The Mughal rule in India is best symbolised through the heritage and architectural marvels that have withstood the ravages of time. The Red Fort complex is one such structure. Originally built to be the palace fort of Shahjahanabad, the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's capital, its walls were intended to protect it from invaders and were almost impregnable. Today, this heritage site attracts visitors from far and wide and is of great cultural and even patriotic relevance. And now, a newly-built Red Fort Centre provides a new gateway for visitors to re-experience the events and the fortress's heritage-built fabric.
The ground floor, known as Red fort centre, offers social and recreational spaces through a cafeteria at the Red Fort, reception and shops, a 360-degree projection theatre, and augmented reality. On the first floor, known as Afsana, the Red Fort Story, visitors embark on an interactive journey that underpins the life and culture of the fort and its context in today's India. Immersive illustrations of the city's journey as Shahjahanabad expanded to Delhi city, in addition to live demonstrations of Red Fort's bazaar area called Chhata Chowk, audio-visual representations of Naubat Khana (entrance) and the Hammam (the imperial bathhouse) delight the travellers.
Structure and Sustainability
Designed and developed by Design Factory India under Dalmia Bharat, the centre has reused one of the British military barracks' defunct structures, originally created by destroying Mughal buildings inside the fort. By removing plaster from these defunct structures, the team made the visitor centre breathable by following a sustainable route to conservation and restoration.
Local material and know-how
The local material combination included lime, surkhi (powdered bricks), stalls of jute, bail water, and Badarpur sand. The colour of lime surkhi matching the ancient texture has been achieved after a series of combinations. It will age with the changing weather to provide a robust, archaic yet beautiful contemporary appearance. Without a traditional kiln, the raw material was procured from Meerut and transported to Moradabad to burn handmade bricks in an electric kiln. Red Agra Sandstone, procured from the actual Dholpur mines that provided the stone for Red Fort, also adorns the flooring. Projection mapping, holography, LED tv panels, and augmented reality room for realistic photography and grand scale models herald an interactive spectrum of the spaces. The various exhibits, experiences, and informative zones at the centre indulge the visitors in incidents that reflect a shared feeling of pride and patriotism and ensure the visitors understand this heritage monument's place as an edifice of power.