The Lal Quila (meaning ‘red fort’ in Hindustani) has stood in the bustling city of Delhi since the 17th century. Walls of deep, rich red sandstone punctuated by imposing pillars and domes in solid white colour, it testifies to the aesthetic sensibilities of the last of the finest Mughal rulers, Emperor Shah Jahan. The oil that you see on this page depicts the few-century old fort as it looms against the pre-dusk skies.
Note the figures dotting the foreground of the canvas. There are men holding each other in conversation along the sprawling staircase leading up to the entrance of the Lal Quila. From the loose, belted garments they are wearing and the turbans on their heads, in white and multicolour respectively, it could be deduced that the work is set in the later Mughal era itself.
A lively procession could be seen along the road afore the Lal Quila. A couple of wise men lead the way. Behind them are horses and a troupe of men and children on foot. On the back of one of two elephants sit members of the royalty and their guards on the other’s. More men and a horse follow, and a man bearing a parasol. Finally, a troupe of palanquin bearers and supplies, which are indicative of a relatively long journey.
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