during the lean occasions when the last Mughal sovereign, Bahadur Shah II, made due on benefits given by the East India Company’s administration in India.

Shah Burj

At the furthest stopping point of structures along the divider stands Shah Burj, which comprises two specific areas. At the point-shaped by the northern and eastern walls of the fortress is the genuine Burj, the pinnacle. This was initially a domed structure; however, the arch was obliterated in the outcome of 1857. Indeed, what you do see of Shah Burj Today is just with regards to extremely old; the design was genuinely harmed in a seismic tremor in 1904, because of which it must be modified nearly without any preparation. This is a five curved structure of white marble upheld on fluted sections and with low whaleback rooftops.

The Shah Burj initially was the point from which water was disseminated all through the stronghold. Water was siphoned up from the waterway, and essentially on later occasions, additionally arrived in a stream that through an opening in the western divider. The water streamed down a cut white marble course (which can, in any case, be seen) and afterwards into the channel known as the Nahar-I-Bihisht, the ‘Flood of Paradise’, which moved through the structures and castles of the post.

Moti Masjid

Next to the Hammam, and like it forbidden to guests, is the ‘pearl mosque’ underlying 1659-60 by Aurangzeb, the child and replacement of Shahjahan. It is a bit three-domed mosque dressed with white marble and utilized as a private sanctuary by the Mughal rulers and the women of their families. The Moti Masjid is encircled by a high divider that conceals the structure adequately. The vaults that are apparent above are not exactly unique – they were first covered with overlaid copper plates that were severely harmed in 1857. Later fixes, in the wake of the revolt, got rid of the copper and overlaid.

Hayat Baksh Bagh

The biggest of the gardens in the Red Fort, the Hayat Baksh Bagh (‘bestower of life’ garden), was spread out by Shahjahan when he constructed the fortress in 1639-48. What you see TodayToday, nonetheless, loosening up past the Moti Masjid, is a form made by the British in the early long periods of the twentieth century. The British occupation obliterated the nursery. Until 1902 had lain covered under vast loads of earth and flotsam and jetsam, and the boulevard and water direct initially put in by Shahjahan had almost evaporated. Broad removal and reproduction were completed somewhere between 1904 and 1911, bringing about the many gardens you see TodayToday. Garrison huts constructed for the utilization of British soldiers after 1857 anyway still possess half of the greenhouse.

Sawan and Bhadon Pavilions

At one or the flip side of the Hayat Baksh Bagh are two practically indistinguishable open structures of cut white marble, confronting each other across the water channel that runs from one to the next. These two structures are named Sawan and Bhadon—after the two blustery months in the Hindu schedule; however, it’s not satisfactory why these specific names were given. Antiquarians have guessed that the structures were maybe utilized during these months; or that the water falling along the front of every frame looked like the downpour in Sawan and Bhadon. The two structures are flawlessly cut, and exceptionally compelling is the mass of little curved specialities behind what might have been a course of water. In these specialities, lit lights were set around evening time and containers of brilliant blossoms during the day. The impact of water streaming before these in a delicate, sparkling drape more likely than not been very pleasant.

Zafar Mahal and Tank

Midway between the Sawan and Bhadon structures, in the focal point of the vast water channel that goes through the Hayat Baksh Bagh, stands a red sandstone structure known as Zafar Mahal. Zafar Mahal remains in a four-sided tank (built totally of red sandstone). However, the tank was necessary for the first development of the fortress; Zafar Mahal was added 200 years after the fact, in 1842 by Bahadur Shah Zafar, who additionally added a railing to the tank. An extension initially associated the structure to the edge of the tank. As it turns out, British soldiers in the Red Fort utilized the tank as a swimming shower for a long time.