New Delhi: Very soon a visit to the Red Fort will give you a genuine feel of taking a trip back to the Mughal era as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has geared up to restore original colour of the main buildings in the Red Fort which is surprisingly white and not red.

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Red Fort had favoured the use of ‘Mughal Lime Plaster’ in the key areas of the Fort.


Not only Red Fort but Jantar Mantar will also be painted with the same white plaster.

In fact, work has commenced in the Naubat Khana of the Red Fort and is expected to be completed in three years.

The structures in the fort whose original colour will be restored include Mumtaz Mahal, Rang Mahal, Dewan-e-Khas, Hamam and Naubat Khana.

ASI’s Superintendent of Delhi unit Dr K K Mohammad said people of that era had given the name ‘Red Fort’ as it appeared red from the outside but was coloured white from inside.

“Shah Jahan had given two names to the Red Fort-Quilla-e-Mualla and Quilla-e-Mubarak. The discovery of their original colour was made after intensive archaeological studies. It had then emerged that Shah Jahan had used Mughal lime plaster for key areas of the royal palace,” he said.

Mohammad added that the plaster was applied nine times which wore off over a period of time.

Now, the ASI has decided to apply the same Mughal lime plaster and restore the original image of the Red Fort as well as of Jantar Mantar.

Mohammad further stated that Jantar Mantar was originally white in colour when it was built but panted red afterwards.

According to ASI, the area of Diwan-e-Khas, where general public was allowed, was not plastered white. Not only Shah Jahan, even Aurangzeb had used white plaster for Moti Masjid which will also be restored.

Studies were on since 2003 to ascertain the components in the plaster. It had then emerged that elements like marble dust, pulses, cream and few eatable items were used to make the plaster. This was then applied on the red stone. When the plaster became solid, coconut oil and sawdust were applied on it on a regular basis.

It is said that if proper care is taken, the plaster retains its originality for the next 200 years.

JPN/Bureau