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Red Fort charms foreign tourists
India is witnessing encouraging trends in the tourism sector with foreign tourist inflows touching five million mark in the year 2007. Domestic tourism is also a key driver. The “Incredible India” campaign has led to immense interest and awareness.

RED FORT, popularly known as Lal Qila, was constructed between AD 1639 and 1648 by Mughal emperor Shahjahan, was a part of the Shahjahanabad. It provides a glimpse of the wonder and the charm of India that is timeless and eternal and show-cases the very high level of art form and ornamental work. The art work in the Fort is a synthesis of Persian, European and Indian art which resulted in the development of unique Shahjahani style, which is rich in form, expression and colour.

This fort encapsulates a long period of Indian history and its arts. Its significance has transcended time and space. It is relevant as a symbol of architectural brilliance and power. The fort is octagonal in plan, with two longer sides on east and west and is provided with four gates viz. Lahori, Delhi, Yamuna and Salimgarh gate. The ramparts, covering a perimeter of 2.41 km. have a moat all along on the outside, which originally was connected with the river Yamuna. On the north, the Red fort is connected with the Salimgarh Fort by a bridge. Lahori gate, a magnificent three-storeyed structure, later screened by a barbican by Aurangzeb, served as the main entrance. Palaces, lying on the eastern side of the Fort, are approached from the Lahori gate through a roofed passage, flanked by double-storeyed arcaded apartments called Chhatta-Chowk and being used as shops. The Delhi gate is flanked on the outside by two elephants, commissioned in 1903 by Lord Curzon in place of the original ones demolished by Aurangzeb.

A study of some of the old site plans, paintings and photographs, available at different places, shows that within the fort, a large number of the old enchanting buildings were demolished and replaced with military barracks and other modern constructions by the British after 1857. The British Army had occupied the Red Fort in 1857 and converted it into an army stronghold. They demolished a number of buildings to accommodate construction of barracks for their use. The fortress palace is an important focal point of the medieval city of the Shahjahanabad. The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of the emperor Shahjahan. The fort has seen many layers of development after its construction by emperor Shahjahan. The significant phases of development were under Aurangzeb and later Mughal rulers. Important physical changes were carried out in the overall settings of the site after the First War of Independence during British Rule in 1857.

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