If you’ve read about the glorious past of India, then you must be knowing about the impact the Mughals had in its fiscal, physical and intellectual dimensions. The Mughals, who first ruled from Agra, later shifted their capital to Delhi. The region saw a tremendous growth during this era, with the growth of the several historic buildings. The Red Fort or the Lal Qila is one such intriguing piece of architecture, one should definitely visit in the capital city. These days you can easily find an affordable Agra to Delhi taxi or a luxury bus to reach the city. Read more about the history of the fort here.
It was Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who shifted the kingdom’s capital from Agra to Delhi in the year 1639. In the same year, he laid the foundation stone to establish the Lal Qila in Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of the Delhi Sultanate (or the present-day Old Delhi). After its construction, which took a long time to complete, the fort became the residential complex of the royal family. The massive expanse of River Yamuna touched the walls of the fort. The massive wall had huge gateways and shelters for soldiers at regular intervals. The sheer size and soldiers count ensured that the royal family stays completely secured from any attack. Out of these fourteen gates, the Mori gate, Kashmiri gate, Ajmeri gate, Lahori gate (on the west), Delhi gate (on the south) and Turkman gate, were the most famous. You might have passed them several times, but since you didn’t know about their history, they didn’t seem so significant.
The fiscal and administrative state of the Mughals went down during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb. IT was the 18th century when the fort saw massive degeneration. In 1712 – 1739, several smaller Mughal kings took control of the Red Fort. In 1739, Persian emperor Nadir Shah led a war against the Mughals and invaded Delhi. His brutality created havoc and the Red Fort faced the brunt too. The destruction was heavy and he also took away the much acclaimed ‘Peacock Throne’. He left with Delhi in ruins and in the hands of a weak Mughal ruler, Muhammad Shah. This made the Mughals sign a treaty in 1752, which established Marathas as the protectors of the Delhi Sultanate. The Marathas successfully carried on with the task of protecting the fort until 1761, when the Afghan king, Ahmed Shah Durrani, raided Delhi.
After that, several smaller Hindu and Sikh rulers took their part to rule the city of Delhi and made the Red Fort as their seat of administration, until the Britishers came. They seized the fort and the capital from Bahadur Shah Zafar, exiling him and taking the control in 1858. In modern history, a part of the fort remained under the control of Indian Army until 2003, after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took the task of restoration and preservation of historic sites. ASI comes under Ministry of Culture and is concerned with archaeological researches and preservation of cultural heritage in India.
So, plan a trip to Delhi and explore more about the history of the Red Fort. There are several cheap cab services that you can take from neighbouring cities for inter and intra city tour.