My Name is Qila-e-Mubarak aka Red Fort

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My Name is Qila-e-Mubarak aka Red Fort

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Each Emperor born or made wants to leave his own trail of everlasting marks in the history, so that his followers and subjects remember him for his bravery and other great deeds in battlefield like annexing many regions, so that others praise about their glory, while many build great buildings and structures some build cities of their own thus Shahjahan (Khurram) was no stranger to this & also coming from the line of emperors who had made glorified this country and had their own capital built ex, Humayun built Dinpananah while Akbar had built Fatehpur Sikri as well as Akbarabad (modern day Agra). Khurram who was the favorite of his grandfather (Akbar) and he knew he’d be a great Emperor, wanted to build a fort which was double the size of Agra Fort and the Fort of Lahore (Shahi QILA). He wanted to build a city and a fort which was built completely by him under his observation thus Dehli (or in modern day known as Delhi or Dilli) was chosen once again by him and the walled city of SHAHJAHANABAD ( built and settled by Shahjahan) has been built.

View of Delhi from the review Shewing the king’s palace

Why Dehli was selected nobody knows or rather it’s debatable, but there are some points to ponder about the cause –

1. Either because of its geographical location because it’s in the middle and from here whole of his empire could be controlled.

2. It was also being the land of the Sufis who had blessed every grain of this city.

3. Some believe that he wasn’t able to tolerate the heat of Agra.

A royal order (Farman) was passed that in the newly capital of Dehli on the banks of river Jun(Yamuna) the construction of the fort of SHAHJAHANABAD with it’s beautiful mansion’s (dilkash manzeile) in which a stream would flow to cool the QILA and other residential structures (nasheman) were to be constructed besides the river for cool breezes along with the QILA. After days of search besides the river a big vacant plot was found to be ideal for the foundation of the city which was in front of Salimgarh Fort built by Sher Shah Suri’s son Ismail Shah Suri, near-about where the followers who had supported Khusrau (Shahjahan’s brother and Jahangir’s son, who had revolted against him) were spiked at near the modern day Chandni chowk area.

Thus on 26 Dhù al Hijjah 1049(29th April 1639) in the emperor’s 12th reigning year the foundation stone for the QILA E SHAHJAHANABAD was being marked and blessed by the Sufis and Pandits thus the name QILA E MUBARAK (blessed fort).

The difficult job of architecture was in the hands of Ustad Ahmed and Ustad Hamid who both had mastered the science of architecture and construction and had also impressed the emperor with their earlier modules. The supervision (sarkari) was under Ghariat khan who was the son of brother of the Subehdar of Dehli Abdullah Khan Firuzjung. The expert diggers (beldars) digged exceptionally well and the foundation for the QILA was laid down on 10th Muharram 1049(12th May 1639). Till then Expert artisians and craftsman, stone cutters (sangtarásh), Stone Masons (sadhakar), Interior-layers (parchi kar), embossers (mambatkār), mason (me’mar) and carpenter’s (najjar) had either been called or gathered from all over the empire and they lend their helping hand in the construction of the QILA.

After a period of almost 2 years the foundation walls which faced the river were completed and were raised to 2 gaz. Even Emperor Shahjahan wanted the QILA to be completed quickly because it was his only wish and after the unfortunate demise of his beloved Mumtaz he was shattered and devastated and with each passing day he had trouble with his health both mentally and physically. The QILA was his only hope to bring some respite and a smile on his face. After a long hard work and much dedication, the people engaged in the construction of the QILA declared it to be completed. The Red Fort was completed in emperor’s 20th reigning year i.e. in 1648.

The Diwan-e-khas, Redfort

A message was sent to Kabul where the Emperor had been staying for a while and been told that the sky-kissed buildings (imarát i asman rif’at) the Daulatkhana i khas wa aam (Diwan e Aam), The Daulatkhana i khas (Diwan e khaas), the Aramgarh (private chambers of Emperor) the auspicious palace (Mahal i qadas), the Hammam (spa or sauna room) the gardens of either side of Daulatkhana i khas (Bagh e hayat baksh) have been completed. The Emperor was on cloud nine upon hearing this and wanted to reach Dehli as soon as possible. He reached Dehli on 25th Rabi al Awwal 1058(18th April 1648).

After reaching Dehli and seeing the QILA it is said that-

इस कायनात में कोई और इतना मजबूत किला नही हो सकता गालिबन आसमान तले कोई और ऐसा किला नही है जो आकाश के सूरज और चांद की तरह दमक रहा हो इसकी इमारतें कल्पना से परे हैं।

Though now much had been changed after the death of Aurangzeb (1707) the later Mughals couldn’t maintain their dominance they once had and thus after the Great War of Independence (1857) the victors (British) in anger and lust pulled down almost all the major parts of the QILA from inside and made it some kind of barracks for the stationing of the soldiers. Even they changed the name from QILA E SHAHJAHANABAD to mere Red Fort because of the barbaric wall built by Aurangzeb to protect from invasions and also keeping the affairs of the QILA more private.

One of the citations which the QILA had in the past:

अगर फिरदौस बार रु वह ज़मीन अस्त

हमीं अस्त व हमीं अस्त व हमीं अस्त

If there is Paradise on Earth

It’s is here it is here it is here.

Now though it doesn’t suits the QILA at all but once indeed it was and that’s the reason of this being engraved in one of the Arch of Daulatkhana i khaas.

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About Joydeep Daey

Storyteller, Heritage walk leader, Historybuff, High on art and culture,
An outsider who fell in love with Dehli it's monuments and its Ganga Jamuna Tehzeeb.

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