In 1858, a large number of palaces in the fort were demolished, many of the taikhanas ( basement rooms) sealed and massive barracks constructed for the soldiers.Before 1857, the fort was a mini-city with palaces, offices, workshops and halls of audience where about 3,000 people lived, yet today more than 10,000 visitors come to savour the magnificence of the building everyday.
There are 15 distinct structures within the fort with the first being the Lahore Gate and the last one the Moti Masjid.
The Lahore Gate
The Lahore Gate of the palace is veiled by the Babar added by Aurangzeb, a Mughal emperor. The gate is from where the Prime Minister addresses the nation and unfurls the National Flag on August 15, Independence Day.
The entrance of the Gate leads through a long covered bazaar called the Chatta Chowk. From Chatta Chowk follows the Naqqar Khana(Drum Room) also called Naubat Khana or the Welcome Room, which earlier formed part of a square enclosure with apartments for the umrah (Nobles) on duty. It was at this point that everyone other than the Emperor had to dismount from their elephants and walk towards the magnificent Diwan-e-Am(hall of public audience) where the Emperor used to listen to the grievances of the common man.
The Naqqar Khana is 49 feet high with an open arched hall at the top which served as a music gallery from where the strains of music filtered down to welcome the Emperor or to bid him a safe journey. The War Memorial Museum is housed on the first floor. The Diwan-e-Am is built of red sandstone and is set atop an impressive plinth. The southwest and northwest corners of the pavilion are articulated by small chhattris.
The Fort also houses the Diwan-i-Am or "the Hall of Public Audiences", where the Emperor would sit and hear complaints of the common folk. His alcove in the wall was marble-paneled, and was set with precious stones, many of which were looted, after the Mutiny of 1857.
The Diwan-i-Khas is "the Hall of Private Audiences", where the Emperor held private meetings. This hall is made of marble, and its center-piece used to be the "Peacock Throne", which was carried away to Iran by Nadir Shah in 1739. Today, the Diwan-i-Khas is only a pale shadow of its original glory, yet the famous Persian couplet inscribed on its wall reminds us of its former magnificence: "If on earth be an eden on bliss, it is this, it is this, none but this."