Delhi – the Red Fort

9th February 2014 (Day 1)

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In Old Delhi from a Rickshaw

From Jama Masjid or Jamma Mosque, we rode through the streets of Old Delhi in a bicycle rickshaw, on the way towards the Red Fort.  Most of the streets were very narrow but unfortunately it was a Sunday so most of the shops along the route were closed and there were much fewer people around than there would usually be.  There is a great variety of vehicles on the streets of India.

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In Old Delhi from a Rickshaw

Here a street vendor is adjusting something under his cart in the middle of the road and the rickshaws are just squeezing through.

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In Old Delhi from a Rickshaw

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In Old Delhi from a Rickshaw

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In Old Delhi from a Rickshaw

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In Old Delhi on the street

In Old Delhi on the street

We stopped for a while, so this and the next one are from the street.

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In Old Delhi on the street

In Old Delhi on the street

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In Old Delhi from a rickshaw

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the Red Fort

the Red Fort

This is the Red Fort.  In was built between 1638 and 1648 by the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan, who moved his capital from Agra to Delhi.  It is very large and incorporates various palace buildings.  A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, it is also an icon of contemporary India.  Nehru raised the Indian flag from the main gate in 1947 and the Indian Prime Minister delivers a speech from here every year on Independence Day.

The Mogul Empire reached its zenith under Shah Jahan‘s son Aurangzeb, who controlled pretty much all of today’s India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Nepal except for a small area in the far South.  The Moguls became much weaker in the eighteenth century and by 1730 they directly controlled only the area around Delhi.  With a succession of ineffective Mogul rulers, power had devolved to the regions which then became effectively independent though the Emperors retained wide-ranging influence.

The Maratha Confederacy, spanning Central India from coast to coast, became protectors of Delhi in 1752 but this was not enough to stem the tide of history.  Persian Emperor Nadir Shah took and looted the Red Fort in 1739.  Ahmad Shah from Afghanistan raided Delhi in 1756 and 1761 though I’m not sure whether he took the Red Fort.  The Sikh Misl Karorisinghia took the Red Fort in 1783 and then withdrew in exchange for concessions.  Then in 1803 the British defeated the Marathas and took Delhi, thereby effectively controlling subsequent Mogul Emperors.  In 1857 during the Indian Mutiny, the last Mogul Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, allowed himself to become the focus of the revolt.  After the collapse of the revolt, the Emperor was deported to Burma.  The British then looted the fort and destroyed many of the internal buildings.

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Ceiling, Naubat Khana (Red Fort)

Ceiling, Naubat Khana (Red Fort)

This is part of the ceiling of the Naubat Khana or Drum House.   The Emperor Jahandir Shah is said to have been executed here in 1713 on the orders of his nephew Farrukhsiyar, who had defeated him in battle and become Emperor.   Farrikhsiyar is also said to have been assassinated here in 1719 on the orders of his erstwhile ministers the Sayyid Brothers.

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Diwan i Am (Red Fort)

Diwan i Am (Red Fort)

The Diwan I Am or Hall of Public Audience was built between 1631 and 1640.  It was the place where the Emperor Shah Jahan addressed the general public as well as the nobility.  His balcony or throne would have been the white marble structure partly shown on the far left.

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Diwan i Khas (Red Fort)

Diwan i Khas (Red Fort)

The Diwan i Khas or Hall of Private Audience was where the Emperor Shah Jahan received selected courtiers and visitors and it originally housed his peacock throne.

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Sawan Pavillion

Sawan Pavillion

We were very short of time inside the Red Fort and I had to race around to get what images I could.  With more time I may have been able to find some further interesting details.

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the Red Fort

the Red Fort

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the Red Fort

the Red Fort

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the Red Fort

the Red Fort

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5 comments on “Delhi – the Red Fort

  1. leecleland says:

    For someone who has never been to the Red Fort let alone India, this is a tantalising glimpse of another part of India from your travels. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. I concur with Lee – a wonderful little vacation – culture, beauty and history. Thank you.

    Like

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