The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. In 1638 Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi. The Red Fort, lying at the town’s northern end on the right bank of the Yamuna and south of Salimgarh, begun in 1639 and completed after nine years.
The feature of the fort that it was made up of large sand stone of red color gave it the name Lal Qila, The Red Fort. The fort was previously also known as ‘Qila-e- Mubarak’ or the Blessed Fort due to the fort being residence to the royal family. Spreading over an area of more than 250 acres of land, Red Fort was constructed with superior architecture than that of the Agra Fort by Shah Jahan. Red Fort held a significant focus in the time of Mughal Rule and is one of the best examples of apex of Mughal architecture and zeal for precision, grandeur and finesse reflected especially during the era of Shah Jahan. Red Fort witnessed many additions and alterations under the rule of coming Mughal rulers, mainly during the rule of Aurangzeb.
The fort is octagonal, with the north-south axis longer than the east-west axis. The marble, floral decorations and double domes in the fort’s buildings exemplify the Mughal architecture. It showcases a high level of ornamentation, and the Kohinoor diamond was reportedly part of the furnishings. The fort’s artwork synthesises Persian, European and Indian art, resulting in a unique Shahjahani style rich in form, expression and colour. Red Fort is one of the building complexes of India encapsulating a long period of history and its arts.
The Lahori and Delhi Gates were used by the public, and the Khizrabad Gate was for the emperor. The Lahore Gate is the main entrance, leading to a domed shopping area known as the Chatta Chowk (covered bazaar). The imperial apartments consist of a row of pavilions, connected by a water channel known as the Stream of Paradise (Nahr-i-Behisht).
It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Red Fort Complex. On Independence Day (15 August), the Prime Minister of India hoists the ‘tricolor’ national flag at the main gate of the fort and delivers a nationally-broadcast speech from its ramparts.