Photos: Restoring Delhi’s Red Fort to its Mughal grandeur

One of Delhi’s most iconic monuments, the Red Fort, has received an elaborate facelift over the last year. Falling into British control after the Siege of Delhi in 1857, the British razed a vast majority of this over 350 year old complex’s buildings and gardens, replacing them with barracks. The years post independence saw further construction in the form of administrative buildings. Restoration and repairs since, done without significant regard to original styles hid many architectural elements or altered them. The latest preservation project by the ASI restores much of the Red fort complex to how it was in the bygone Mughal era.

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST 8 Photos
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Over 350 years after Mughal emperor Shah Jahan laid the foundation stone for the monument, there had been many additions to the 250-acre Red fort complex, including barracks and other post-Independence buildings. Today, close to 400 post-Independence structures have been demolished, and the elegance of Mughal-era structures restored after due scientific treatment. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Over 350 years after Mughal emperor Shah Jahan laid the foundation stone for the monument, there had been many additions to the 250-acre Red fort complex, including barracks and other post-Independence buildings. Today, close to 400 post-Independence structures have been demolished, and the elegance of Mughal-era structures restored after due scientific treatment. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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At the Chhatta bazaar, once a market catering to the imperial household, wooden framed doorways topped with Mughal styled arches have replaced the old shutters. Archival images were studied and paintings on the ceilings of the market, hidden beneath six to seven coats of lime, were restored to give a feel of the Mughal era, said Dr. N K Pathak, superintending archaeologist in ASI Delhi circle. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

At the Chhatta bazaar, once a market catering to the imperial household, wooden framed doorways topped with Mughal styled arches have replaced the old shutters. Archival images were studied and paintings on the ceilings of the market, hidden beneath six to seven coats of lime, were restored to give a feel of the Mughal era, said Dr. N K Pathak, superintending archaeologist in ASI Delhi circle. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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The Red Fort came under British control in 1857. The British destroyed almost 70-80 % of the buildings and gardens, replacing them with barracks, said historian Rana Safvi. Administrative buildings were also constructed post independence. Thirty five acres of green space in the fort complex have been added after the demolition of almost 400 structures to the earlier 15 acres, Dr. Pathak said. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

The Red Fort came under British control in 1857. The British destroyed almost 70-80 % of the buildings and gardens, replacing them with barracks, said historian Rana Safvi. Administrative buildings were also constructed post independence. Thirty five acres of green space in the fort complex have been added after the demolition of almost 400 structures to the earlier 15 acres, Dr. Pathak said. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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According to the ASI, only 20 Mughal-era edifices remain. The British razed a significant portion of fort’s northern wall and a small (Calcutta) gate to lay railway lines in the 1860s. The ongoing project will take another three to four months to be completed. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

According to the ASI, only 20 Mughal-era edifices remain. The British razed a significant portion of fort’s northern wall and a small (Calcutta) gate to lay railway lines in the 1860s. The ongoing project will take another three to four months to be completed. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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Five new museums have also come up in the structures which the British army had built post the 1857 revolt. These include the Subhash Chandra Bose and INA museum, Yaad-e-Jallian museum, Museum of 1857- India’s first war of independence, Drishyakala-Museum on Indian art and Azaadi ke Deewane Museum. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Five new museums have also come up in the structures which the British army had built post the 1857 revolt. These include the Subhash Chandra Bose and INA museum, Yaad-e-Jallian museum, Museum of 1857- India’s first war of independence, Drishyakala-Museum on Indian art and Azaadi ke Deewane Museum. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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“The ASI destroying the later buildings is a good thing since they were out of place in the fort and were dilapidated,” Safvi added. Another highlight is the restoration of a 4X6 feet single-stoned marble, grid-pattered window (jali) in the Khas mahal, which had been broken for the last 25 years. The restoration was carried out by artisans from Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

“The ASI destroying the later buildings is a good thing since they were out of place in the fort and were dilapidated,” Safvi added. Another highlight is the restoration of a 4X6 feet single-stoned marble, grid-pattered window (jali) in the Khas mahal, which had been broken for the last 25 years. The restoration was carried out by artisans from Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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Several new public amenities have been included in the fort complex which includes new street lights, pathways made of sandstone to replace metalled roads, public holding areas with new benches, and new drinking water kiosks with RO. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Several new public amenities have been included in the fort complex which includes new street lights, pathways made of sandstone to replace metalled roads, public holding areas with new benches, and new drinking water kiosks with RO. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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What is remaining of the current project is the revival of the fountains for which evidence has been found in the Sawan and Bhadon pavilions, conservation of the hammam (public bath) in the southern part of the complex, and the conservation of the Mumtaz Mahal (pictured) that housed the women’s quarters. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

What is remaining of the current project is the revival of the fountains for which evidence has been found in the Sawan and Bhadon pavilions, conservation of the hammam (public bath) in the southern part of the complex, and the conservation of the Mumtaz Mahal (pictured) that housed the women’s quarters. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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