An imposing Palace built of sandstone and marble cradled atop the Aravali Hills in the Pink city Jaipur. Amber or Amer Fort was the Royal residence of the Rajput Rulers. Rustic and mysterious looking!!
One of the most magnificent Palaces in India built by one of Akbar's most trusted General and " Navratna" - Nine Gems, Maharaja Man Singh I, in the year 1592.
A traditional Rajputana- Hindu and Mughal - Islamic style of architecture is noteworthy!
The history of Amer Fort consists of a dark period when it was taken over by Mughals until it was recaptured by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II.
By 1727, Jaipur became the new capital and Amber Fort fell to disuse.
Amber Fort gets its name after Ambikeshwar, another name of Lord Shiva, however, the locals also believe that the name has been derived from Amba, another name of Goddess Durga. Once named as Dhundar, also known as Jaipur region, the city was ruled by the Kachhawahas during the 11th century to the 16th century when ultimately the capital was moved to Jaipur.
Amer Fort has a very grand layout is divided into four sections, each adorned with its separate entrance and courtyard.
All the sections have a gate to make an entry. The main entrance of the fort is through Suraj Pol or Sun Gate as it faces east. Sawai Jai Singh II built this gate.
The best way to get to Amber like they did in the old days is on elephant back, arriving at Jaleb Chowk, the main courtyard. A major assembly area for the soldiers of the royal army and where parades took place.
I being an animal lover did not feel nice to go on elephant back !!
The main palace starts once you climb the stairway from this courtyard to lead you to the second one.
Diwan - E - Aam - Hall for Public Audience, where the king meets with people of his state and listens to their problems and gives them justice. We can say it's like our modern courts. Total number of pillars which have been used to create the beauty of the Diwan-E-Am are forty, with the Hindu - Islamic architecture!
A beautifully painted Ganesh pol the ornate gateway in the palace captivates the eyes of many visitors, is the main entrance to the personal quarter of kings and queens.
Only important people were allowed entry beyond this gate.
It is incredibly beautiful and is one of the most photographed locations in Amer Fort.
It’s a popular selfie point too!!
Pol refers to a gate in the local dialect, Ganesh Pol is the finest specimen of amalgamation of the Mughal and Rajput influences in creating a masterpiece!
Above Ganesh Pol is Suhag Mandir. It has latticed windows used as a viewing deck by the royal women as they were not allowed to make public appearances! They could watch court proceedings from here too!
Not to be missed are the beautiful frescoes inspired by the Mughal influence on the wall. Mughal influence traces its roots to Central Asia in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Next comes the Hall for Private Audience Diwan - E - Khaas, the king met other kings and his generals and army commanders. A place where they planned their future plans and war strategies.
The Jai Mandir or the "Temple of Victory", with its famous Sheesh Mahal, the scintillating "Hall of Mirrors", spectacular, with tiny mirror mosaics and coloured glass adorning the walls in rich decoration all over as well as beautiful floral designs!
A single candle lit, its reflections in the thousands of mirrors inside the Sheesh Mahal make it appear like thousand stars. A visual delight! Made very famous in the movie Mughal -E-Azam!
Just opposite the Sheesh Mahal is the Sukh Niwas built of sandalwood and ivory where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over the water cascade within the palace, for the purpose of air-conditioning.
Between these two buildings there is a garden built in the same way as Mughal Gardens.
A popular attraction is a carving known as ‘magic flower’ which is carved on a marble panel on a pillar in the Sheesh Mahal. Seven beautiful designs are carved on it including a lotus, lion’s tail, scorpion, hooded cobra, fish tail, cob on corn and an elephant trunk. You will have to cover the panel partially with your hands to view each of the design. An artistic marvel, really!
The Sila Devi temple is the most visited part of the fort and remains crowded due to a large number of devotees visiting it to offer their prayers.It is said the king found the deity from a seabed after being instructed by the Goddess Kali in his dream. After the king won a war against Bengal, his belief became strong and he then installed the deity in the temple and called it Sila Devi. During Navratri, a Hindu festival, the royal family used to sacrifice a goat’s life and offer prayers for the goodwill of their kingdom! However this practice was stopped under a law in 1975. This temple has an entrance through a double door made of silver and can be reached through a flight of stairs from Jaleb Chowk.
This majestic building Amer Fort, with its maze-like passages and serpentine staircases is an architectural masterpiece! An extensive complex, with significant importance in Indian history.
The Amer Fort through its large ramparts, several gateways and paved paths overlooks the Maotha Lake in the town of Amer, which used to serve as the capital of the erstwhile Jaipur princely state.
The fort is big enough, will take you at least two to three hours to explore it in detail, you can also choose to avail of the audio guides to lead you through this fascinating building explaining the history of the place.
Amer Fort was inducted into UNESCO World Heritage Site list as part of the "Hill Forts of Rajasthan" along with five other forts in 2013.
Amer fort is located at a distance of 11 kms from Jaipur. You can easily hire a cab from Jaipur city to reach Amer fort.