Agra Red Fort

 

 

As with the Taj Mahal, our visit to the Agra Red Fort was unsatisfactory regarding the time allowed there and now, reading the articles on it on the internet, I find that I missed several places to see: Delhi Gate, Naqqar Khana, Diwan-i-Khas, Rang Mahal, Moti Masjid, and maybe more…

There was no local guide to show us, and I was nearly lost in the main palace and did not know that I had been to the place where Shah Jahan was kept as prisoner, until much later. However, I had a great time on the parapets around the courtyard and had a nice view of the Taj Mahal from there and also from the royal apartments (I presume). Shah Jahan must have looked at the Taj Mahal from his palace and have many thoughts regarding his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal who had departed.

After some time going along with Pyone and others, I was left behind taking photos and suddenly found myself alone. Luckily, I met ko TunTun, a tour organizer, who was looking for stragglers and was shown the way out of the palace.

Agra Red Fort

The Red Fort (Hindi: लाल क़िला, Urdu: لال قلعہ, usually transcribed into English as Lal Qil’ah or Lal Qila) is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi (in present day Delhi, India). It served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government.

Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and work was completed in 1648 (10 years).[2] The Red Fort was originally referred to as “Qila-i-Mubarak” (the blessed fort), because it was the residence of the royal family.

Architectural design

Red Fort showcases the very high level of art form and ornamental work. The art work in the Fort is a synthesis of Persian, European and Indian art which resulted in the development of unique Shahjahani style which is very rich in form, expression and colour. Red Fort, Delhi is one of the important building complexes of India which encapsulates a long period of Indian history and its arts. Its significance has transcended time and space. It is relevant as a symbol of architectural brilliance and power. Even before its notification as a monument of national importance in the year 1913, efforts were made to preserve and conserve the Red Fort, for posterity.

The walls of the fort are smoothly dressed, articulated by heavy string-courses along the upper section. They open at two major gates, the Delhi and the Lahore gates.

Diwan-i-Aam

Diwan-i-Aam

Beyond this gate is another, larger open space, which originally served as the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Aam, the large pavilion for public imperial audiences with an ornate throne-balcony (jharokha) for the emperor. The columns were painted in gold and there was a gold and silver railing separating the throne from the public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Fort

his article is about the Red Fort in Delhi. For the Red Fort in Agra, see Agra Fort.

Coordinates: 28°39′21″N 77°14′25″E / 28.65583°N 77.24028°E / 28.65583; 77.24028

The Red Fort Complex*
UNESCO World Heritage Site


The Red Fort is a prominent fort in Delhi

State Party India
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Reference 231
Region** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2007  (31st Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

The Red Fort (Hindi: लाल क़िला, Urdu: لال قلعہ, usually transcribed into English as Lal Qil’ah or Lal Qila) is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi (in present day Delhi, India). It served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government. The British used it as a military camp until India was made independent in 1947. It is now a popular tourist site, as well as a powerful symbol of India’s sovereignty: the Prime Minister of India raises the flag of India on the ramparts of the Lahori Gate of the fort complex every year on Independence Day. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007[1].

Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and work was completed in 1648 (10 years).[2] The Red Fort was originally referred to as “Qila-i-Mubarak” (the blessed fort), because it was the residence of the royal family. The layout of the Red Fort was organised to retain and integrate this site with the Salimgarh Fort. The fortress palace was an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad. The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. This Fort has had many developments added on after its construction by Emperor Shahjahan. The significant phases of development were under Aurangzeb and later Mughal rulers. Important physical changes were carried out in the overall settings of the site after the First War of Independence during British Rule in 1857. After Independence, the site experienced a few changes in terms of addition/alteration to the structures. During the British period the Fort was mainly used as a cantonment and even after Independence, a significant part of the Fort remained under the control of the Indian Army until the year 2003.The Red Fort is a tourist attraction from around the world.

The Red Fort was the palace for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s new capital, Shahjahanabad, the seventh city in the Delhi site. He moved his capital here from Agra in a move designed to bring prestige to his reign, and to provide ample opportunity to apply his ambitious building schemes and interests.

The fort lies along the Yamuna River, which fed the moats that surround most of the wall. The wall at its north-eastern corner is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh Fort, a defence built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546.The construction of the Red Fort began in 1638 and was completed by 1648.

The Indian flag flying from Delhi Gate

On 11 March 1783, Sikhs briefly entered Red Fort in Delhi and occupied the Diwan-i-Am. The city was essentially surrendered by the Mughal wazir in cahoots with his Sikh Allies. This task was carried out under the command of the Sardar Baghel Singh Dhaliwal, who led Karor Singhia misl which comprised Jat Sikhs from present day Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts (some major villages being Chabal, Naushehra Pannuan, Sirhali, Guruwali, Chabba, Sur Singh, Bhikhiwind, Khadur Sahib, Chola Sahib etc.) .

