The Red Fort is a magnificent fort complex in Delhi, and is one of the city’s most popular visitor attractions. With its red sandstone walls, which rise 33 metres and stretch for 2.4km, the fort covers an area of more than 250 acres.
The Red fort was built in 1638 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal. The Mughal Empire included much of present-day India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, and Shah Jahan decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi as he felt it a more fitting site. The Red Fort continued to serve as the capital of the Mughal Empire until the arrival of the British in the 1850s.
Features within the complex include the Hall of Public Audiences, in which the emperor would hear commoners’ complaints and pleas; the Hall of Private Audiences, where he would meet with courtiers and state guests; the Imperial Apartments; women’s quarters, the Pearl Mosque, the Hayat Bakhsh Bagh (“Life-Bestowing Garden”) and the Royal Baths. There are also three prominent gates: the Lahore and Delhi gates, which were originally for use by the public, and the Khizrabad Gate, which was for the emperor himself.
The Red Fort is also well-known for its sound and light shows, which take place at 6pm each evening. The shows recreate events in India’s history that are linked to the fort. The fort was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Events to mark India’s Independence Day take place at the fort on August 15 every year. The prime minister hoists the national flag and then makes a speech from its ramparts. The speech is broadcast across the nation.
The fort is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from sunrise until sunset, and the nearest Metro station is Chandni Chowk.