Salimgarh Fort to Swatantrata Senani Samarak

Red Fort and Salimgarh fort as seen from Melcalfe House
Red Fort and Salimgarh fort as seen from Melcalfe House

On my walk within Red Fort, I came across Salimgarh fort which is about a km left of Red Fort. After you cross the Bazaar in red fort, on the left there is board saying Swatantrata Sangram Sangrahalaya or Freedom Fighter’s Museum, which is housed in a building which is from the British period. This double storey museum houses paintings depicting various revolts during the independence movement. There are maps of India depicting British areas at various points in time during their rule. There are statues of important people who played a role in independence struggle and models of events like Jalianwala bagh massacre. There are patriotic poems written all over the place again reminding one of the school days, which is probably the only place where these poems are recited.

Salimgarh Fort to Swatantrata Senani Samarak, Delhi – Visit

Plaque explaining the history of Salimgarh Fort
Plaque explaining the history of Salimgarh Fort

As you come out of the museum you would read a board describing the Swatantrata Senani Samarak and a sign board pointing to show the path. The description can lead you to confusion if it is talking about the same building that you came out of or a different one looking at the sign board as both have a similar sounding names. You have to take a long and deserted walk to reach the Samarak and the sign boards keep pointing you all along the path. In between you would cross a lot of army barracks, some of which seem to be under renovation. The path leads to an over bridge which you have to use to reach the Samarak. As you land from the over bridge you would see some army barracks which have been converted into museums. There is a museum dedicated to Indian National Army (INA). There is jail which was built by Aurangzeb, but used by British to imprison the freedom fighters, which even when it is empty feels scary, with prey birds fluttering on the roofs and rooms across a very narrow corridor.

There is another barrack converted into a museum displaying artifacts that have been excavated from the site some from the mughal era and some even dating back to the time of Mahabharata. There are pictures of excavations that indicate that this was a living area way before the mughals came and created a city here. On the outskirts of this complex you would notice the fort wall which has circular bastions and remains of an erstwhile gate. The wall is thick indicating a strong fort. The fort was built in 16th century by Sher Shah Suri’s son Salim Shah and is hence named after him. It was initially supposed to be on an island within Yamuna. After being conquered by Mughals, this was linked to red fort via an arched bridge across Yamuna. It was later used as a prison primarily. A map depicting the formation of the fort would give you an idea of the how the fort must have been in its hay days.

Salimgarh Fort Back Gate
Salimgarh Fort Back Gate

Salimgarh fort and Samarak are a part of the red fort complex, though if you do not follow the signs you also most likely to miss it. This part of red fort complex was absolutely deserted. I was the only tourist here for more than 2 hours and could only see a few Army jawans here and there, in sharp contrast with the crowd at Red Fort. If you are not keen on Indian Independence movement, there is nothing much to see here. A guided tour of place would help but I am not sure if there are guides who have been trained on the history of this part, on the face of it, it does not look like so. Be careful in taking pictures around this area, though no sign tells you not to take pictures, but the army personnel around the area would tell you that it is a restricted area.

For me Salimgarh was chance discovery while trying to explore Red Fort.

Recommend you to read following Places to visit in Delhi.

  1. The Spiritual Trail at Old Delhi.
  2. Walking from Turkman Gate to Ajmeri Gate.
  3. Food Walk by Sid Khullar of Chef at large.
  4. Walking on the walls of Lal Kot.
  5. Walk through the North Ridge of Delhi.


  1. Basant, please do visit and share your experience.

    Zeevie, I am not sure if I can call myself Dilliwali. I think I am more like ‘Ganga gaye to Gangadas, Jamna gaye to Jamnadas’ and these days I happen to in Jamna kinare wali Dilli.

  2. Really an informative blog gives nice bit of travelling experience. I’ve visited this fort, and the Archaeological Museum over there. This fort is used as a prison where many freedom fighter loss their life during 1945 till independence. This fort was included in World Heritage Site List in 1995.