Cradled on the top of the Aravali Hill and forming a beautiful reflection across the Maotha Lake, lies the Amber Fort. An architectural masterpiece and with significant reference in the Indian history, it is visited by over five thousand tourists daily. Only eleven kilometres away from the capital city of Jaipur, Amber Fort is clad in pink and yellow sandstone and is a part of an extensive complex. The Fort gives a mesmerizing view from the bottom of the hill when it is illuminated every evening. Built by one of the most trusted general of Akbar, Man Singh who had a huge impact on the Indian politics and society in the sixteenth century; Amber Fort or Amer Fort as it is locally referred is a photographer's paradise.
The Amber Fort through its large ramparts and several gateways and paved path overlook the Maotha Lake. Amer is a small town with an area hardly over four square kilometres, it once served as a capital city of Rajasthan and is one of a prominent tourist attraction today with visitors coming from all over the globe. You have an option of visiting the fort on elephant-back which has drawn immense flak from animal rights activists with reports of animal abuse and injuries to the elephants from carrying tourists uphill. Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort, both located atop the hill called 'Cheel ka Teela' were part of a single complex. They are also connected through an underground passage meant as an escape route during emergencies.
Amer city was a small town earlier to the Kachwahas's rule, built by a small tribe named 'Meenas'. The Amber fort gets its name after Ambikeshwar, another name of Lord Shiva, however, the locals suggest the name has been derived from Amba, the name of Goddess Durga. Once named as Dhundar, the city was ruled by the Kachhawahas during the 11th century to the 16th century when ultimately the capital was moved to Jaipur.
It was in the year 1592 AD that Raja Man Singh built the fort with expansion and renovation efforts carrying on for the next 150 years by his successors. The older palace named 'Kadimi Mahal' is regarded as the oldest palace of the country. A small temple dedicated to his patron Goddess 'Sheela Mata' was also commissioned by Raja Man Singh. With several old structures destroyed and new ones brought up, the Amer Fort stood against all the odds with great fervour.
Amber Fort has a traditional Hindu and Rajputana style of architecture. It is aesthetically crafted out of marble and red sandstone giving it a rustic and mysterious look. There are intricate paintings of ancient hunting styles and portraits of significant Rajput rulers. Amer Fort is divided into four sections, each adorned with its separate entrance and courtyard. The main entrance to the fort is called 'Suraj Pol' or Sun Gate which leads to the main courtyard. An east-facing gate, this entrance has its name owing to its position with respect to the rising sun. Imposing stairways would lead you to the palace complex to an impressive courtyard named 'Jaleb Chowk' while the steps to the right lead to Siladevi Temple. Jaleb Chowk was used by the army to display their war booty back in time where women were allowed to watch the proceedings only through the windows.
Diwan-e-Aam (Public Audience Hall) forms the second level of the Amer Fort. It is a massive hall open on three sides. With extensive mosaic glassworks, it stands on the support of two columns of pillars with mounted elephants. The third courtyard of the Amber Fort is around the royal quarters. Entrance to this level is through the Ganesh Pol. 'Sheesh Mahal' is the most beautiful attraction in the entire complex and is left to the entrance gate. The walls and ceilings have beautiful carvings of flowers and glass paintings. The Sheesh Mahal gives beautiful illusions and you may hear people discussing that if you lit two candles inside the hall, the ceilings feel like a thousand glittering stars.
'Sukh Mahal' is another hall opposite to the Sheesh Mahal and is built of sandalwood and ivory. It has numerous channels with running cold water. Another highlighting feature of the Amer Fort is the 'Magic Flower', a fresco carved out of marble and a delicate carving of Lord Ganesha out of a single piece of coral. South of this courtyard lies the oldest part of the complex and the main palace used by Man Singh I. The exit of the main palace leads directly to the city of Amer. The final level of the Amber Fort was built for Royal women. It has a courtyard surrounded by several rooms. There is also a hall known as the Jas Mandir which was used for a private audience back in time.
A fifty minute long light and sound show are held every evening at the Amer Fort showcasing the history of Jaipur and the fort. With a motive of reviving the state's rich history, tradition and culture, the show celebrate local legends, folklore and folk music. Photography, video or audio recordings of the show are prohibited.
Light and Sound Show fee: INR 295
Duration: 52 minutes.
October to February -6:30 PM (English)/ 7:30 PM (Hindi)
March to April - 7:00 PM (English)/ 8:00 PM (Hindi)
May to September - 7:30 PM (English)/ 8:30 PM (Hindi)
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The Amber Fort is 11 kilometres away from Jaipur which is the capital of Rajasthan which also is the nearest airport and railway station. Jaipur is readily connected to major parts of the country
Cabs and Taxis are readily available from Jaipur. State buses also ply from the Jaipur and other major cities of the state to Amer. The public buses ply from Ajmeri Gate and MI Road and take around twenty minutes to reach to Amer Fort.
1. Hire a guide for deeper knowledge of fort's past.
2. You might also find few entertainers, singers and snake charmers around the fort.
3. It is advisable to reach early to enjoy the beauty of fort to the best.