The last Mughal emperor to occupy the fort was Bahadur Shah II “Zafar”. Despite being the seat of Mughal power and its defensive capabilities, the Red Fort was not defended during the 1857 uprising against the British. After the failure of the 1857 rebellion, Zafar left the fort on 17 September. He returned to Red Fort as a prisoner of the British. Zafar was tried on in a trial starting on 27 January 1858, and was exiled on 7 October.

Contents

[hide]

// [edit] Architectural design

View of the pavilions in the courtyard

Naqqar Khana

Red Fort showcases the very high level of art form and ornamental work. The art work in the Fort is a synthesis of Persian, European and Indian art which resulted in the development of unique Shahjahani style which is very rich in form, expression and colour. Red Fort, Delhi is one of the important building complexes of India which encapsulates a long period of Indian history and its arts. Its significance has transcended time and space. It is relevant as a symbol of architectural brilliance and power. Even before its notification as a monument of national importance in the year 1913, efforts were made to preserve and conserve the Red Fort, for posterity.

The walls of the fort are smoothly dressed, articulated by heavy string-courses along the upper section. They open at two major gates, the Delhi and the Lahore gates. The Lahore Gate is the main entrance; it leads to a long covered bazaar street, the Chatta Chowk, whose walls are lined with stalls for shops. The Chatta Chowk leads to a large open space where it crosses the large north-south street that was originally the division between the fort’s military functions, to its west, and the palaces, to its east. The southern end of this street is the Delhi Gate.

[edit] Important buildings and other structures inside the fort

Diwan-i-Aam

[edit] Diwan-i-Aam

Beyond this gate is another, larger open space, which originally served as the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Aam, the large pavilion for public imperial audiences with an ornate throne-balcony (jharokha) for the emperor. The columns were painted in gold and there was a gold and silver railing separating the throne from the public.

Diwan-i-Khas

[edit] Diwan-i-Khas

The Diwan-i-Khas is a pavilion clad completely in marble, the pillars are decorated with floral carvings and inlay work with many semi-precious stones.

[edit] Nahr-i-Behisht

The imperial private apartments lie behind the throne. The apartments consist of a row of pavilions that sits on a raised platform along the eastern edge of the fort, looking out onto the river Yamuna. The pavilions are connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht, or the “Stream of Paradise”, that runs through the centre of each pavilion. The water is drawn from the river Yamuna, from a tower, the Shah Burj, at the north-eastern corner of the fort. The palace is designed as an imitation of paradise as it is described in the Koran; a couplet repeatedly inscribed in the palace reads, “If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here”. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals in its architectural elements the Hindu influences typical of Mughal building. The palace complex of the Red Fort is counted among the best examples of the Mughal style.

[edit] Zenana

Rang Mahal

The two southernmost pavilions of the palace are zenanas, or women’s quarters: the Mumtaz Mahal (now a museum), and the larger, lavish Rang Mahal, which has been famous for its gilded, decorated ceiling and marble pool, fed by the Nahr-i-Behisht.

Moti Masjid

[edit] Moti Masjid

To the west of the hammam is the Moti Masjid, the Pearl Mosque. This was a later addition, built in 1659 as a private mosque for Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s successor. It is a small, three-domed mosque carved in white marble, with a three-arched screen which steps down to the courtyard.

[edit] Hayat Bakhsh Bagh

To its north lies a large formal garden, the Hayat Bakhsh Bagh, or “Life-Bestowing Garden”, which is cut through by two bisecting channels of water. A pavilion stands at either end of the north-south channel, and a third, built in 1842 by the last emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, stands at the centre of the pool where the two channels meet.

[edit] Red Fort today

The Red Fort by night.

The Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Old Delhi, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The fort is also the site from which the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on 15 August, the day India achieved independence from the British. It also happens to be the largest monument in Old Delhi.

At one point in time, more than 3,000 people lived within the premises of the Delhi Fort complex. But after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the fort was captured by Britain and the residential palaces destroyed. It was made the headquarters of the British Indian Army. Immediately after the mutiny, Bahadur Shah Zafar was tried at the Red Fort. It was also here in November 1945, that the most famous courts-martial of three officers of the Indian National Army were held. After India gained independence in 1947, the Indian Army took control over the fort. In December 2003, the Indian Army handed the fort over to the Indian tourist authorities.

Today, a sound and light show describing Mughal history is a tourist attraction in the evenings. The general condition of the major architectural features is mixed. None of the water features, which are extensive, contain water. Some of the buildings are in fairly good condition and have their decorative elements undisturbed. In others, the marble inlay flowers have been removed by looters and vandals. The tea house, though not in its historical state, is a functioning restaurant. The mosque and hamam are closed to the public, though one can catch peeks through the glass windows or marble lattice work. Walkways are left mostly in a crumbling state. Public toilets are available at the entrance and inside the park, but some are quite unsanitary.

