World Heritage Site – Red Fort, Delhi

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Diwan-i-‘Am

The Diwan-i-‘Am (‘hall of pubic audience’) is the next building reached by the visitor. Originally it had a courtyard on its front. The hall proper, three bays in depth, originally ornamented with gilded stucco work and hung with heavy curtains, is raised on arches springing from pillars and has an impressive façade of nine openings of engrailed arches. At its back stands a marble canopy or baldachin, covered by its ‘Bengal’ roof, under which stood the emperor’s throne. The emperor received the general public here and heard their complaints. A marble dais, inlaid with precious stones, stands below the throne and was used by the prime minister for receiving the complaints and petitions.

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Diwan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, Red Fort

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Engrailed arches of Diwan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, Red Fort

At the back of the canopy the wall is faced with beautiful panels inlaid with multicoloured stones, representing flowers and birds. These panels are said to have been executed by Austin de Bordeaux, Florentine jeweller. In the central panel on the top is shown the Greek God Orpheus with his lute. The panels were much damaged and at one time removed to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but were restored in 1903 at the instance of Lord Curzon.

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Inlaid panels on the back wall of canopy in the Diwan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, Red Fort

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Inlaid panels on the back wall of canopy in the Diwan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, Red Fort

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Inlaid pillar and part of canopy in the Diwan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, Red Fort


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