Red Fort

Not only a fort – also a palace

In 1638, the Emperor Shah Jehan decided to move his capital from Agra 100 miles to the north to Delhi. At the heart of his new town was a huge fort, today known as the Red fort. However once inside it is not so much a fort as a palace, and perhaps the finest example of a Mogul palace. As we shall see, it is very different to the Indian palaces

Red Fort Lahore gate 022The Lahore gate

The main entrance to the Palace was the Lahore  gate which led out towards Lahore, now in Pakistan, but the third city of the Golden Triangle of the Moguls.  Shah Jehan erected a very fine gate but it is largely obscured by the bastion built by his successors. From this bastion on ‘Independence Day’ August 15 every year, speeches are made to an admiring crowd.

Red Fort Drum House AS 028


Just inside the Fort is the Naubhat Khana, otherwise known as the Drum house or Musicians gallery, which marks the transition from the Fort to the Palace or Royal quarters.

Red Fort Public audience AS 047

The Diwan-i-Mm, or  Public audience hall where the Emperor would meet commoners and hold court.


The heart of the Palace is the Diwan-i-Mm, or  Public audience hall, where the emperor would sit in splendour and make pronouncements and in theory at least hold court with his subjects. The hall as we see it today is largely the work of Lord Curzon who restored it when he was Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905 when he introduced a government antiquities service that was far more active than was anything in Britain.


Red Frt Throne AS 030The stone canopy, where the emperor sat on his throne.

Red Fort marble palaces AS 0641Three pavilions

The central one is the Diwan-i-Khas, the Private audience Hall.

The public audience chamber was built in red sandstone, the local stone. However the imperial buildings behind it were built in lavish white marble brought in from over 100 miles away.

Here we see three of the building with in the centre of the Diwan-i-Khas, the Private Audience chamber which is the most lavish of all the halls

This demonstrates well the difference between the Mogul and the Indian palaces for whereas the Indian houses were rabbit warrens, the Mogul palaces were laid out as a series of separate buildings set among large formal gardens

Red fort  Private audienceAS  037The Diwan-i-Khas, the private audience chamber

This is a close-up of the Diwan-i-Klas, the Private audience chamber, showing some of the lavish decoration of the white marble.

Red fort marble inlay AS 038One of the inlaid panels in the Private audience chamber









Red Fort Domes AS 639The Moti Masjid, or the Pearl Mosque, built by the Emperor Aurangzeb in 1659/60.

In the corner of the royal apartments was this mosque known as the Moti Masjid, or Pearl mosque built by the Emperor Aurangzeb in 1659 to 60 adjacent to the hamam or baths.

Red fort pavilion 0643

The Rang Mahal, one of the pavilions built between the audience chamber and the Mosque, apparently for the use of the emperors chief wife


On to:Humayun’s tomb


 8th March 2013