Rajasthan is a land of Rajas and Maharajas. Though part of the state is a desert, its culture, traditions, monuments and people add myriad colors to its dull landscape. Amer Fort is one such flamboyant part of the state’s heritage.
One of the biggest attractions for tourists, even foreigners, is the big and elaborately built monuments here. They represent Regalia, beauty, magnificence, impregnability, opulence and more such magnanimous qualities that are unique to royal residences across India.
The fort in question is one such Monument. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site now. Its name is derived from the name of a temple Ambikashwara (dedicated to lord Shiv).
Amer fort is located in Amer town, Rajasthan on Cheel Ka Teela translated in English as Hill of eagles. It is some 11 kms away from Jaipur, the pink city of Rajasthan. Photo by Abhishek Shirali
This monument overlooks the Maota Lake which provided water to the residents in earlier times. The Jaigarh Fort is also located in the same area and both are connected by an underground passage.
The construction of this massive 20194 sq km structure began in the 16th century by the Rajput king Raja Man Singh. It was completed another Rajput in the same family line, Sawai Jai Singh II in the 18th Century.
The whole structure is built with Red sandstone and Marble. The ramparts are huge and consists of various attractive buildings like Jaleb Chowk, Ganesh pol, Singh pol, Bhool Bullaya, Baraadari, Suhag Mandir, Shila Devi Temple and more. Gardens inside look similar to Mughal gardens.
An Elaborate look inside the Fort
The entry to this Rajasthani fort is through Suraj Pol(gate). The Jabel Chowk is easily accessible from here. It is the location where the king’s troops showed their victory trophies to the general public.
If you are coming by car, you can enter inside through the Chand Pol.
The fort is huge and it consists of various buildings. There are four courtyards that can be clearly noticed.
The first courtyard can be arrived at from Jaleb Chowk through a highly decorated stairway. There is a temple that is dedicated to Shila Devi nearby. The silver embossed relief work here is a sight to admire.
In the second courtyard, you will find Diwan-I-Aam, where the king met the general public. The latticed galleries on top were places where the women folk got to see the official proceedings.
The third courtyard has the private quarters of the king and his attendants. This area is accessible from the Ganesh gate. The chambers here are beautifully embellished with mosaics. There is also an attractive garden in this complex.
The Jai Mandir has multiple mirrors on ceiling and marble relief panels around. On the top of Jai mandir is the Diwan a Khas where the king met a private audience.
Sheesh Mahal is another place with colored glasses and mosaics that looked like a jewel box when candles were lit.
Sukh Niwas was built in such a way that cool winds blowing over water cascaded into the room to keep it cool. The door here is made of sandalwood and inlaid with ivory.
One of the architectural attractions in this area is the magic flower carved at the base of a pillar which has two butterfly images hovering around it. The flower has 7 unique designs such as fish lotus, cobra, elephant’s trunk, scorpion, lion’s tail and a corn of cob. You can view each one separately by blocking a part of the panel with your hands.
The fourth courtyard had the Zenna, where the queens and mistresses lived. In the south of this area one can see the palace of Raja Man Singh. There is also a pillared pavilion that is decorated with very beautiful mosaics and tiles. The exit portion of this area leads into Amer town.
Earlier, one could tour the entire area riding on an elephant. Now, the walk-ways have been made user-friendly. Also routes have been constructed inside for vehicular access.
Another special attraction in this fort is a light and sound show near the lake in the evenings.
Until some point in time of time after independence, many old monuments in India have been ignored due to various reasons leading to degradation. Now conservation works have been taken up at various locations across the country. A sum of Rs.40 crores has been specially allocated to renovate and bring Fort Amer back to its past glory.
Efforts such as these can keep these forts going and remain in good condition for another two or more centuries so that our future generation can also admire the great architectural feats that our ancestors achieved.