Red FortThe Red Fort (Lal Qila) is one of Delhi's top tourist sights. A brilliant red sandstone fort built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built Agra's Taj Mahal) as his ruling palace. Completed in 1648, the years since have not treated the buildings kindly: the rooms have long since been stripped of all objects, the marble inlays are long gone and quite a few buildings are off limits. Still, the scale remains imposing and the gardens are kept lush and green even in midwinter. Major buildings within include:
- Chatta Chowk, (Covered Bazaar). True to the name, this is a covered bazaar between the gate and the fort itself, now filled with souvenir hawkers.
- Diwan-i-Am, (Hall of Public Audience). This building separates the outer court from the inner court, and has a marble platform for the emperor's throne.
- Hayat Baksh Bagh, (Life-Bestowing Gardens). Once a grand garden of full of fountains and streams, now sadly all dry — only dry channels and acres of green grass remain.
- Diwan-i-Khas, (Hall of Private Audience). Built completely of marble, this is where the emperor received special visitors.
- Khas Mahal, (Private Palace), The Emperor's main residence. The octagonal Mussaman Burj tower looks out toward the Yamuna River, and is where the Emperor used to appear before the public for each morning.
- Rang Mahal, (Colour Palace). The residence of the Sultan's main wife.
- Mumtaz Mahal, (Jewel Palace). Contained six apartments for the Sultan's harem. Now used as a museum of court textiles, carpets, weapons, etc (free).
- Daawat Khana, A minor palace at the northmost end of the Fort, this was originally the residence of a prince, but it was converted into a tea house by the British, a function it continues today. Basic meals go for around 60 rupees, drinks 10-20 rupees, and it also has the cleanest toilets around.
- Swatantra Sangrama Sangrahalaya, (Museum of the Independence Movement). To the left after the Chatta Chowk, this is a reasonably well-presented museum on the history of independence activism in India, starting from the Mutiny of 1857 all the way to Gandhi.