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Photographer's Note

I'll be doing a series on The Red Fort in Delhi. These photos are from scanned slide and quality is not great, but I've decided to post them just to show this place.


Red Fort, known in Hindi as Lal Qila, refers to the Mughal residences in either Delhi or Agra. The name derives from the red sandstone used in its construction. When one approaches old Delhi with a somewhat Westernised perception the emotional response can range from wonderment to bewilderment, from utter disgust to ecstasy. Undoubtedly, Old Delhi gives an insight into the multi-layered identity that so aptly characterizes India. The lanes are narrow, filled to bursting with people, throbbing with life. In the midst of this sea of people, suddenly you come face to face with the ramparts of the Red Fort. The decision for constructing the fort was taken in 1639, when Shahjahan decided to shift his capital to Delhi. Within eight years, Shahjahanabad was completed with the Red Fort-Qila-i-Mubarak (fortunate citadel)-Delhi's seventh fort, ready in all its magnificence to receive the Emperor. Though much has changed now because of large-scale demolitions during the British occupation of the fort, its important structures have survived, the glory faded with age but still impressive.
The Red Fort was the palace for Shah Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad, the seventh Muslim city in the Delhi site. He moved his capital 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 Red Fort stands at the eastern edge of Shahjahanabad, and gets its name from the massive wall of red sandstone that defines its eight sides. The wall is 1.5miles (2.5km) long, and varies in height from 60ft (16m) on the river side to 110ft (33m) towards the city. Measurements have shown that the plan was generated using a square grid of 82m.
The fort lies along what was once the course of the Jamuna River (it has since changed its course), that fed the moats that surround most of the wall. The wall at its northeastern corner is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, a defense built by Islam Shah Sur in 1546.
After the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, when the Fort was used as a headquarters, the British army occupied and destroyed many of its pavilions and gardens. A program for restoring the surviving parts of the fort began in 1903.
The walls of the fort are smoothly dressed, articulated by heavy string-courses along the upper section. They open at two major gates, the Delhi and the Lahore gates. The Lahore Gate is the main entrance; it leads to a long covered bazaar street, the Chatta Chowk, whose walls are lined with stalls for shops. The Chatta Chowk leads to a large open space where it crosses the large north-south street that was originally the division between the fort's military functions, to its west, and the palaces, to its east.

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Additional Photos by Pranab Banik (pranab) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1566 W: 21 N: 1362] (5354)
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