Red Fort (Lal qila)
Not good for: late night
- Old Delhi
- 09:00-18:00 Tue-Sun
Lonely Planet review for Red Fort (Lal qila)
The massive Red Fort (Lal qila) stands rather forlornly, a sandstone carcass of its former self. When Emperor Shah Jahan paraded out of the fort atop an elephant into the streets of Old Delhi, though, he and the fort that he built were a grandiose display of pomp and power.
The walls of the fort extend for 2km and vary in height from 18m on the river side to 33m on the city side. Shah Jahan began construction of the massive fort in 1638 and it was completed in 1648. Shah Jahan never completely moved his capital from Agra to his new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi because he was deposed and imprisoned in Agra Fort by his sly son Aurangzeb.
The Red Fort dates from the very peak of Mughal power. The Mughal reign from Delhi was a short one, however; Aurangzeb was the first and last great Mughal emperor to rule from here. The 10m-deep moat, which has been bone-dry since 1857, was originally crossed on creaky wooden drawbridges, but these were replaced with stone bridges in 1811.
Tickets to the fort are available from the ticket kiosk opposite Lahore Gate (the main gate). Since Independence, many landmark political speeches have taken place at the fort and every year on Independence Day (15 August) it hosts the prime minister's address to the nation.
Each evening (except Monday) a one-hour sound-and-light show re-creates events of India's history, particularly those associated with the Red Fort.