Are you in love with ancient buildings? That have national significance? One of such historical monuments in Delhi is the Lal Qila (Red Fort). I have visited Red Fort multiple times and each time, I have loved it a little more. In this post, I will talk about the 15 Interesting Facts about Red Fort.
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About Laal Qila (Red Fort)
Once a main residence of the Mughal Emperors, Lal Qila is a fort in the Old Delhi of India. The fort is of national significance as the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the Indian flag about the Lahori Gate on 15 August 1947.
Designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lal Qila was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638. The main architect of Lal Qila is Ustad Ahmad Lahori who also constructed Taj Mahal in Agra. Lal Qila literally means Red Fort in Hindi, derived from the red sandstone.
15 Interesting Facts about Red Fort
Red Fort is an UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2007, the Red Fort was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many criteria based on which the monument was given the UNESCO status and a couple of them to name are:
- Fusion of architecture, including Mughal, Persian, Timurid and Hindu.
- Been part of historical and critical events.
Red Fort has Light and Sound Show
The Red Fort hosts a light and sound show Tuesday to Sunday in two languages, English and Hindi. These show happens twice in a day at 7:15 PM in Hindi and 8:45 PM in English (Tuesday to Friday)/8:45 PM in Hindi (Saturday and Sunday).
- You can purchase the tickets either online or at the counters at Lahori Gate or Red Fort Centre.
Red Fort was in both Red and White colours
The original colours of Red Fort were red and white and the structure was made of lime stones. But the white lime stones eventually started chipping off and the British government had the complex painted red.
Image of Red Fort appears on Rupees 500 note
Usually, the notes and coins in any country’s currency has something printed that the country is proud of. And similarly India is proud of its architectural monuments and hence Red Fort was printed on the current note. The image of Red Fort appears on the back of Rupees 500 note.
Red Fort is of national significance
Every year on Independence Day (which is 15th of August), the prime minister of India hoists India’s flag and delivers a speech that is broadcasted nationally.
This site was also a site for terrorist attack on 22 December 2000 that was described as an attempt to derail the India-Pakistan peace talks.
World famous Koh-i-Noor diamond belonged to Red Fort’s Royal Family
Koh-i-Noor is one of world’s largest cut diamonds. It is now part of the Queen’s crown in United Kingdom (U.K.). But if history is to be believed, this diamond belonged to India and one story says that the diamond was owned by the Red Fort’s royal family.
As per the notes from Muhammad Kazim Marvi recorded in 1740s, the diamond was one of the stones on the Mughal Peacock Throne and this was looted by Nader Shah from Delhi. The diamond was then acquired by the British as part of the military conflicts in 1849.
Red Fort has a Mumtaz Mahal
Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Arjumand Banu Begam, also known as Mumtaz Mahal, did not just stop at Taj Mahal in Agra. He built a Mumtaz Mahal (palace or resort) for his wife in Red Fort too. This was a quarter for royal women. Currently, Mumtaz Mahal is home for Red Fort Archaeological museum.
Red Fort is considered the symbol of India
The Red Fort played a very important role during the freedom struggle and once the Indian flag was hoisted on the Red Fort getting freedom from the colonial powers and reestablishing the independence and its identity, it became a symbol of India.
Red Fort was built in 10 years
Even though Shah Jahan commissioned the Red Fort in 1638, the fort took 10 years to be built and was completed in 1648. This fort was built because Shah Jahan decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi.
Walls of Red Fort were not damaged during the rebellion
In 1857, there was an Indian Rebellion against the British rule and many of the complex’s structures and marbles were damaged during that time. The walls of the Red Fort remained undamaged during this whole rebellion.
Did you know that India went through a huge freedom struggle and there were many Indian freedom fighters who lost their lives? One of the places where you can learn about them and feel the pain is at Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Red Fort has two gates one for Delhi and the other for Lahore
The Red Fort has two main gates, Delhi and Lahori gates. It may be because of obvious reason such as one gate led to Delhi and the other to Lahore.
Red Fort was formerly known as Qila-E-Mubarak
The Red Fort was originally known as Qila-E-Mubarak which means the Blessing of the fort because it was the residence of the royal family. It was later changed to Lal Qila.
Red Fort is asymmetrical and in octagonal shape
The Red Fort is not symmetrical and the boundary walls include the old fort Salimgarh Fort. And it is built in an octagonal shape when viewed from the top. The entire complex is spread over 256 acres.
Last emperor was exiled to Myanmar
The last emperor of Mughal dynasty was Bahadur Shah Zafar who also stood against the British in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. British held a trial and the emperor was tried for treason. He was stripped off his status as an emperor and was exiled to Myanmar (formerly known as Rangoon).
Red Fort also has a Rang Mahal
The Red Fort complex also has a Rang Mahal meaning Palace of Colours. Rang Mahal was given due to the way the palace was brightly painted and decorated with a mosaic of mirrors. This was the residence of emperor’s wives, mistresses and maids. Only Emperor was allowed to go inside and every other male was forbidden.
How to get to Laal Qila?
Red Fort is around 25 kilometres from Delhi city centre and by road, the journey takes up to 50 to 60 minutes. Note that you need to be a skilled driver to drive in Delhi as the traffic is too much.
By Public transport
- Metro – The closest metro station is Chandni Chowk which is around 1.5 kilometres from Red Fort. You need to take the yellow line for Chandni Chowk and you need to take the exit number 5 which is closer to Red Fort.
- Buses – There are frequent buses to Red Fort too. The closest bus stop is the Subhash Park bus stop.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the closest airport to Red Fort. The distance between the airport and Red Fort is around 20 kilometres and it takes about 45 minutes to get to the Red Fort by car or taxi.
If you have a transit in Delhi airport and is looking for a comfortable stay for few hours before your next flight, then Holiday Inn Express at Terminal 3 is your answer.
Almost all airlines operate out of Delhi as it is the capital city of India and is very well connected with all major cities around the world.
- Best way to get to any place from Indira Gandhi International Airport is by taking a metro. There is a metro station right inside the airport and is the quickest and hassle free way to get to any place.
Stay near Red Fort
Staying in Delhi can be a bit tricky and you need to select the right place where you can be stress free and safe. I have visited Delhi multiple times and I would recommend some of the below places.
Haveli Dharampura, UNESCO awarded boutique hotel
Located in the streets of Chandni Chowk, Haveli Dharampura is known for its cultural and heritage adaptation and restoration. This hotel is just around a kilometre from Red Fort.
Located in Connaught Place, Shangri-La Eros is the perfect stay for luxury and 5 star experience. This hotel is around 5 kilometres from Red Fort.
Radisson Blu Marina Hotel
Located in Connaught Place, Radisson Blu Marina Hotel is a 5 star boutique hotel with many amenities. This hotel is around 3.5 kilometres from Red Fort.
Safety for solo female travelers
I have found that traveling in Delhi is very tricky for solo female travelers, especially for the people who have never stayed there. I do not find Delhi as one of the safest cities so definitely be careful at all times and do not trust everyone blindly.
Red Fort is surely one of the most amazing structures to visit. You go back in time admiring and learning the history of the complex. I highly recommend visiting it when you are in Delhi. And definitely hire a government affiliated guide so you can listen to stories.
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