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 the 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?
Swatantrata Sangram Sangrahalaya
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 the 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 Smarak
As you come out of the museum you would read a board describing the Swatantrata Senani Smarak 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 name.
You have to take a long and deserted walk to reach the Smarak 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 Smarak. 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 the Yamuna. After being conquered by Mughals, this was linked to red fort via an arched bridge across the 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 & Smarak
Salimgarh fort and Smarak 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 to 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 in 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 travel blog on Places to visit in Delhi.