The Red Fort (Hindi: लाल क़िला, Urdu: لال قلعہ, usually transcribed into English as Lal Qil’ah or Lal Qila) is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi (in present day Delhi, India) that served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors. It also served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
The above is an extract from Wikipedia page of Red fort. The last line is pretty important . After reading that , today I went to the great fort. I was excited and expected to be face to face with history. But to say the truth I was disappointed with what I saw. Let me share my experience with you. I have also clicked some pictures to support my argument.
First, when I reached the entrance, it was full of commotion. There were vendors selling butter milk and fresh vegetables right outside the world heritage site ! When you enter you the massive facade of the RED FORT. Then when you walk a bit, you see a board with words “TICKET COUNTER”. Now you wonder where the window is and finally you figure out that its in the basement but the board never points there !!
The ticket costs Rs.15/-. When you go inside, there is checking done for namesake!
Still, when I finally got in , I was feeling that I will see a great historical monument standing in front of me. Did I see that ? No…I saw a MARKET ! . I saw a market with lot of shops in what was called the “drum building” of red fort. They were selling all kinds of small replicas and effigies of gods and monuments. I felt terrible. How can there be a market inside a world heritage building. But, it was true.
After that I went to the famous “Di wan-e-aam”. I saw people clicking photographs there. Not a bad thing but nobody cared about where they were. And why would they? We did not knew. There was not much information about the place written any where. There were no information board and no literature was given to the tourists as they came.
We moved forward and there was “diwan-e-khas” and then mumtaz mahal and ofcourse the ” nahr-i-bihist”. Then finally I saw an information board on “nahr-i-bihist” and it said that it provided air conditioning type effect to the whole fort. But no where could I find out how ? No information on the architecture !!
Then we went to the museum made in Mumtaz mahal. It has some very old scriptures and paintings. It has scriptures of old holy quran and different farmans of Babar,Humayun ,Akbar and Shahjahan. It has objects and artifacts of Mughals and their weapons and dresses wore by them.These objects are 400-500years old and can fascinate you. But alas ! I did not understand anything because these objects only had captions. One needs to know urdu to read the farmans and be an expert hopologist to understand how those weapons work.
When I was coming back I saw dogs and rats in the main arena ! How can stray animals come in the area of a word heritage building? I was stunned as well as disappointed. Even the cleanliness was not as good as it should have been .
Overall for me it was a disappointing experience. I quietly went out and has a brilliant “RABDI FALUDA”. Much better than RED FORT !!!
Please note I would still prefer if you get a chance please visit the site as despite all these things which I personally felt terrible the grand ancient fort stands tall with a flag furling with the wind.
Here are some pictures: