India in pictures

Pietra Dura in Delhi

9:09 AM

Pietra Dura work in the Red Fort in Delhi

When one thinks of Pietra Dura in India, one thinks of the Taj Mahal. It is after all the most famous monument in the country displaying this stone in-lay technique.
But, Pietra Dura, was used accross the Mugal Empire to embellish marble palaces and monuments, not just on the World Famous Monument.
The technique itself is known in India under the name "Parchin Kari". The place section at the back of the Red Fort in Delhi has some interesting example of the world famous in-law work technique.

This picture was taken in Delhi in 2007 while DH and I visited family in Delhi. I haven't been there since though, and I would love to know if restaurant ion work has been carried. Back then. Many of the arches looked back or brown, probably due to the effect of pollution. In this very picture, you can see that the bottom section appeared to have been cleaned up nicely, while the top remains dirty.
The whole area was and I imagine still is off limits to visitor to prevent further decay of what must have been a stunning display in its prime.


  1. Anonymous4:01 PM

    It is said that these intricate designs were studded with precious stones both at the Agra fort and the Red fort. When Nadir Shah, the king of Persia invaded India, he sacked Delhi. At that time, his soldiers took out the precious stone from the walls and ceilings. You can still see holes in the designs were the precious stones were stuck. It is also said that the ceiling of the court had gold plating which was also scrapped and taken away by the soldiers. After a few years, when the maratha army reached Delhi to fight Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Afghan ruler, who had attacked India, they were expecting lot of riches, but were disappointed to find the red fort stripped off all its riches.

    There is also a legend that when Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor was imprisoned in the Agra fort by his son Aurangzeb, which was just opposite the Taj Mahal, he saw the reflection of Taj in the diamonds as his eye sight became weak due to old age. These diamonds reflected light during night and illuminated the entire building. There were also water channels inside the buildings and between walls where warm and cool water circulated according to the season. You can see these water channels in red fort.

    Delhi is full of monuments which are magnificent building with graves. Apart from these there are smaller monuments of noble men which are spread throughout the length and breadth of Delhi mostly in south delhi. You can see these structures just besides modern colonies. There was one just opposite our nursery school and we were very afraid of it. Shahjahanabad i.e. old delhi was the imperial capital and delhi was either village or wilderness dotted with these graves/hunting lodges/inns. Some have been encroached upon and people are living there. Most of these monuments are associated with graves, so common people are afraid of them. There is an eerie silence in them which is most frightening.


    1. DH and I kept fantasising about what the water network would have looked like, it must have been magnificent in its prime.


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