Amber Fort in Jaipur
The sprawling Amber Fort is a typical example of what the lives of our gallant Rajputs were like - militant, adventurous, temperamental and also self-indulgent. It is among the best hilltop forts in India. Within the stern exteriors that seem to grow out of the rugged hills are mighty gates, temples, huge ornate halls, palaces, pavilions, gardens and even a ramp to take you to the hilltop palace! And guess who climbs the ramp? Elephants. Yes, beautifully - caparisoned elephants go up and down carrying visitors to and fro. These well cladded elephants make a joyride to Amber fort and in turn makes your travel to Amber fort a fascinating experience. This is something which you cannot afford to miss in any Rajasthan itinerary.
History of Amber Fort
Just 11 kms from Jaipur, Amber fort is a splendid fort constructed in a scenic locale. Being a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture, Jaipur attracts travellers from around the globe. Built in 16 the century by Raja Man Singh, the fort stands as a proud reminder of the exotic building skills of the artisans of the yesteryears. This fort from yore days unfurls the legacies of the time when the august rulers imagined the unmatched craftsmanship.
Attractions of Amber Fort
Old Amber Palace Jaipur: The Old Palace lies at the base of the Jaigarh Fort. This area was the original Amber before Man Singh I came along and went on a building spree. The early 13th century palace here is not very interesting as compared to the grand Amber Fort-palace, yet you could do with a visit. This Old Palace can be reached from the Amber Palace too – there's a stone path leading from the Chand Pol to these ruins at the base of the hill. The road is currently being restored. Here lie the remains of ancient Amber which include temples and crumbling palaces and patches of walls. The cobbled streets and broken down havelis (mansions) give it the aura of a medieval town. But these mute remnants of a bygone golden era seem to speak volumes.
Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Public Audience: This is a delicate palace which you would come across on your travel to Amber fort. This forty pillared pavillion is perfect example of intricate craftmanship and was constructed by Mirza Raja Jai Singh. The pavilion worked as a place where Maharajahs used to recieve its general public and used to hear their pertaining problems. The southern area of this palace was kept clear so that the royal ladies could watch the proceedings of Diwan-I-Am from the Zenana house ( Women's quarters).
Shila Mata Temple: Entry into Shila Mata Temple is through Singh Pol. The temple is devoted to Shila Mata ( Goddess Kali), the goddess of victory and houses a black marble idol of the goddess which was brought here from Jessore by Raja Man Sigh in 1604. You would find nine images of Goddess Durga (strength) and ten forms of Goddess Saraswati (knowledge) which are carved on the silver gates of the temple. The mandap of this temple is made up of white marble contrasting the colours of the idols.
Ganesh Pol & Suhaag Mandir: Ganesh Pol forms another attractions in Amber fort and is an imposing gateway which lies south of Diwan-i-am. The gateway has been painted beautifully and endorses typical Rajasthani motifs. Ganesh pol is found in the south side of the courtyard of the palace in the Amber fort.From Ganesh Pol, you can move to beautiful garden or Charbagh, which is based on the Mughal patten of gardens.It is amazing to notice that this arched gate way has been painted with vegetable dyes and it still persist the vagaries of time.
Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Sukh Niwas, Jai Mandir & Jas Mandir : Diwan-i-Khas show cases a rich amalgam of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The architecture is showcased in the fascinating Diwan-i-khas, Sukh Niwas, Jai Mandir and Jas Mandir. Decorated with beautiful mirror work, Diwan -I - Khas has wonderful carvings on the walls and the ceilings. The major attractions of these halls are miniature murals made of coloured glasses which depict Radha and Krishna.
Best time to visit Amber Fort: October to February
Location: On Delhi-Jaipur Highway, 11 km from Jaipur
Highlights: Wonderful carvings and minute mirror work
How to reach:
By Air: The nearest airport is Jaipur Airport, Sanganer which is at a distance of 11 km from where regular flights connect Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other major destinations of India.
By Rail: Trains are available from all the major parts of India. The luxury train the "Palace on Wheel" also covers the city.
By Bus: Jaipur can be accessed from all the major places in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Mumbai by bus.