Diwan-i-Khas, New Delhi

4.5
#594 of 1,451 in Things to do in New Delhi
The Diwan-i-Khas (Persian: ديوان خاص), or Hall of Private Audiences, was a chamber in the Red Fort of Delhi built in 1648 as a location for receptions. It was the location where the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan received courtiers and state guests. It was also known as the Shah Mahal.
A gate on the north side of the preceding Diwan-i-Am audience hall led to the innermost court of the palace called Jalau Khana and the Diwan-i-Khas. Originally there were two enclosures on the west of the hall, one for the nobles and the other for those of a lower rank. These arcaded courts were destroyed after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

It measures 90 x 67 feet. It consists of a rectangular central chamber, surrounded by a series of arches rising from marble piers. The lower parts of the piers are inlaid with floral designs, while the upper portions are painted and gilded. The four corners of the roof are surmounted by pillared chhatri.
The ceiling, which was originally inlaid with silver and gold, was stripped bare by successive financial crises of the empire by the Jats or Marattas. The current ceiling was installed in 1911. The later Peacock Throne from after Nadir Shah's invasion once stood in this hall, towards the east side.
Through the centre of the hall flowed the Stream of Paradise (Nahar-i-Bihisht).. The building used to have red awnings, or shamianas. Over the corner-arches of the northern and southern walls below the cornice is inscribed the verse of Amir Khusrow: "If there be a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this." The French traveller François Bernier described seeing the Peacock Throne here. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier described seeing the throne in the Diwan-i-Am, to where it was probably moved, and described five smaller thrones with four on each corner and one in the middle of the hall.
The interior was completely plundered following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The throne, the carpets, and any other items went missing. The hall today is, therefore, only a shell of what it used to be. Recent restoration work has been redone on the panels of inlay and has also reproduced the gilded pattern on one of the pillars fronting the hall.

In the riverbed below the hall and the connected buildings was the space known as zer-jharokha, or "beneath the lattices".
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Diwan-i-Khas Reviews

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  • It is a lovely rectangular building constructed with marble is the place where emperor used to receive state guests and other important people. The trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal ruler.....  more »
  • Unlike the public meeting hall, this more ornate building was reserved for Dignitaries , other Royalty and Officers of the Court. The Emperor sat on the Peacock Throne till it was removed by a Shah...  more »
  • The Diwan-i-Khas or the private audience hall was one of the most important buildings in the red fort complex as it was where the emperor used to receive state guests and important members of the...  more »
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  • The interior was completely plundered following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The throne, the carpets, and any other items went missing. The hall today is, therefore, only a shell of what it used to be. Recent restoration work has been redone on the panels of inlay and has also reproduced the gilded pattern on one of the pillars fronting the hall. In the riverbed below the hall and the connected buildings was the space known as zer-jharokha, or "beneath the lattices"
  • According to Amir Khusraw, " If there be a paradise on the earth , it is this, it is this, it is this." The hall was used by the emperor for giving private audience to the selected courtiers and visitors. Over the marble pedestal in its centre stood the famous Peacock Throne which was removed in 1739 by Nadir Shah. The present wooden ceiling of the hall was painted in 1911. The four corners of its roof are surmounted by pillared chhatris.
  • Located within the Red Fort, the Diwan-i-Khas, or the hall of private audiences is where the Emperor would conduct meeting with heads of state and high ranking officials. The hall is essentially a rectangular chamber with high arched openings, which are beautifully engraved. The arches are held in place by piers, which have been adorned with floral designs.  In the centre of the Diwas-i-Khas would rest the famous Peacock Throne on which Shah Jahan would sit and preside over meetings. The throne was eventually looted by Nadir Shah in 1739. The Nahr-i-Bihisht or the “Stream of Paradise” would flow through the centre of the Diwan-i-Khas and the arches at the corner of the hall bore inscriptions from the lines of the famous 9th century Persian poet Ferdowsi.
  • It is a conference room for king and his staff Prime minister of India speak here on independent day, very iconic place in indian history. Always love to be here. All major monument of Delhi are nearby. Very easy to reach here from all the location. Nearby metro station is old Delhi reilway station. It was fun I enjoyed my trip
  • Inside the Redfort amazing architecture and use of white marble, but unfortunately peacock throne is not here which would make it more attractive.

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