The entrance through the Lahore Gate leads to a retail mall with jewellery and crafts stores. There is a museum of “blood paintings” depicting young Indian martyrs of the 20th century along with the story of their martyrdom. There is also an archaeological museum and an Indian war memorial museum.

The fort was the site of a December 2000 attack by terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba which killed two soldiers and one civilian in what was described in the media as an attempt to derail the India-Pakistan peace process in Kashmir.

Red Fort Complex

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/231

Brief Description

The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.

Outstanding Universal Value

The planning and design of the Red Fort represents a culmination of architectural development initiated in 1526 AD by the first Mughal Emperor and brought to a splendid refinement by Shah Jahan with a fusion of traditions: Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu. The innovative planning arrangements and architectural style of building components as well as garden design developed in the Red Fort strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield. The Red Fort has been the setting for events which have had a critical impact on its geo-cultural region.

Criterion (ii): The final flourishing of Mughal architecture built upon local traditions but enlivened them with imported ideas, techniques, craftsmanship and designs to provide a fusion of Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions. The Red Fort demonstrates the outstanding results this achieved in planning and architecture.

Criterion (iii): The innovative planning arrangements and architectural style of building components and garden design developed in the Red Fort strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield. The Red Fort Complex also reflects the phase of British military occupation, introducing new buildings and functions over the earlier Mughal structures.

Criterion (vi): The Red Fort has been a symbol of power since the reign of Shah Jahan, has witnessed the change in Indian history to British rule, and was the place where Indian independence was first celebrated, and is still celebrated today. The Red Fort Complex has thus been the setting of events critical to the shaping of regional identity, and which have had a wide impact on the geo-cultural region.

The Red Fort Complex is a layered expression of both Mughal architecture and planning, and the later British military use of the forts. The most dramatic impacts on the integrity of the Red Fort Complex come from the change of the river into a major road, which alters the relationship of the property to its intended setting; and from the division of the Salimgarh Fort by a railway. Nevertheless the Salimgarh Fort is inextricably linked to the Red Fort in use and later history. The integrity of the Salimgarh Fort can only be seen in terms of its value as part of the overall Red Fort Complex. The authenticity of the Mughal and British buildings in the Red Fort Complex is established, although more work is needed to establish the veracity of the current garden layout. In the specific case of the Salimgarh Fort, the authenticity of the Mughal period is related to knowledge of its use and associations, and of the built structures dating from the British period.

The nominated property has been declared a monument of national importance under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1959. A buffer zone has been established. Although the state of conservation of the property has improved over the past ten years, much more work is needed to put the overall state of the property into a stable condition and to ensure visitors do not contribute to its decay. The Red Fort Complex is managed directly by the Archaeological Survey of India, which is also responsible for the protection of all national level heritage sites in India and Indian cultural properties included in the World Heritage List.

http://www.liveindia.com/redfort/History.html

History
‘ It first occurred to the omniscient mind that he should select on the banks of the aforesaid river some pleasant site, distinguished by its genial climate, where he might found a splendid fort and delightful edifices, agreeably to the promptings of his generous heart, through which streams of water should be made to flow, and the terraces of which should overlook the river.’ Muhammad Tahir, Inayat Khan Shahjahan-nama, 1657-58.

Such worthy thoughts, according to the royal librarian, prompted the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to found a fresh city at Delhi in the mid-seventeenth century. He called it Shahjahanabad, meaning City of Shah Jahan. At its centre stood the Red Fort, a vast walled complex of beautiful palaces and meeting halls from which the Emperor ruled with unmatched public pomp and ceremony. Today, the surviving Fort buildings stand silently amid the still bustling city, now called Old Delhi.

The Red Fort’s success was instant. It represented the pinnacle of Mughal palace-fort building, and symbolized political and economic power. It was also perhaps the most extravagant and sophisticated theatre ever built for daily performances of one of the world’s most dazzlingly grand courts. But its glory was short-lived; as the Mughal Empire waned, so did the Fort. Later Emperors abused the fine buildings, raiders snatched its treasures, marauders wrecked its buildings and finally the British, blind to its qualities, pulled down the greater part. Even this century, what remains has been largely ignored, unappreciated and uncared for. But, despite the ravages of time and human action, the extraordinary achievement of the Red Fort in plan and fine architecture is still visible today, although it is unjustly ignored. It is time to set the record straight, to look again at the surviving buildings and to bring the Fort alive through the personality of its creator, Shah Jahan, and his Court.

