The Red Fort X – Architecture – Diwan-i-Khas

Diwan-i-Khas, Red Fort
Diwan-i-Khas, Source – Flickr / Pradyot Ghate

Diwan-i-Khas (The Hall of Private Audiences)

  • It was also referred to as Shah Mahal and Daulat Khana-i-Khas
  • It was a luxurious chamber where the Emperor  used to hold his private meetings with courtier and state guests
  • Here the Emperor received selected Ministers and Nobles of the highest ranking & discussed the matters of the state, security, administration, revenue and such topics
  • The side which used to face river Yamuna is engrailed with elegantly carved jalis (latticework) that helped in ventilation
  • Here the Emperor would sit on his throne and make his decisions here
  • A red cloth used to cover the whole place when the private meetings were held
Diwan-i-Khas, covered with red cloth, Source – Wikimedia
  • It contains a rectangular central chamber surrounded by aisles of arches rising from the piers
Red Fort - Diwan-i-Khas
Source – Flickr / Suzzane Levasseur
Red Fort - Diwan-i-Khas
Source – Flickr / Suzzane Levasseur
  • The lower parts of the pier are inlaid with floral designs while the upper portion is gilded
Diwan-i-Khas interior
Source – Flickr / Gróa Valgerður Ingimundardóttir
Source – Flickr / Jose Eduardo Silva
Marble Pedestal in the center, Source –
  • Through the center Nahr-i-Bihisht flowed
  • It used to have a silver ceiling, which the Marathas removed in 1760
  • The present wooden ceiling was painted in 1911
Walls & Ceilings inside Diwan-i-Khas - Red Fort -Delhi - India
Ceiling of Diwan-i-Khas Source – Flickr / Anjan05
  • The four corners of its roof are surrounded by pillared Chattris (Umberellas)
  • Over the corner arches of the northern and southern wall is inscribed the famous verse of Poet Amir Khusraw (Ab’ul Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrow)
Inscription at Diwan-I-Khas at Red Fort, Delhi
Inscriptions on walls of Diwan-i-Khas, Source – Flickr / Geetesh Bajaj
  • “Gar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast “
  • This means,If there is a paradise on earth,It is this, it is this, it is this
  • This verses was originally meant for describing the beauty of Kashmir
  • James Fergusson, A European Traveller wrote about this building in his chronicles ‘If not the most beautiful, it is certainly the most highly Ornamented of all Shahjahan’s Building‘
  • During the Mutiny, Emperor Bahadur Shah II held court in here
Diwan-e-Khas, Red Fort, Delhi
Source – Flickr / Abhishek Chandra


The Divan-i Khass in the Palace in the Delhi Fort; a watercolor by Ghulam Ali Khan, 1817, Source –


The Divan-e Khas (Hall of Private Audience) in the Red Fort, Delhi, c.1840’s, Source: The Golden Calm: An English Lady’s Life in Moghul Delhi (Reminiscences by Emily, Lady Clive Bayley, and by her father, Sir Thomas Metcalfe), ed. M. M. Kaye (New York: Viking Press, 1980), p. 46; scan by FWP, Sept. 2001 ; Source –
A colored lithograph of the Divan-e Khas, 1887, Source –
The Dewani-khas, Palace of Delhi,” by E. Therond, from ‘India and its Native Princes’ by Louis Rousselet, London, 1878; Source –




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