A symbol of national heritage and a site of importance, the Red Fort in the centre of Delhi, India, is an old fort that acted as the Emperor’s residence for hundreds of years, during the time of the Mughal Dynasty. Today, it is home to museums and stands as a key landmark and main tourist attraction of the city, defined by its large and iconic sandstone walls. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the whole complex, including its gardens and attached buildings, is an example of unique design and innovative architecture which still inspires amazement in the people who visit it.
One of the most remarkable features of the Red Fort is the Lahori Gate, the main entrance and site of the annual Indian Independence Day speech, and the Delhi Gate is also important, which has a pair of life-size stone elephants guarding the entrance. In addition to gates, there are a number of significant rooms, including the Chatta Chowk, which once contained the silk and jewellery of the imperial house, and the Naubat Khana, the old drum house, where music was played from daily. There are inner and outer courtyards on the complex, surrounded by galleries and large halls, which have columns and arches covering the walkways leading to marble balconies and luxurious apartment suites. Visitors can walk the rows of pavilions on the eastern side of the fort and overlook the magnificent landscaped gardens and rest of the impressive sandstone buildings, towers and baths.
Delhi, as the national capital, is very accessible from throughout India, with a major airport, Indira Gandhi International, and the main railway hub at the centre of the city, connecting to major cities and nearby towns. Once in Delhi, visitors can quickly reach the Red in the city centre, with the nearest metro station being Connaught Place and local buses also travelling regularly to the site.
Construction of the Red Fort began in 1639 when commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan who wanted to shift the national capital from Agra to Delhi, and requested the design from the same architect who developed the Taj Mahal. The project completed in 1648 and became a focal point of the old town of the city, symbolising the power and creativity of the ruler. The palace degenerated during the 18th century, before becoming a military base and then a present day site of archaeological restoration.