Amer Fort or Amber Fort, located only 11 kilometers from the Pink City – Jaipur, is one of the most fascinating tourist hotspots in the state of Rajasthan. The main gate of the fort called Suraj Pol or ‘Sun Gate’ (‘suraj’ meaning sun and ‘pol’ meaning gate) leads to the main courtyard of the fort, Jaleb Chowk, where the army used to parade in front of the king and his courtiers.
The women of royal family also observed the activities on the courtyard from behind the ornate stone lattices decorating the place balconies.
Amer Fort is full of historical saga and spectacular instances of mediaeval architecture. Overlooking Maota Lake this Rajput stronghold was built on Aravalli Hills range in time of Raja Man Singh (around 1592). Some expansions were made later by the king Sawai Jai Singh.
The palace architecture is a wonderful blend of Hindu and Mughal architectural styles. The king’s palace, the frescoes on marble walls, the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), the garden, the temple (Shila Devi Temple) where Rajput Kings offered worship everything is so fascinating that I can simply keep talking about it … 🙂
However, the most memorable moment of my Amer Fort visit was when our guide led us to Sheesh Mahal and explained why it was built that way. He lit up his torch and focused it on the ceiling of Sheesh Mahal. It was like thousands stars twinkling under the roof – AMAZING!
We were lucky to get a veteran guide whose bag was full of interesting stories about the royal lifestyle inside the fort and its palaces in time of Rajput kings.
The story of the royal family goes like this (as told by our guide). The king had 12 queens. There were separate sections (‘Mahal’) in the palace for each of them. The king maintained a highly confidential schedule about when to spend time with which queen. When he was with one wife no other queens would know about it. The king never wanted all of his queens to meet in one place and have chitchat. At a time only four of the queens were allowed to meet at the central pavilion (Baradhari Pavilion) at the palace square or inner courtyard. The Habshi (Abyssinian Eunuch) guards used to keep watch on the queens’ meeting from the minarets erected on all corners of the square. Imagine the sense of ‘insecurity’ of the king! 😛
I was so absorbed in the beauty of the place that I did not notice when we have returned to the outer courtyard – Jaleb Chowk. Time flies so quickly. The fort closes at 5:30 pm and it was already 5 pm. We were running short of time. Otherwise, I think we would get to listen more of such queer stories of royal families if we could explore every nook and corner of the palace.
Please note that apart from taking a tour of the fort and palaces and offering worship in the temple you can also shop from the boutiques and antique stores located inside the fort premises and enjoy elephant ride in the main courtyard.
Take a virtual tour of this amazing fortified town and its palace through my lenses. 🙂
View from Amer Fort:
Diwan-e-aam (the Hall of Public Audience):
Shila Devi Temple:
Chandra Pol or Moon Gate (Chandra is Moon and Pol meaning gate) on the other side of the courtyard:
Old cannons are still on display at Moon Gate:
The gorgeous, mesmerizing Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace):
Amer Palace and garden:
Check out more photos of Amer Fort on Flickr: