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Important Structures

Lahore Gate

 

The Lahore Gate forms the main entrance of the Red Fort. It is from this place that the Prime Minister of India delivers a speech during the Indian Independence Day every year right from the year 1947 onwards. This gate is named in such way because it is highly oriented towards Pakistan’s Lahore district. These gates are believed to have undergone severe damages in the form of bastions during Aurangzeb’s rule. The security in and around this area was beefed up during the 1980s as the tower windows were blocked to avoid sniper attacks. Thereby, the gate also got a lift added to it.

 

Diwan-i-Aam


The Diwan-i-Aam was used to refer the Hall of Public Audiences. This hall was grandly decorated with stuccowork and had many gold columns. A huge railing separated the Emperor and the common people. It was in this hall that the Emperor sat on an alcove with a canopy and listened to the complaints, issues, requests or suggestions of the general public through a balcony (jharoka). The place was also big enough to conduct state functions. There is a big courtyard, known as mardana at the back of this hall that houses many beautiful structures.

 

Diwan-i-Khas


The Diwan-i-Khas was used to refer the Hall of Private Audiences. It was at this hall that confidential meetings with ministers or guests to the state were held by the Emperor. The rectangular chamber of the halls has intricately carved arches at the entrances that rest on strong piers. These piers are decorated well and adorned with the floral designs. The roofs are covered with pillared umbrellas at the corners. The reputed ‘Peacock Throne’ that was initially located right at the center of the rectangular chamber was stolen by Nadir Shah when he took over this place during 1739. One of the two marble pedestals that were robbed during the Great Mutiny of 1857 is currently in the New York Metropolitan Museum. During 1760, to pay for the freedom of Delhi from the Afghan invader, Ahmed Shah Durrani, the Maratha kings melted the silver ceiling of Diwan-i-Khas. The walls are decorated with holy verses from the 9the century. Right through the middle of the hall, the paradise stream, known as Nahr-i-Bihisht flows adding to the beauty of the place.


Nahr-i-Behisht


These are the private apartments that are found at the back of the throne. These apartments are set up on an elevated level, overlooking the Yamuna River, on the east side of the fort. All these pavilions have the stream of paradise, known as Nahr-i-Bihisht, flowing across them. The water from these apartments come from the Yamuna, drawn from a tower known as Shahi Burj, that is situated towards the north east of the fort. This place is designed as per the holy Quran’s definition of paradise. According to the Quran, there is a couplet which says “if there is a paradise on earth, it is here”. It is this verse that is inscribed in many places of this palace. Though the architectural patterns are a perfect blend of Mughal and Hindu styles, the entire designing belongs to that of Islamic type. This place contains the best architectural style of all structures in the Red Fort.


Zenana


Zenana, in the Mughal period was used to denote the women’s quarters. The two quarters are found towards the extreme south of the pavilion. One is the Mumtaz Mahal, which is now functioning as a museum and the other is the Rang Mahal which is characteristic of its marble work, elegant interiors and ceiling.


Moti Masjid


Moti Masjid means Pearl Mosque. This is found towards the west of the Red Fort. This was a separate additional structure built during 1659 and served as the private exclusive mosque of Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. This mosque is made of pure white marble and has three domes. The screen of the mosque has three arches which lead to the courtyard.


The measurement of the Pearl Mosque is 12m of length, 9m of width and 8m of height. This mosque constructed for the personal use of Aurangzeb had prayer mats made from black marble situated at a slightly elevated level from the floor. These prayer mats were also known as “musallas”. There are three domes on this mosque that were initially given a plating of copper. The door towards the east of the mosque contains leaves coated with copper. The womenfolk of seraglio were also using this mosque in the earlier days.


Hayat Bakhsh Bagh

 

Most of the West Asian countries built gardens around their structures to resemble paradise on earth. This influenced the Mughal emperors too as the Hayat Bakhsh Bagh or the “Life-Bestowing Garden” was designed round the Red Fort. Tanks, fountains, tunnels, pavilions and all other structures that complemented the garden were designed here as well. Flowering plants and trees of different colors and species were planted here. After sunset, the garden took on a different look as they were brightly lit-up. Another small garden, Mehtab Bagh or the Moonlight Garden can also be found inside the Red Fort. The Savon and Badhon stands are the pavilions that are found towards the north and south channels respectively. During 1842, there was an additional two more pavilions that were constructed by Bahadur Shah Zafar, the final Mughal Emperor. One of these is still functional and can be found towards the eastern wall.

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