This Shahjehan’s (the Mughal Emperor’s) dream in red stone was completed in 1648 after nine years labour of the choicest architects and masons of the time.Its octagonal ramparts are 60feet high and 1.5miles or 2.41 kms.around .It is a typically India fort symbolishing the Mughal power and splendour .It has two imposing gateway-LahoriGate on the western side and Delhi Gate on the eastern side.The main entrance is through Lahori Gate.In shahjahan’s time this citadel was called Urdu-Mualla,but later on it came to be known as quilla-i-Mualla or the Fort of Exalted Dignity.
The barbican over the Lahori Gate was erected during the reign of Aurangzeb,because when the people passed that way,the King’s throne came into view and they had to bow before it. This caused great inconvenience to the people and courtiers,and embarrassment to the King.From the ramparts of this same barbican the Prime Minister of India now hoist the National Falg and address the nation on Independence Day.
The quila was very well-planned and was then executed with almost perfection .It has a complex of palaces amidst well laid out gardens and boulevards,halls of private and public audience,prayer rooms,royal baths, fountains,stables, music gallery, quarters for staff and servants,and a shopping arcade.
Diwan-i-Am or Hall of public Audience is the Chamber where the Emperor used to hold his court and hear public complaints. The precious stones of the royal recess were looted by the British solders, following the uprising of the nationalist forces in 1857.
Diwa-i-Khas or hall of private Audience was the most luxurious of Chambers,where the Emperors gave private and personal audience to the favoured ones. On the marble pedestal in the centre of the hall,once stood the famous Peacock Throne (Takhte-Taus) said to be worth 12 million pounds sterling at that time.The Peacock Throne of solid gold,was inlaid with many precious stones, had figures of peacocks standing behind it.Between then stood a parrot of single emerald.In 1793,Nadir Shah seized the Peacock Throne along with nine other thrones and carted these off to Iran. The total value of the treasure,from the royal sources alone was then estimated to be Rs.70 crores.Nadir Shah also took away the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond . on the walls of this Chamber ,a Persian couplet is inscribed that reads:
Gar Firdaus Bar Roo-e-Zami-Ast Hamin Asto,Hamin Asto,Hamin Ast
[If paradise is anywhere on the earth .It is this ! It is this!]
The other monuments worth visithing in the Fort are: The Moti Majid or the Pearl Mosque construcked by Aurangzeb in 1659 for his personal prayers-the Rang Mahal,The Khas Mahal,The Shahi Hamams,the Shah Burji where the channel of water ran through the palace complex.Sonet-Lumiere or the sound and light spectacle is used each evening to reenact the history of the Red Fort . Conducted,alternately in hindi and English,the show is thrilling and exact in telescoping the past centuries of grandeur and turmoil that this fort witnessed mutely.