Red Fort - History


Red Fort of Delhi is a very popular historical monument as national flag is hoisted on 15th August and 26th January on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day and Republic Day respectively. The fort was under the Mughals for nearly 200 years then it came under Marathas and British.

Red Fort under Shah Jahan

The fort was constructed by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, when he wanted to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri designed the fort and it was constructed on the banks of Yamuna River whose water filed the moats of the fort. The construction of the fort was started in 1639 and completed in 1648.

Shah Jahan

Red Fort under Aurungzeb

Shah Jahan was succeeded by his son Aurungzeb who added Pearl Mosque or Moti Masjid in the fort. He also built barbicans at the two main entrances of the fort. After the death of Aurungzeb, the glory of the fort began to decline.


Red Fort Post Aurungzeb Reign

Aurungzeb was succeeded by Jahander Shah in 1712. He was murdered by Farrukhsiyar who became his successor. He replaced the silver ceiling of Rang Mahal with copper one in order to raise money. Muhammad Shah took over the fort in 1719. During his reign, Nadir Shah attacked Delhi and defeated the Mughals. During the attack, Nadir Shah plundered the fort and took away the Peacock Throne. This attack made the Mughals weak.

Red Fort under Marathas

Mughals signed a treaty with the Marathas in 1752 who became the protectors of the fort. Marathas also attacked and conquered Lahore and Peshawar which led to a conflict with Ahmad Shah Abdali. In order to protect the fort, the Marathas melted the silver of the ceiling of Diwan-i-Khas constructed by Shah Jahan. The Marathas wanted to raise the fund to defend the fort from Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Ahmad Shah Abdali defeated the Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. Shah Alam became the emperor of Delhi with the help of Marathas in 1771. Sikh attacked and conquered the fort but ready to give the fort back to Shah Alam on a condition that seven gurudwaras have to be built and protected in the city.

Red Fort under British

In 1803, Marathas were defeated by the British East India Company in the battle of Delhi which was fought in 1803. They took over Mughal territories and the Red Fort. At that time Bahadur Shah Zafar II was the Mughal Emperor.

During the mutiny of 1857, Bahadur Shah left the fort. He was later caught and brought to the fort as a prisoner. British sent him to Rangoon where he died and this ended the Mughal rule. After this, the British plundered and robbed of the wealth of the red fort and other forts and palaces.

Red Fort after Independence

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, hoisted the national flag at the Lahori gate of the fort in 1947. After independence, the fort was used as an army cantonment till 2003. After that it was given to Archaeological Survey of India. Today the fort is used to hoist the flags on 15th August and 26th January.

Dimensions of Red Fort

The fort is spread in an area of around 255 acres and the construction was based on Mughal architecture. The circumference of the fort is 2.41km while the walls on the river side has the height of 18m and on the city side 33m. The octagonal fort was built by using red sandstone and marbles. The buildings inside the fort like palaces, halls, mosque, and many others has floral decoration and double domes.