The Red Fort was built out of red sandstone by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648. It housed halls of public and private audiences, domed and arched marble palaces, plush private apartments, a mosque and elaborately designed gardens. The Emeror would sit in a marbled panelled alcove, studded with gems, to hear complaints from the common people. At one point more than 3,000 people lived within the fort complex. It was attacked by the Persian Emeror Nadir Shah in 1730 and by the British during the war of independence in 1857. The residential palaces were destroyed and it was made the headquarters of the British Indian Army. After India gained independence in 1947 the Indian army took control of the fort. In December 2003 it was handed over to the Indian tourist authorities. There was still an army presence with strict control at the point of entry at the time of my visit.