Red Fort, Delhi: India’s Iconic Monument

Lal Qila Delhi
Dilli ka Lal Qila (Delhi's Red Fort) is counted among the 'best' and 'must see' places in the capital city

Red Fort, a prominent monument in India’s national capital, is also known as Lal Qila. It is a historical fortification where the Indian Prime Minister hoists a fluttering green, white and orange tricolour every year on August 15 from its ramparts.

It is a tradition practised since the independence of India from British rule in August 1947. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom…,” India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru delivered this historic speech.

Under the control of Shahjahan, in the holy month of Muharram, on May 13, 1638, the construction of Red Fort started. It took nine years to build and was built entirely on April 6, 1648.

Its layout was originally named Qila-i-Mubarak, which refers to ‘the Blessed Fort’. The fort witnessed various occupants such as Jahandar Shah, Aurangzeb, Muhammad Shah and Bahadur Shah II and others during its history of more than three centuries.

A French physician, Francois Bernier, who resided in Delhi in the 17th century, wrote about the Red fort in his book Travels in the Mogul Empire: AD 1656-1668. He characterised it as “one of the most magnificent palaces of the East” and described the sprawling gardens, busy markets and courts. As per him, the gardens were “filled at all times with flowers and green shrubs, which, contrasted with the stupendous red walls, produce a beautiful effect”.

The property is under the supervision of the Archeological Survey of India, and in 2018, it took the step forward to decorate the fort with lights for night viewing. Its structure was red and white because those were the favourite colours of Shah Jahan.

PM Narendra Modi inaugurated five more museums in Red Fort, namely the Museum of 1857, the Subhash Chandra Bose Museum, Yaad-e-Jallian, Drishyakala and Azaadi Ke Deewane, in 2019.

Important things to know when you visit Red Fort

Architect: Ustad Ahmad Lahori

Area: 255 acres

Timings: Open between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm; closed on Mondays

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Length of Enclosing walls: 2.5km

Entry Fee: Indian Citizen: INR 35, Other foreigners: INR 500, Video camera: INR 25

Nearest Metro Station: Lal Qila

Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Some of the exciting places to see inside Red Fort Complex (Shalimar Fort and Red Fort)

  1. Delhi Gate, the public entrance at the southern end.
  2. A long passageway with a bazaar named.
  3. The main entrance called Lahori Gate.
  4. Mumtaz Mahal is a palace that houses Red Fort Archaeological Museum.
  5. Rang Mahala is a palace where the emperor housed his wives and mistresses.
  6. The public audience hall is known as Diwan-i-Aam, while the private audience hall is Diwan-i-Khas.
  7. Moti Masjid was the private mosque of Aurangzeb.
  8. Nahr-i-Bihisht, a canal that operates through the pavilions.
  9. The drum house, Naubat Khana, now places the Indian War Memorial Museum.
  10.  A garden within the fort called Hayat Baksh Bagh.

Light and Sound Show at the Red Fort

Duration: 60 minutes

Timings: Hindi: 7:30 pm to 8.30 pm English: 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm

(Timings could vary according to the season)

Tickets: Weekdays: ₹ 60 for adults; ₹ 20 for kids. Weekends and Public Holidays: ₹ 80 for adults; ₹ 30 for kids

Also, you can find the fort at the back of the new Rs 500 currency.