How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed-

Tripoto
9th Oct 2018

The magic is real. Come and experience it here, at Red Fort

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas
Day 1
Photo of Red Fort, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, Delhi by Christy Mariam Thomas

When I joined Delhi University in 2015, I was excited to explore Delhi. But I took to heart my friend's description of Red Fort as a boring place and kicked it out of my list. Every time I visited the Paranthe wali gali or climbed the minarets of Jama Masjid, I would notice the seemingly boring red building spread far beyond my range of vision and I would quickly dismiss the idea of an impromptu visit because 'my time is too precious'.

The entrance to the fort- Lahori Gate

Photo of Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Christy Mariam Thomas

Somebody once told me be curious, not judgemental. So, one day, after 4 years of being judgemental, I decided to be curious one last time before I left Delhi. I decided to see for myself why Red Fort was so boring. I boarded the heritage line metro and stood in front of the fort- tall, all red and somewhat mysterious. I paid Rs. 50 for a ticket and started walking towards the grand entrance.

How many of you think the Red Fort is a boring place to be? Let me tell you you're WRONG. Did you know the Red Fort has a name? Its called "Qila-E-Mubarak". Built in 1638 over the course of a decade and designed to keep out invaders, it is spread over an impressive area of 256 acres. How many of you know the history of the fort? How many of you know there's a mini market inside it and that the red fort is not all red?

Chatta Chowk/ Meena Bazar

Photo of Chatta Chowk Bazar / Meena Bazaar, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Christy Mariam Thomas

Walking in through the red sandstone entrance Lahori Gate, I saw this long passage with a huge arched roof selling trinkets like souvenirs, scarves, bags and perfumes for the foreigners. This was the Chatta Chowk or the Meena Bazar. This is all that what a marketplace should be- shining lights capturing your attention, noisy shopkeepers shouting out attractive offers, the air bathed in heady scents and bargaining customers- its the complete package.

The British barracks where sepoys used to stay

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Passing through the clamorous Chatta Chowk, you are greeted by something you don't often find in the capital....sweet sweet silence. You read that right, the minute you step out of that Bazar its like you've entered a different era. The air is almost so clean you forget you're still in Delhi, there's no honking to be heard, nobody yelling profanities or asserting their dominance with "Tu jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai ?"(Do you even know who my dad is ?) It's so serene, so calm I instantly regretted my decision to not visit sooner, and this was just the beginning.

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Straight ahead of the marketplace, lies the Naqqar Khana, also known as Naubat. This was a drum house, where musicians used to perform for the emperor or announcements were made when the court was in session. The insides of the richly carved dome and walls were originally painted in gold.

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah, Furwa rawa hamesha hamesha salamat rahe, Tera ho kya bayain, Tu shaan-e-hindustan, Hindustan teri jaan, Tu Jaan-e-Hindustan, Marhaba Hooo Marhaba

The people who remember this song might know this place. This is Emperor Akbar's legendary Diwan-I-Aam (Hall of Public Audiences), where he used to sit and listen to the public's greivances.

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

This is the Emperor's throne, once encrusted with jewels and rubies, it is a beautiful white marble seat with decorated with intricate carvings.

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

The hall has an impressive façade of nine engrained arch openings decorated with amazing stucco work.

The Private Quarters of the royals

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Didn't I say there is a whole other world beyond the gates of the fort? Beyond the Diwan-I-Aam, lies the private quarters of the royal family made wholly out of white marble and completed with amazing artistic designs.

Diwan-I-Khaas

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

The private quarters complex includes the Hall of Private Audiences where the famous Peacock Throne was kept before it was stolen by the Persian conquerer Nadir Shah. The walls are decorated with holy verses from the Quran.

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

On the same platform, lies the Rang Mahal, one of the grand harems, later used as the mess hall by the British. The platform on which it stands has beautiful floral designs carved on it.

Rang Mahal

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Rang Mahal has a marble basin in its center which is said to have held an ivory fountain. It is flanked by what is called the Sheesh Mahal. The fountain drew water from the Nahr-I-Bihisht(Stream of Paradise), a shallow water channel providing a continuous supply of warm water from the Yamuna and was designed to keep the palace cool during summers.

Hira Mahal

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Lying between the quarters of the Emperor and the harems, Hira Mahal is a lounge area surrounded by the Nahr. The Yamuna lies behind the lounge and the luspalace garden lies in front of it.

Moti Masjid

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

In between Rang Mahal and Emperor's quarters, there's Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) built for the Emperor's personal use. The walls are carved with designs and holy verses. There is a secret passageway under the mosque which leads to the harems so that the women could visit and pray during the special hours.

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

The lush royal gardens alluringly beckon the tired tourist and offer some respite from the harsh Delhi heat. The gardens are very well maintained and there's non stop music from the singing mainas living in the trees.

Bahadur Shah Zafar's fallen palace

Photo of How many of you knew Red Fort has a name? Here's a guide for the skeptical and the misinformed- by Christy Mariam Thomas

Right in the middle of the garden lies this derelict 'fallen palace' being restored to somewhat its original condition. This was the Zafar Mahal, built by Bahadur Shah Zafar. It had a grand hall, surrounded by small rooms. Over time, with no usage and upkeep, the roof fell through.

Finally when I went to Red Fort after 4 years of vehemently denying the urge to visit, what did I learn there? That it was totally worth the effort and the labels like boring and political landmark need not be associated with it at all time. Through personal experience, I'd definitely recommend visiting the Red Fort because there's a lot to see there. And even more so to experience.

The enchanting magic of two important eras, each so well preserved in the folds of time that the moment you step foot inside the fort, you are transported back to when there was music and merrymaking within the walls, happy times indeed. The fort has seen and been through a lot and still it retains most of its original charm and continues to wow the visitors.

5 Comment(s)
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Resident of Delhi may not be knowing this much. Very informative and pictorially guided writing. Keep it up. Looking forward for another blog.
Thu 03 28 19, 17:24 · Reply (1) · Report
Thankyou
Tue 04 02 19, 13:14 · Report
Nice work, very informative, keep it up.
Wed 03 27 19, 17:04 · Reply (1) · Report
Thankyou
Thu 03 28 19, 10:09 · Report
Very nice and informative. Superb.
Wed 03 27 19, 16:44 · Reply (1) · Report
Thankyou
Thu 03 28 19, 10:09 · Report
Very nice
Wed 03 27 19, 16:36 · Reply (1) · Report
Thankyou
Thu 03 28 19, 10:10 · Report
Very nice and interesting. I like it. Keep it up......
Wed 03 27 19, 16:28 · Reply (1) · Report
Thankyou
Thu 03 28 19, 10:10 · Report