Amber Fort, Jaipur

Amber (or Amer) fort is situated in Amer,  some 11 kms from Jaipur. Before Jaipur, Amer (previously Dhundar) was the known capital of Rajasthan until 1727, when Jaipur was announced as the new capital of Rajasthan. Amber fort, built on a hilltop is one of the prime attractions of Jaipur and a must visit in any travellers itinerary. It was built by Raja Man Singh in 1592; and was completed in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh. This fort is built on the remains of an 11th century fort.

The fort is also known for it’s iconic ‘Suraj Pol‘. Suraj Pol is the fort’s royal entrance that is facing the sun; also it is considered to be a classic piece of architecture as a fusion of Rajput and Mughal touch. To reach the fort, one can either walk up the hill, take an elephant ride, jeep ride, golf cart (designed as heritage cars) or even can take own vehicles (to a certain point).

Arriving the fort, only from ‘Suraj Pol’ or ‘Chand Pol’ one can enter. Both the gates leads to the main courtyard of the fort. It’s the same courtyard, where king’s army assembled and paraded around. This courtyard was named as ‘Jaleb Chowk’. Both Suraj Pol and Chand Pol are opposite to each other, people coming by car enter from Chand Pol and the rest from Suraj Pol.

Once you are at the courtyard, you will have the option of having refreshments, or guides on hire. Tickets are also to be purchased from the counter at the courtyard level only in order to tour the fort.

To the right, there are staggering stairs that take you up the Shilla Devi Temple. Goddess Shilla is an incarnation of the Goddess Kali herself. It is believed that human heads were offered to the goddess here as a part of the rituals.

Moving ahead, entering from ‘Singh Pol’ there’s ‘Diwan-i-Aim’  and the second courtyard of the fort. Diwan-i-Aim is the ‘Hall of Public Appearances’.  Here the Raja used to meet his officials, subjected his people or even celebrated the battle victories.  Also, there’s ‘Ganesh Pol’ on the courtyard itself, which leads to the third courtyard.

On the third courtyard are the Maharaja’s cribs. Entering through ‘Ganesh Pol’, the gallery takes you to the third courtyard, which also have the ‘Jai Mandir’. Jai Mandir is the hall of victory, and is known for it’s marble carvings and  walls & ceilings that’s made of mirrors. The view from the Jai Mandir is spectacular. Jai Mandir is also commonly known as ‘Sheesh Mahal’ or ‘Hall of Mirrors’. Just opposite to the Jai Mandir is ‘Sukh Niwas’, separating both is a spectacular garden in the middle.

Next is the fourth courtyard, where the Palace of Man Singh is located. The palace also has the cribs for King’s wives. It is named ‘Zenani Deorhi’, having a small hall for the queens to meet.

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Going out from exit, you will cross “Museum Gallery & Contemporary Art”, going further will take you to the city of Amber. There’s another exit from the palace, a tunnel, which connects the fort to ‘Jaigarh Fort’.

Down near the ‘Maota Lake’ (dry now) sound and light show is held in the evening.

Amber Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013.