The Red Fort or Lal Qila is a most popular tourist place and a heritage site in Delhi, India situated near Chandni Chowk. It has a beautiful architecture and the historical significance to offer that attracts many visitors every year. Not only do we Indians appreciate the majesty of this vast fortress, but it draws interest from all over the world.
However, while we all know about the Red Fort and most of us have paid a visit at least once, we often overlook the secrets this monument has to share with us.
The original name of this majestic building was Qila-e-Mubarak and it continues to be one of the most important national buildings in the country today, being the venue of flag hoisting on the occasion of Independence Day every year.
We have listed down 11 most interesting and unknown facts about Red Fort which you might not have heard before!
#1. Yes, it's called the Red Fort, but it was not originally built that way. As per the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which concluded that limestone had been used on some parts of this precious historic monument. Reports state that the building was painted in red by the British after the white plaster had faded off. That's why the name Red Fort may be White Fort won't be that bad either.
#2. In 2007, The building has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and historical characteristics. A design wonder India ought to be pleased with.
#3. The main entrance of the fort is called the Lahori gate. Fort has two main gates - the Delhi gate and the Lahori gate. The Lahori gate got its name because of its orientation towards Lahore. After all, India and Pakistan used to be the same country once.
#4. There is a third minor exit to the fortress. Originally on the riverbank, it was meant to ensure easy access to the river Yamuna. However, over the years, the course of the river changed but the name remained.
#5. The octagonal shaped building of Red Fort has been made of red sandstone and is encircled by a huge wall. The fort is spread over a sprawling area of 256 acres.
#6. The architectural marvel took long 10 years to be completed, with its construction starting in 1638 and culminating in 1648. It is very evident that with constrained machinery, development in those days took longer.
#7. Qila-e-Mubarak or the Blessed Fort, as Red Fort was originally called, was designed by Ustad Hamid and Ustad Ahmad, the famous architects of the period of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
#8. The Rang Mahal - literally meaning the Palace of Colors - was the residence of the emperor's wives, mistresses, and maids. The emperor being one lucky man, lived right next door in the Khas Mahal so that he could visit the palace for dinner, or stroll over for tea. However, the entry for others, except the prince was prohibited.
#9. Another most intriguing aspect of the Red Fort is the fact that it housed the beautiful Kohinoor diamond, which was embedded into the royal throne of Shah Jahan, which was located in the Diwan-i-Khas. The precious stone was later stolen by Nadir Shah and today is a part of Royal Crown Collection of England. In that time, Kohinoor was the world's largest single piece diamond.
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#10. At the end of the Mughal rule, Red Fort was taken over by the British, who stripped it off its valuables and sold them. They also destroyed the structures within the building.
#11. Red Fort is an amazing example of architectural splendor, with its well-planned public halls, marble places, a mosque and beautiful gardens.