Khooni Darwaza (Hindi:खूनी दरवाज़ा, Urdu خونی دروازہ literally The Gate of Blood), also referred to as Lal Darwaza (Hindi:लाल दरवाज़ा, Red Gate
)is located near Delhi Gate
, on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in Delhi, India
. It is one of the 13 surviving gates in Delhi. It was just south of the fortified Old Delhi constructed by Sher Shah Suri. Khooni Darwaza was situated on an open tract of land before the rise of modern buildings around it. It lies today on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg opposite the Feroz Shah Kotla
cricket ground, which lies to its east. To the west is the entrance to the Maulana Azad Medical College. It lies about half a kilometre to the south of the Delhi Gate of Old Delhi.
The Khooni Darwaza (Bloody Gate) earned its name after the three princes of the Mughal dynasty - Bahadur Shah Zafar's sons Mirza Mughal and Khizr Sultan and grandson Mirza Abu Bakr, were shot by William Hodson on September 22, 1857 during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as the First War of Indian Independence). After having secured the surrender of the Emperor, Hodson the next day asked for an unconditional surrender from the three princes at Humayun's Tomb
They had gathered an army of thousands of rebels and refused. Hodson, armed with one hundred horsemen ordered the band to disarm which they did. Thus he got an unconditional surrender of the three princess. On their way to the Red Fort
, Hodson ordered the three to get down at the spot, stripped them naked and shot them dead at point blank range. The bodies were then taken away and put up for public display in front of a Kotwali.
The Khooni Darwaza was an archway during the revolt of 1857 and not a gate in its traditional sense. It is usually mistaken for the original Kabul Gate of Old Delhi. A lot of legends have since been woven around the place a lot of them unverified and most likely a result of the depressing name. A few legends attributed to the place, but are unlikely to have occurred at the location (it is probable that these incidents took place at the Kabul Gate):
- Emperor Jehangir who succeeded his father Akbar to the throne was resisted by some of Akbar's Navaratnas. He ordered two sons of Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, one of the Navratnas, to death at this gate. Their bodies were left to rot at the gate.
- Aurangzeb (Shah Jahan's son) defeated his elder brother Dara Shikoh in the struggle for the throne and had his head displayed at the gate.
- The gate is supposed to have seen bloodshed in 1739 when Delhi was ransacked by Nadir Shah of Persia. However, this is also disputed - according to some sources, this massacre occurred at another gate of the same name located in the Dariba locality of Chandni Chowk.
- A few stories also refer to the place being called so during the Mughal reign but there is no record of any mention of the Khooni Darwaza before the events of 1857.
During the riots of 1947, more bloodshed occurred near the gate when several refugees going to the camp established in Purana Qila
were killed here. Khooni Darwaza is today a protected monument under the aegis of the Archaeological Survey of India. It gained more notoriety in December 2002, when a medical student was raped there by three youths. The incident sparked much uproar and was also discussed in the Parliament of India. Following the incident, the monument was sealed to the general public.
The gate is 15.5 m (50.9 ft)high and built with Delhi quartzite stone. Three staircases lead to different levels of the gate.