Red Fort History: Features, Facts, Timings & More

6 minute read
The Red Fort History

The Red Fort, in the Hindi language, is also known as Lal Qila. It is a venerated monument in India that holds great historical significance. This magnificent structure is located in the heart of Old Delhi and is a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Red Fort was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Let’s delve into the Red Fort history, features, and intriguing facts about this architectural wonder.

Commissioned byShah Jahan
Also Known asLal Qila
ArchitectUstad Ahmad Lahori
LocationOld Delhi
Timings9:30 am to 4:30 pm; closed on Mondays
Entry Fee for fort₹ 35 for Indians; ₹ 500 for foreigners (changes applicable)
Nearest Metro StationLal Qila 
Video Camera₹ 25 (changes applicable)
StatusUNESCO World Heritage Site 

History of Red Fort

  • Commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, as a symbol of his new capital city, Shahjahanabad (now Old Delhi). The construction of the fort took around nine years and was completed in the year 1648.
  • The fort was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahori, the same architect who designed the iconic Taj Mahal.
  • Originally the fort was in red and white, but later fort was made of red sandstone, which gives it a distinct reddish hue. The sandstone was sourced from the nearby regions of Rajasthan.
  • Red Fort historically served as the main residence of the Mughal emperors like Aurangzeb, Jahandar Shah, Muhammad Shah and Bahadur Shah II for nearly two centuries.
  • Its structure had a combination of Indian traditions and Persian palace architecture. The Red Fort history shows the art from Timurid to the Islamic region.

Features of Red Fort

  1. The Red Fort is surrounded by high walls that stretch for more than 2 kilometres. These walls served as a defensive measure and were built to withstand enemy attacks. They stand around 18 meters tall, presenting an imposing sight.
  2. Its features intricate carvings, delicate marble work and ornate patterns that highlight the skilled craftsmanship of the Mughal era.
  3. The Diwan-i-Aam, or the Hall of Public Audience, is a grand chamber where the emperor would address the common people. This open-air pavilion was used for public gatherings and important ceremonies.
  4. The Diwan-i-Khas, or the Hall of Private Audience, is an exquisite chamber that was reserved for private meetings and discussions. It is adorned with intricate designs and housed the iconic Peacock Throne of the Mughals.
  5. The Rang Mahal, or Palace of Colors, served as the emperor’s harem quarters. Its stunning interiors were embellished with vibrancy of colours, mirrors and beautiful motifs.
  6. Lal Qila also hosts a captivating sound and light show in the evenings, which takes visitors on a historical journey, narrating the stories of the Mughal era and the fort’s significance.

Also Read – The Taj Mahal an Architectural Marvel of India

7 Interesting Facts

  • The Red Fort is where the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the national flag and delivered a speech on 15 August 1947.
  • Every year on Independence Day, a tradition that has been practised since 1947, the Prime Minister of India hoists the Indian flag followed by a speech.
  • In recognition of its architectural and historical significance, the Red Fort was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Credit – Reserve Bank of India

  • With the invasion of Nadir Shah, the army plundered the artwork and jewels of the fort in 1739. Further, the Britishers demolished most of the marble structures because of the revolt of 1857.
  • It was built near the western bank of the Yamuna River, which has dried up with time.
  • In 2019, PM Narendra Modi added five more museums to the feather of the Red Fort namely – The Museum of 1857, the Subhash Chandra Bose Museum, Drishyakala, Yaad-e-Jallian and Azaadi ke Deewane.

Also Read – 10 Important Monuments in India for Competitive Exams

Attraction Inside Red Fort

Lahori GateMain Entrance to the Red Fort
Delhi GatePublic Entrance from the Southern Side
Khas Mahal Residence of the emperor
Rang MahalEmperor’s harem quarters, where the emperor’s wives and mistresses 
Chatta ChowkLong passage and a way with shops and market.
Moti MasjidPrivate mosque built especially for Aurangzeb
Hira MahalBuilt by Bahadur Shah II, a marble pavilion consisting of a famed diamond (yet not found)
Hayat Baksh BaghThe grand garden situated inside the fort
BaoliA step-well built with a unique design
Nahr-i-BihishtA canal that flows through the different pavilions
Tea HousePrince’s quarters, currently converted as a restaurant
Mumtaz MahalThe Red Fort Archaeological Museum is situated inside the palace
HammamThe monarchial baths for emperors and their wives and mistresses.
Naubat KhanaCurrently converted into the Indian War Memorial Museum
Diwan-i-AamAudience hall for public
Diwan-i-KhasAudience hall for private use

Along with these attractions, there are Princes’ quarters which were used as monarchial quarters and for the members of the royal Mughal family.

Diwan- i- Khas

Timings of Red Fort

In 2018, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), took the initiative of illuminating the fort at night with lights. Another attraction is the accredited best light and sound show at the fort. The timings for visiting the Monument and watching the mesmerising light and sound shows are –

Entry9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Week EntryExcept every Monday
Light and Sound ShowFor Hindi Shows – (Based on Season)
7.30 PM to 8.30 PM (May to Aug)
7 PM to 8 PM (Sep & Oct)
6 PM to 7 PM (Nov to Jan)
7 PM to 8 PM (Feb to Apr)
For  English Shows – (Based on Season)
9 PM to 10 PM (May to Aug)
8.30 PM to 9.30 PM (Sep & Oct)
7.30 PM to 8.30 PM (Nov to Jan)
8.30 PM to 9.30 PM (Feb to Apr)
Duration of the Show60 minutes
Light and Sound show at Red Fort. Credit- The Patriot

Other Attractions Nearby Red Fort

Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir (300 m)Gauri Shankar Mandir (300 m)
Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib (750m)Jama Masjid (900m)
Chandni Chowk Market (1.2 km)Paranthey wali Gali (1.5 km)
Raj Ghat (2km)Khari Baoli Spice Market (3km)
India Gate (7km)Humayun’s Tomb (9 km)

At present, the Archaeological Survey of India has control of the monument. The Red Fort continues to stand as a majestic symbol of India’s cultural heritage and architectural brilliance. Its rich history, awe-inspiring features and captivating facts make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and tourists. 


Who is the queen of Red Fort?

The Red Fort in Delhi is said to have been constructed by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The museum holds various items that are categorized thematically and displayed in six galleries representing the Mughal era.

Who built the Red Fort of Agra?

Emperor Akbar initiated the construction of the Red Fort of Agra in 1565, which was later modified by his grandson Shah Jahan. The fort is also known as “Fort Rouge” or “Qila-i-Akbari”, was built using red sandstone and is a significant historical monument.

What is the difference between the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal?

The Taj Mahal is constructed with white marble, and the Red Fort is built with red stones, these two are two iconic structures from the Mughal era. The Taj Mahal, specifically, is a tomb built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honour of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

What is the real name of the Red Fort?

The real name of the fort is Red Fort or Lal Qila, it was also called the Qila-i-Mubārak means “Blessed Fort”.

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That’s all about Red Fort history! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

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