Inspiring Diwan-i-Am (Audience Hall), Red Fort, Delhi built by Mogul ruler Shah Jahan

  • Diwani-i-Am, Red Fort, Delhi memories blog,

    Diwani-i-Am (audience hall), Red Fort, Delhi.ictokcom.
The Red Fort, a historic fort in the  capital city of Delhi in India, is the brain child of Emperor Shah Jahan.  He commissioned the  construction of it  on 12 May 1638 after  his final decision to shift the Mogul capital from Agra to Delhi. The architect was  Ustad Ahmad Lahori,  the man who also constructed the Taj Mahal at Agra on Shah Jahan's order. 
The Red Fort that served as the main residence of the Mogul rulers, was built between 1639 and 1648. The combination of red and white colors, favorites of Shah Jahan, gives a splendid appearance to this huge fort.  As Delhi was prone to attacks from enemies  from NW  region, the emperor had built a sturdy fort with many strong gates and watch towers, etc.  The Diwan-i-Am, or Hall of Audience is a very important part of the fort. It was here he and later rulers received members of the general public and heard their grievances and gave orders get them redressed. 
Diwani-i-Am, Hall of audience, Throne, Red Fort, Delhi.

The inner main court was 540 feet broad, 420 feet deep, surrounded by arcade galleries.They were meant for the chieftains (umaras) posted  for duty there.  The Diwan-i-Am is a big building with a front hall open on three sides and backed by a set of rooms faced in red sandstone. The hall has good ventilation and is well-lit during the day. Because of high ceiling, the interior is cool during hot summer seasons. The hall measuring  100 ft x 60 ft is divided into 27 square bays with a set of columns that support the arches.The roof is spanned by thick sandstone beams between columns across the spans to withstand extra over-bearing load.
Alcove with marble canopy, red Fort, Delhi.Alamy com
Above image:  Red Fort, Lal Qila, Old Delhi, India.  An alcove, where the royal throne stood under a marble canopy, with an inlaid marble dais below for the emperor, from where he addressed the people. (Contributor: Wayne Foster / Alamy Stock Photo)........

A cursory glance at the hall would reveal how much importance was given to craftsmanship and aesthetics in the construction of columns and engraved arches, not deviating from the right proportions of the big hall. The hall is ornamented with gilded and white shell lime chunam plaster work which still looks fresh, These arches and the amazing  nine engraved arch openings in the front  improve the look of this audience hall. The additional attraction is   ceiling and columns were painted with gold.

 A fine  marble canopy (jharokha) covered by a "Bengal" roof is close to  the center of the eastern wall.  Right below it is the throne facing the audience. There is a  marble dais inlaid with semi-precious stones and it  was  used by the prime minister (wazir) to receive petitions from the people. The emperor was separated from the courtiers by a gold-plated railing, while a silver railing ran around the remaining three sides of the hall.   The audience ceremony is referred to as Jharokha Darshan.
The wall behind the canopy  is decorated with panels inlaid with multi-colored pietra dura stones. The nice artistic  carving works of flowers and birds were done  by Austin de Bordeaux, a Florentine jeweler.  Unlike many British officers, Lord Curzon during the British rule under the Crown administration. London  took keen interest in Indian monuments and  architecture. Never had he failed to look into some important monuments when they needed repairs and restoration.

The great administrator was fond of Red Fort and the various stone carvings there. He carried out the restoration work of the hall, while the delicate inlay work of the throne recess and the plaques of the arch to the west side of the throne were restored by the Florentine artist, Mennegatti.  The 17th century  famous diamond merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier  mentioned the fascinating appearance of the  audience hall - Diwan-i-Am. Jean Tavernier visited India frequently to buy diamonds from the Golconda area.