There are two Red Forts in India. They are 200 kilometers away, one in Delhi and the other in Agra. Historically, they are only 77 years apart. The Red Fort in Delhi was built later. Both complexes are unique examples of Eastern architecture, are included in the UNESCO lists and at different times were the residences of rulers. The relocation of the capital from Delhi to Agra and back was the reason for the resemblance of these forts.
Red Fort in Agra
In the 16th and 17th centuries the city was the capital of the great Mughal Empire. These years account for its heyday, built by the amazing beauty of architectural complexes. The most famous were the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort in Agra. The date of its construction is believed to be 1571, during the reign of Akbar the Great. His successor, Shah Jahan, continued the construction. The style is influenced by Islamic and Hindu styles. The outer perimeter, protective walls, and towers were built of red sandstone, which gave the fort its name. Shah Jahan, unlike his predecessor, was more drawn to snow-white marble with gold trim.
In contrast, the interior buildings seem to glow from within, built from rare varieties of marble that were brought in from various parts of the country. The splendor was given by the exquisite plant ornaments covering almost the entire space of the walls, and the inlays of precious stones. The walls of the inner chambers still have recesses into which the jewels were inserted.
The fort at Agra is a complex that included:
In fact, it was an entire city created with all sorts of luxury for the rulers of the country. It is crescent-shaped, situated on the bank of the Yamuna River, and originally had four entrance gates, two of which were later bricked up. The walls are double, about 20 m high. Decorative marble inserts contrast well with the red sandstone.
Red Fort in Agra on the map
Shah Jahan’s Dungeon
With such care and love the palace complex erected became a luxurious prison for the great ruler. The son, frantic for power, did not wait for the natural death of his parent. He hastened the process of the succession by proving that his father was slightly out of his mind and could not rule the state. Broken by the death of his beloved woman and having already built the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan made a single request. From the windows of his place of confinement the tomb should be visible.
The section of the fort allocated to the deposed Shah was equipped with all the luxuries befitting a ruler. Jahan’s favorite marble and gold were used for decoration.
The complex included a total of six mosques and palaces. Not all of them survived.
- The largest and most magnificent was Jahangiri Mahal, built for Akbar’s wife. It resembles a tent and consists of a series of sumptuously decorated halls, where murals, mosaics, and stone carvings were used. The interior is completed with paintings in the Persian style. A bowl for ablutions was preserved in the courtyard. On the outside, the walls are decorated with a fine ligature of Arabic verses carved into the stone with the greatest skill.
- The Has Mahal delights with amazing examples of painting on a marble base. Elements of Hindu and Islamic orientation are clearly visible.
- The imperial baths were also pompously called palaces. Its uniqueness lies in the inlay with mirrors. Their position is calculated so that the light from the doors and the vent repeatedly refracted in the mirror faces, creating an artificial lighting effect. There were no windows in the thick walls to keep it cool.
- Not far from the Mirror Palace is the Diwani Khas, where Shah Jahan was imprisoned.
Most palaces were divided into winter residences, located on the sunny side, closed off from the wind, and summer residences, whose windows were in the shade. Special tunnels in the wall thickness were used for heating and cooling.
The Fort of Agra in India is open to visitors.
The Red Fort in Delhi
It is considered a symbol of the power of the emperors of India. The construction took only 10 years, and the scope of the architectural design is difficult to assess at first glance, so it is grandiose. It was here, in the Red Fort in Delhi, that Shah Jahan moved his residence from Agra.
The most outstanding examples of the architecture of the complex are considered to be:
- Imperial Apartments;
- General and private audience rooms;
- Pearl Mosque;
- A multicolored palace.
The Red Fort in Delhi was built on the foundations of an ancient fort, which makes its walls slightly asymmetrical. The overall shape resembles an irregular octagon, and the complex includes the famous geometric gardens in addition to the buildings. Hindu, Timurid, and Persian elements are found in the architecture.
The famous Peacock Throne was installed in the Diwan-i-Khas Palace. It was decorated with precious stones, stood on massive gold legs, and part of the back was made in the form of a stylized tree, on which the peacock sat. On the back of the throne, among other jewels, was Koh-i-Noor, recognized as the largest diamond in the world. It has not survived to this day; it was broken into three pieces and taken to different countries.
Chronicles claim that the citadel was built in the likeness of the paradise described in the Koran.
In the 20th century the fort became a museum, is considered one of the main attractions of old Delhi and is a perennial success with tourists. The Red Fort Delhi’s mode of operation is standard for a museum. Monday is a day off, on other days the complex is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can buy a ticket for 10 rupees.
To get the right to take pictures, you must additionally buy a special permit for 25 rupees.
Red Fort in Delhi on the map
The red forts of India are magnificent. Despite the centuries that have passed, they have preserved the exquisite beauty of the paintings, the delicate lacework of the stone ornaments and the inimitable power of the fortifications that symbolized the firmness of the ruling dynasty in India.