Soon after laying the foundation or his new Capital city of Shahjehanabad Shah Jchan started construction of the red sandstone Red Fort or Lal Quila in 1638 A.D. on the banks of the river Jumuna. The fort took nearly nine years to complete. Within the walled city, the fortress is in the shape of a rectangle 900 metres by 550 metres. The rampart walls are about 34 metres high. A moat surrounds the rampart. Two of the five gateways of the fort are three storeyed structures flanked by octagonal towers. These are the Lahori Gate and the Delhi Gate. Figures of two huge elephants flank the Delhi Gate. The main entrance to the fort is through the Lahori Gate. A covered passage with shops on either side leads to the palaces inside the fort. Barracks for soldiers, audience halls, horse and elephant stables, and ornamental gardens are other features of the fort.
Some of the beautiful buildings are the Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, Moti Mahal, Hira Mahal and Rang Mahal, the latter three, all halls decorated with pietro dura and patterns in gold and colour and floors paved with marble slabs. The Moti Masjid was added later in 1654 A.D. and is an excellent specimen of the balance and rhythm maintained in Mughal constructions.
The Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) is an arched pillared durbar hall. A white marble throne, embellished with coloured inlay work stands under a marble canopy. Below the throne is a marble dais inlaid with semi-precious stones. Behind the throne, the wall has beautiful panels of flowers and birds in coloured inlay work.
The Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) is a rectangular central hall with aisles of arches and painted pillars. The four corners of the roof have pillars with chhatris on them. The walls have the famous verses of Amir Khusro which says that “If there is paradise on earth it is here”
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