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The entrance of the Gate leads through a long covered bazaar called the Chatta Chowk. From Chatta Chowk follows the Naqqar Khana (Drum Room) also called Naubat Khana or the Welcome Room, which earlier formed part of a square enclosure with apartments for the umrah (Nobles) on duty. It was at this point that everyone other than the Emperor had to dismount from their elephants and walk towards the magnificent Diwan-e-Am (hall of public audience) where the Emperor used to listen to the grievances of the common man.

The Naqqar Khana is 49 feet high with an open arched hall at the top, which served as a music gallery from where the strains of music filtered down to welcome the Emperor, or to bid him a safe journey. The War Memorial Museum is housed on the first floor. The Diwan-e-Am is built of red sandstone and is set atop an impressive plinth. The southwest and northwest corners of the pavilion are articulated by small chhattris.

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After 1857, an ornamental panel depicting Orpheus was dismantled, but it was restored at Lord Curzon’s initiative at the beginning of the 20th century. The Diwan-e-Am was originally gilded with elaborate stuccowork. However, today only the shell of the magnificent structure can be seen. Along the eastern wall of the fort and commanding scenic view of the Yamuna River was spaced out the private realm of the Emperor. The Yamuna in those days flowed past the walls. The remind palaces exist today in the form of MumtazMahai, Rang Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-e-Khas, the hammam and the Shah Burj from where originated the Nahar-e-Bishisht (Canal of Paradise), which flowed in a channel through these buildings.

The Museum of Archaeology, which has artefacts salvaged from the royal palace, is housed in the Mumtaz Mahal. Rang Mahal (Palace of Colours) gets its name from its painted interior. The northern and southern sections were called Sheesh Mahal (Sheesh-mirrors and mahal- palace). Embedded in the ceiling which reflected lights in fascinating multiplicity, were embedded in the ceiling. This, with its basement, was the palace of the royal ladies. Khas Mahal (Emperor’s Palace) has special rooms for private worship and for sleeping. It was small and elegant and had a fine marble screen at the north end, which carried a motif of the scales of justice, which are seen in many miniature paintings of Shahjahan’s time.

A marble balcony, which once projected over the banks of the Yamuna and once the river changed its course it was from this place that the Emperors used to present themselves for public appearance. Perhaps the most elegant part 0f the fort is the Diwan-e-Khas (hall of private audience) and it is almost like an un-detachable part of the history of the Mughal Empire. In 1739 the hall witnessed Nadir Shah receiving the submission of Emperor Mohammed Shah and depriving him of his most valuable treasures including the famed Peacock Throne. It was again here in May 1857 that Indian soldiers declared Bahadur Shah Zafar as the Emperor of Hindustan.

The throne was set on a high impressive plinth along the rear wall and its flat ceiling supported by a series of engrailed arches, was gilded in sliver and had some of the finest pieta durra work and paintings. Over the corner arches is inscribed the couplet of Firdausi, the poet in Shahjahan’s court which when translated from Urdu means: “If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.” The hammam (bathing area) has three chambers with a fountain in the middle of the one in the centre.

It also has pieta dura work on the walls. Shah Bur] was a place where the emperors held private conclaves and it is in a secluded point. Besides the conclaves, die emperors would also relax & privacy pondering over various issues.

Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) was a private masjid and was added by the emperor Aurangzeb. The masjid with three domes in perfectproportion gives it a rare look of elegance. To the left of this masjid is the Hayat baksh, a Mughal garden built by Shahjahan. While at the southern and northern ends are the Sawan Bhadon pavilions, in the centre of the garden are the grand Zafar Mahal.

During Shahjahan reign, he moved the capital of India from Agra to Delhi, where the construction of a new city would take place. Here, a new and great palace for Shah Jahan was built, the Red Fort. Its name came from the massive red walls that surrounded it, some of which that were as high as 100 feet. These walls enclosed the finest, most beautiful of all Mughal Palaces. It is made of and decorated in Marble, gold and precious stones, inlaid into intricate Mosaics.

The die centre was his throne and above it in golden letters is written on the ceiling, ” If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.” The Red Fort served a great purpose for nearly 200 years as the centre of Shahjahan’s empire where he led a life known to be of great pomp and ceremony. From here, he could: show himself to his public in a ceremony called darshan from a large balcony, received public petitions and messages in the Diwan-I-Am, discussed important state matters with his principle state ministers in the Diwan- I-Khas, discuss the most secret of affairs with his kin and most trusted officers in the Royal Tower or Shah Burj, held lively gatherings and feasts and retiring for the night, ^his place was the greatest of Mughal Palaces and was the heart of Shahjahan’s empire.


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