Jaipur is a hub of magnificent palaces, and I have to say that each is a historical retreat worth visiting. On my recent trip to Jaipur, I decided to revisit the 16th-century Amer Fort that I’d last toured as a child. Even after a hiatus of 30-years, this marble and red sandstone fort look as pristine as it did, when I was here last time. Also known as the Amber Palace, this architectural marvel is located, alongside Maota Lake in the town that was once reigned by Raja Man Singh of the Meena dynasty. Now, this picturesque landmark is listed, as one of the 100 endangered provinces by the WMF.
To get here, you need to drive uphill, as the Amer Fort is established high on a cliff, say about 11-kilometre from Jaipur. As I drove closer, the tremendous palisades went bustling with a luring force, and the extravagant fort grew more apparent under the blazing sun.
Amer Fort – Diwan-I-Aam & Diwan-I-Khas
This majestic fort was once a royal residence catering to the Rajput Maharajas and generations of royal families. Swathed in rich decor, Amer Fort (or Amber Palace), is situated right next to Jaigarh Fort, and both are even interlinked, with a subterraneous passage. These palaces mirror the luxurious lifestyles of Rajputs and at the same time, also, showcase Mughal-era styled elaborations. Most of the roof carvings depict the King’s way of life and his hunting techniques that led to acquiring triumph. The central gate is the initial indication of the extravagance that encompasses Amber Palace. Draped in the shades of butterscotch-gold, this east-bound Sun Gate opens to the chief courtyard.
Of all the frames inside Amer Fort, the ones truly worth visiting are Diwan-E-Aam, Sukh Mandir, Jai Mandir, Sheesh Mahal and Diwan-I-Khas dotted with gentle strokes of sea-foam-green. Public Hall of Diwan-I-Aam is a marvellously designed space; featuring atmospheric architecture backed by an assemblage of golden arches with thin black lining. The classic pillars, upholding these butterscotch-golden arches star a lovely floral get-up. Take a walk inwards to watch luxurious shades of royalty reveal itself. Diwan-I-Khas, on the other hand, is a private hall steeped in rich designs. Splendid wall decorations!
In the Sheesh-Mahal (mirror palace), you will be left, stunned by its glittering wall that comprises small fragments of hundreds of mirror mosaics and coloured glass. Notice the fascinating climate control put in place at Jai Mandir and Sukh Niwas by the ancient engineers. The cool-climate is naturally-formulated by winds that sweep aloft, a waterfall. One of these courtyards also has the ‘Magic Flower,’ on display. It’s a marble-carved fresco, a famous photography spot. The well-manicured gardens are a treat to the eyes.
Visiting Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
Office Contact: 0141-2530293
Light Show Timings: 7.30 PM (English) 8 PM (Hindi)
Light Show Fee: INR 200 For English and INR 100 For Hindi
Elephant Ride: 7:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Elephant Ride Cost: INR 1100 (Solo or family)
Entry Fee: INR 25 for Indians and INR 550 for foreign nationals
Entry Fee For International Students: INR 100
Entry Fee For Indian Students: INR 10
Amer Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is visited by over two million people annually. Don’t leave before you try the authentic Rajasthani food in the neighbourhood. Lal Maas, I have heard is a local speciality!