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Delhi's famous Red Fort is known by that name because of the red stone with which it is built and it is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. India's history is also closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bhadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of the three century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free form colonial rule.
The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, after ruling from Agra for eleven years, decided to shift to Delhi and laid the foundation stone of the Red Fort in 1618. For its inauguration in 1647, the main halls of the palace were draped in rich tapestry and covered with silk from china and velvet from Turkey. With a circumference of almost one and a half miles, the fort is an irregular octagon and has two entrances, the Lahore and Delhi Gates.
The main entrance to the Lal Quila is through the Lahori Gate. Beyond the gate, there is a roofed passage, flanked by arcaded apartments leading to the palaces, known as Chhatta Chowk. These apartments are now used as shops. Besides these, there are three more gates on other sides, which are kept closed now. The master builders of the Red Fort were Hamid and Ahmad. Visitors are allowed only in a part of Red Fort, as the army occupies the rest of it. Some of the main buildings within the fort are :
Attractions of Red Fort Delhi
Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Public Audience is situated in the Red Fort of Delhi. It originally had a courtyard on its front and was richly ornamented with gilded stuccowork. Heavy curtains graced the main hall, which were three bays in depth.
Accompanying the Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Selective Audience, the Hamam (bathroom set) consists of three apartments interconnected by corridors. The marble floors and dados are inlaid with beautiful floral patterns of multi-colored stones.
The personal mosque of Aurungzeb, Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque lies to the west of Hamam. Situated on a higher level than courtyards, the prayer-hall of the mosque has inlaid black-marble outlines of 'musallas' (small carpets for prayers) and is surmounted by three bulbous domes.
One of the original six main-palaces situated along the river front, Mumtaz Mahal was also known as 'Chhoti Baithak'. A beautiful water channel called 'Nahr-i-Bihisht' (meaning Stream of Paradise) flew through these palaces. However, this palace has been removed, probably because it was totally in ruins.
Naubat Khana, or Naqqar Khana (meaning the Drum House), is situated at the entrance of the palace area. Here music was played five times a day at the appointed hours. It housed a gate known as 'Hathi Pol' (Elephant Gate), where visitors dismounted from their elephants.