The Red Fort and its surrounding city constitute the only large-scale Mughal city planned and built from scratch to survive as a living city. Built in just over nine years, it burst into life in 1648 and, although the palace buildings are peopled only by ghosts, the city it supported still thrives today and the inhabitants of its tiny lanes are often descendants of merchants and craftsmen who served Shah Jahan and his Court, still practising the same trades in the same areas. Here they live and work, shop in the markets and celebrate their festivals in the streets. And a few old families who a generation ago deserted the lanes for spacious, air-conditioned comfort in the New Delhi suburbs keep the family haveli (courtyard mansion) in Old Delhi and speak proudly of the city they come from, even if they have never slept a night in it.

The key to the Red Fort’s success was firstly that it was designed not merely for Court pleasure. It may have contained glittering palaces, but it was also the power-base for the whole Empire, for internal government and external foreign affairs. It was built for defence, too, although this role would later prove its Achilles’ Heel. The Red Fort was also a complete community, a city-within-a-city, with its own bazaars (the covered Chatta Chowk is a token survivor), gardens and mansions for favoured courtiers. Every detail of layout and every building reflected Mughal greatness, using the finest materials to realise the most mature Mughal designs.

Secondly, the supporting city was an essential part of the original plan. It had its own protective walls; its great mosque, the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), stands on the only hillock so all can see it; and its host of specialist bazaars, which supplied the vast Court with everything it needed from silk slippers to fresh Kabul melons. The city gained enough momentum to survive, albeit less glamorously, when the Mughal Empire waned and, more importantly, when the British built New Delhi and its competing shopping centre at nearby Connaught Place.

Thirdly, the whole of Shahjahanabad, both Red Fort and city, was a thoroughly royal undertaking. The city outside the Emperor’s palace-fort was an extension of it in design, patronage and function. Indeed, Fort and city sustained one another, living in symbiosis. The Jama Masjid encapsulates the idea, for it was planned as the mosque for both the city and the royal Red Fort, which had no internal place of prayer. The city’s main market street, Chandni Chowk, was laid out by one princess; additional markets, sarais (inns), Hammams (baths), mosques and gardens were given by other members of the royal family; and grand havelis (mansions) were built by favoured princes and courtiers. The havelis have mostly gone, but those markets and places of worship are still focuses of Old Delhi. Conversely, the public had access to the daily public meetings held in the Diwan-i-Am (Public Audience Hall) in the Fort itself, a fundamental element of Mughal rule.

As a royal undertaking, the Emperor’s personal interest and vast finances were behind the project. With a stable empire and a huge income from taxes paid by his
subjects, Shah Jahan could indulge his obsession, building a new and magnificent capital whose centrepiece would become a legend in his lifetime and whose magnificent planning and buildings would survive, in part, to be admired by posterity. Shah Jahan seems to have taken an active part in the design, direction and encouragement of the whole project. He was involved in the general plan and in the detailed designs for the marble palaces, the Chatta Chowk, the Jama Masjid and probably more. As one recorder noted, perhaps with an overdose of loyalty: ‘Occasionally His Majesty supervised the work of goldsmiths, jewellers and sculptors. Thereupon specialists commissioned to design new buildings would submit their plans to His Majesty, who discussed them with expert persons … Various monuments, which even the best-versed architect could not have devised, were drawn up by His Majesty personally. His advice or his objections were regarded as binding.’

Forthly, the Red Fort and its city are an inspired triumph of urban planning. Within the Fort, the core of the design is T-shaped, the cross-bar consisting of a string of palaces facing the Yamuna’s cool river breezes on the east side of the Fort. To the west, they face the main axis of the Fort and city: a procession of increasingly less private and less royal buildings which leads to a giant gateway, out of the seat of power and into the city’s principal thoroughfare, Chandni Chowk.

Finally, each building in the Red Fort displays the hallmark of perfect taste and elegance. Built at the height of one of the most cultured courts the world has known, this is Mughal palace architecture at its most ambitious and sophisticated. Imagined in its original completeness, it would have easily outshone its contemporary European rival, Louis xiv’s palace at Versailles, and it covered twice the area of the largest European palace, the Escorial. Of the surviving structures, each one perfectly fulfils its function. At the same time, each is visually satisfying, relates happily to its neighbours and fits snugly into the overall plan. Lines are simple, proportions human in scale, detailing restrained and both materials and workmanship of the highest quality. Architectural historian Percy Brown judged it in 1942 as ‘the last and finest of those great citadels, representative of the Moslem power in India, the culmination of the experience in building such imperial retreats which had been developing for several centuries.’ Thus the Red Fort symbolizes the apex of Mughal cultural refinement

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Agra Red Fort”

  1. agra red fort Says:

    hi this is too good site

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: