What is today the overcrowded, neglected city of Old Delhi was once the magnificent capital of the Mughal Empire. At its heart was the spectacular Qila-e-Mubarak, now known as the Red Fort. Commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, the beautiful city of Shahjahanabad was built around the spectacular Qila-e-Mubarak (Red Fort), on the banks of the Yamuna. Almost a decade later, in 1648, Shah Jahan entered through the river gate and celebrated the completion of this 'paradise on earth' filled with gardens, palaces, water bodies, mosques and temples. About two hundred years later, the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, left the fort by the same gate after the failed Mutiny against the British in 1857. Subsequently, both the fort and the city fared badly, as they faced the wrath of the British. The final instalment in Rana Safvi's informative, illustrated series of books on Delhi, Shahjahanabad: The Living City of Old Delhi describes the magnificence of the fort and the city through its buildings that are a living monument to the grandeur and strife of the past.
Rana Safvi is a renowned writer, scholar and translator. She is the author of Where Stones Speak: Historical Trails in Mehrauli, the First City of Delhi, The Forgotten Cities of Delhi and Tales from the Quran and Hadith.
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