Red Fort

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The Red Fort is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi (in present day Delhi, India) that served as the residence of the Imperial Family of India. It also served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government.


Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and work was completed in 1648 (10 years). The Red Fort was originally referred to as “Qila-i-Mubarak” (the blessed fort). The layout of the Red Fort was organised to retain and integrate this site with the Salimgarh Fort. The fortress palace was an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad.


The significant phases of development were under Aurangzeb and later Mughal rulers. Important physical changes were carried out in the overall settings of the site after the Indian Mutiny in 1857. During the British period the Fort was mainly used as a cantonment and even after Independence, a significant part of the Fort remained under the control of the Indian Army until the year 2003.

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The Red Fort was the palace for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s new capital, Shahjahanabad (present day Old Delhi). He moved his capital here from Agra in a move designed to bring prestige to his reign, and to provide ample opportunity to apply his ambitious building schemes and interests.

The fort lies along the Yamuna River, which fed the moats that surround most of the wall. The wall at its north-eastern corner is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh Fort, a defence built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546.
On 11 March 1783, Sikhs briefly entered Red Fort in Delhi and occupied the Diwan-i-Am. The city was essentially surrendered by the Mughal wazir in cahoots with his Sikh Allies.
The last Mughal emperor to occupy the fort was Bahadur Shah II “Zafar”. Despite being the seat of Mughal power and its defensive capabilities, the Red Fort was not defended during the 1857 uprising against the British.

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