Diwan-I-Khas Red Fort Delhi

The Diwan - i - Khas (Hall of Private Audience), which follows, is generally regarded as the most splendid of the Red Fort's pavilions. It was here that the emperor conferred with his ministers and nobles. Comprising a single hall with flanking aisles, the Diwan-i-Khas is entirely faced with marble and has a five-arched facade. Petra dura work, incorporating semi-precious stones (some missing), forms a dado to the columns, the tops of which, together with the arches, are painted and gilded. Calligraphic panels above the inner side arches at the north and south ends, facing inward, repeat the phrase, in Persian, if there be a Paradise on the face of the earth, it is here, it is here, it is here'. The marble pavement reflects the cusped design of the arches. Originally, the ceiling was of silver with gold inlay, but this was removed by the then rulers in 1760. Lord Curzon commissioned the present timber ceiling, supported by iron girders, in 1911.

The fabulous Peacock Throne was brought here from Agra Fort when Shah Jahan transferred the court to Delhi. On state occasions, however, the Peacock Throne was moved to the Diwan-i-Am. Nadir Shah looted the throne in 1739, taking it with him on his return to Persia where it was broken up following his murder 8 years later. Contemporary descriptions and miniature paintings are all that exist to convey an impression of its glories. Made of solid gold inlaid with precious stones, the throne was approximately 6 ft (2m) long by 4 ft(1m) wide, and stood beneath a gold canopy fringed with pearls. Behind the throne, more precious stones represented the tails of two peacocks, closely matching the birds' natural colouring. Between the tails stood a parrot, carved from a single huge emerald. The Peacock Throne eventually became synonymous with the ruling Persian dynasty.

An early description refers to the splendid Diwan-i-Khas, surprisingly, as the ghusalkhana (washing room); it is assumed that this was because the next pavilion to it was the hammam(bath house). This consists of three rooms, one of which is a Turkish style sauna. Fine marble and petra-dura work survive, but the baths have been restored later.

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