Our visit to the Red Fort
Children are by nature curious and Gepetto is no exception.We might think,perhaps he won’t remember what was said to him.Amazingly enough,he took it all in like a sponge,waiting to question us about all the things we adults had told him on this journey we took together.
His first question was directed to me. I straightened myself hoping I wouldn’t be asked about something,I had told him not thinking,Gepetto had ingrained it in his brain,to ask me when the time was right.To him this was the perfect time to find out what she was studying.”Ranu,Gepetto said,remember that day when you came in a bit late? “Yes”, what about it young man? You said you had some assignment to do,what kind of assignment is it? “that one,it is homework I have to do,once or twice a week.” Does that mean you are still in school?” “kind of!” “I want to know all about your school.” “Can it wait,till tomorrow?” Susan was listening to the conversation between the two she wanted her son not to pester the guide. “Okay”,Gepetto was reluctant to wait,but knew he had to. ” Are we going somewhere today”,he exclaimed!
“Today,we are going to visit ,”The Red Fort“.When? As soon as we are ready. “Yeah”,Gepetto,yelled! The noise he made was deafening,but once in a while,adults have to let the young people let off the steam.
Gepetto was excited to see the ‘Red Fort’. He waited patiently for Ranu to tell them about the structure in front of them.
It is a 17th century fort constructed by the Mughal emperor,Shah Jahan in the walled city of Delhi.This was the residence of the Mughal emperors.It was the palace for Emperor Shah Jehan’s new capital Shahjehanabad,seventh city in the Delhi site.
The construction began in 1638 and was completed by 1648.It was named ‘Red Fort’ because of the extensive use of the red sandstone on the massive walls that surrounded the fort.The construction of the building was supervised by Shah Jahan himself.Initially it was referred to as ‘Qila-i-Mubarak'(the blessed fort).The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represents the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of Shah Jehan.
Aurangzeb,Shah Jehan’s successor added ‘Moti Masjid(pearl mosque),to the emperor’s quarters.
The,’Red Fort ‘covers a total area of about 254.67 acres enclosed within 2.4 km of defence walls.the fort is shaped like an octagon with the north-south axis longer than east-west axis.The use of marble floral decorations,double domes in the buildings inside the fort exemplifies the later phase of Mughal architecture.
The Red fort is one of the important building complexes of India.The walls of the fort open at six arched gates.Lahore and Delhi gates were for the general public.Khizrabad gate was for the emperor’s personal use.
Lahore gate is the main entrance;it leads to the domed arcade containing shops called the chatta chowk(covered bazaar).
Important structures inside the fort:Diwan-i-Aam: This was the hall of Public Audiences,the emperor would hear the complaints and pleas of the general public through a jharoka(balcony)It also included a long railing that separated the public from the emperor.It was also used for state functions.
Diwan-i-Khas(hall of Private audiences).The emperor held private meetings with courtiers and state guests.The hall is a rectangular chamber with engraved arched openings supported on piers,on all its sides.Each of the piers is gilded,painted and decorated with floral designs.Pillared Chhatris(umbrellas), cover the corners of the roof.At the centre of the chamber,the famous ,’Peacock Throne’ was placed over a marble pedestal.It was looted in 1739 by Nadir Shah.
Zenana(female),the two southern most pavilions of the palace are zenanas(or women’s quarters).the Mumtaz Mahal (now a museum)and the larger ,the lavish ‘Rang Mahal’.It is famous for its gilded,decorated ceiling and marble pool,fed by the Nahr-i-Bahisht.
The mughals brought with them the west Asian tradition of developing gardens to symbolically represent ‘Paradise on Earth’.
“The family and I had a long day.There were lots to see,we saw as much as possible,we all agreed it was a place worth seeing.Alphie took as many photos as possible.After all, he and his family were tourists coming all the way from Canada.They had to take pictures as souvenirs of their journey. We all were tired and agreed we needed to have some rest.We all settled for something far less elaborate than,’The Red Fort’.”
‘Au Revoir’ and ‘God Bless’, till we meet again!