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Red Fort: Lal Qilla

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

Today we will be discussing another ancient location in India. We will be exploring The Red Fort Of New Delhi, a Mughal Palace, A British Fortress, Sign Of Freedom, and a Historic sight as well. In this, we will go further into depth about this sight of the grandest of ceremonies, pomp and pageantry, as well as the sight of major robberies and looting by former powers. To understand this fortress, you must first understand its complex history, purpose, and the great events.

Our story begins with the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, who had made the decision to move his government's capital from Agra, in central India, to Delhi, in northern India. Shah Jahan at the time did not have a large enough residence to fit his grand court as well as to fulfill all his personal needs. Because of this, he called upon one of the greatest Indian Architects ever, Ustad Ahmad Lahori to build him an Imperial Palace. Construction then began on Shah Jahan’s fortress of grandeur. The Palace was finally finished on The sixth of April, 1648, taking almost nine years to complete. Despite this, I will say that for Shah Jahan, it must have been worth the wait. There were many important buildings inside the fort.

When the structure was completed, Shah Jahan was given a palace with a Grand Imperial Apartment that had a view of the many different buildings inside the fort as well as the formal gardens that were rivaled by no other in the world. The imperial apartments were connected to a water channel called the ‘Stream of Paradise’, which was lined with golden pavilions on either side. This canal went into a heated bathroom, a modern and a thing only the richest of the rich could buy. At the center of it all was one of the most beautiful and complex thrones the world has ever seen, The Peacock Throne. In the center of the throne the Kohinoor Diamond was a prominent sight. This throne took an estimated 500 Million to 1 Billion dollars in today’s money to build. Out of the many paintings in the Mughal Fort, many of them still appear in good condition and some have even been said to look like they were painted only days ago. The fort remained the official imperial residence of the Mughal empire until the Persian Shah, Nadir Shah’s, Invasion Of Delhi. The fort was then looted, its marble taken, and its many riches plundered and given to the Shah. After the Mughal gain of Delhi, some of the imperial palaces ruined buildings and riches would be partially restored. The final blow to the Red Fort came in 1857, the year of the Revolt Of 1857, which ended in a British victory against the Indians, and The subsequent destruction of the remaining riches in the Mughal fortress.

As if this wasn’t enough, British troops were then stationed in the fortress. Red Fort was also used during this period to hold Indian Nobility, Members Of The Imperial Family, and other loyalists to the Mughals.The Red Fort’s time under British Rule presented very little of the grandeur it was once shown. It stayed a British Base until the end of British Rule. However, it did play host to The Durbar, or coronation of King George The Fifth (Also the Emperor Of India) in 1911. Around this time, in celebration of the King’s recent visit, the fortress was partially restored, but still a shadow Of its former glories. One of the greatest and most important events in the fort’s long history occurred on August 15, 1947. This was when India became an Independent nation, and the first prime minister as well as a freedom fighter, Jarwharal Nehru, raised the Indian flag above the Lahori Gate (The main gates of the Red Fort). After this, he made a speech from The Red Fort, which would make it a major symbol of India and Indian Independence. Now, every Indian Independence Day, the Prime Minister raises the flag of India and gives a speech from the Red Fort, just as Jarwaharal Nehru did all those years ago. Red Fort is a beautiful place and a reminder of India’s diverse and grand history. If you ever find yourself in Delhi, visiting The Red Fort is highly recommended!

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