Shahjahan built Shahjahanabad, the old Delhi of today in 1648. Shahjahanabad was the 7th and last city of Delhi before the Lutyens Delhi was constructed which has since then served as the administrative centre of Delhi. Shahjahan’s Delhi, Shahjahanabad is the most visible of all the cities built before it as it was built on a bigger scale and much of it remains in good condition today.
Shahjahanabad was a walled city, and some of its gates and parts of the wall still stand. Ten gates connected the city with the surrounding region.
The city was fortified on three sides by walls and on the eastern side, by the palace-fortress – the Qila-i Mubarak or the Red Fort as we know it.
- Lahore Gate was the main entrance for the Red Fort
- Delhi Gate.
- The Kashmere Gate,
- Calcutta Gate, Mori Gate,
- Kabul Gate,
- Faresh Khana Gate,
- Mori Gate,
- Ajmere Gate
- Turkman Gate
- Akbarabadi Gate
The gates were the significant links of the city with the highways. The significant gates such as Lahori, Kashmere, Ajmere, Akbarabadi were placed to point in the direction of essential places and regions of the empire. Towards river Yamuna, where today’ s Rajghat and Nigambodh ghat are located, smaller gates were provided for the Hindu inhabitants of the city to visit their places of worship.
The ideology behind Shahjahanabad and its design was to build a city where heaven met earth. This is evident from an inscription in Red Fort’s Diwan-e-Khas.
“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.”
Which translated to - If paradise is on the face of the earth, it is this, even this, it is this.
Ustad Ahmad and Ustad Hamid oversaw the construction of Shahjahanabad and Shahjahan are documented to have taken a personal interest in the development of various buildings. The emperor is also recorded to have impeccable taste and detail in town- planning and planned a principle street and a boulevard in Chandni Chowk in 1638, long before Paris set the fashion.