Tales and Legends of the Historic Amer Fort, Jaipur
Daydreaming where to go after the Lockdown?
Planning your next getaway?
If you are a history buff and you happen to love photography, then Jaipur should be at the top of your bucket list.
One of the best-planned cities in India, Jaipur is an experience you cannot miss. Also popularly called the “Pink City” as the city was painted Pink ( Representing Warmth and Hospitality) in 1876 by Raja Ram Singh to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria. The city has retained the name since.
Named after Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and built-in 1728, the city has always been regarded as one of the best-planned cities in India. The city laid out in measured rectangular blocks and divided by cross streets has main streets of width 111 ft and the secondary ones at 55 ft. The level of detail gone into building this great city is astounding.
And nothing defines this historic city more than the Legendary Amer Fort.
Overlooking Maota lake and standing grandly against the Aravalli Hills this Sandstone and Marble Palace is the epitome of Grandeur of the time gone by. You cannot help but be awe-struck by the scale of this monument. After all, it has the 3rd largest wall in the world. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013, the Amer Fort is first on my recommendation list when visiting Jaipur.
Amer fort has a long history.
The Old Fort is said to be established by Meena Tribes somewhere in the 10thcentury. The ruins of which can still be seen in the valley behind Amer Fort. Raja Man Singh started the construction of the present fort in the 16th century and this was further expanded and given its final form by Raja Jai Singh.
There are two main gates through which you can enter Amer Fort.
Suraj Pol (Sun Gate) and Chand Pol (Moon Gate) both open into the main courtyard called Jaleb Chowk.
Suraj Pol was the gate used for Royal processions, Dignitaries, and the Royal Army.
Chand Pol was the gate for common people. It is said that on the floor above the gate was “Naubatkhana” where musical instruments were played
The Main Courtyard
The victorious armies held their parades here and displayed the treasures of war to the gathered audience.
To the right of Jaleb Chowk is Sila Devi Temple which has an embossed silver door.
Till 1975 there used to a buffalo or goat sacrifice conducted in front of the temple during the Navratri festival which was attended by the royal family and devotees. This practice has since been banned.
As you take the stairs from the courtyard you will come across Diwan e Aam (Public Audience Hall) where the King addressed his court. It has 27 evenly divided columns situated on a raised platform.
And that takes you to one of the grandest gates you will ever see.
The Ganesh Pol
This marvel of an entrance takes you to the inner private chambers of the King explaining its exquisiteness.
Ganesh Pol was built in honor of Mughal Emperors with the image of Lord Ganesh in a unique side profile in the Centre of the arch. The gate painted with vegetable dyes is a colorful delight to admire for the craftsmanship. This gate is a perfect example of the amalgamation of Mughal and Rajput architecture.
Now to the left of the courtyard is Diwan E Khas (For King’s private audience) and Sheesh Mahal.
Do look out for the Magic flower in one of the pillars.
A singular flower can depict a lotus, fishtail, hooded cobra, elephant’s trunk, scorpion, and corn cob depending on where you keep your hand to cover it.
Sheesh, Mahal is more an art piece than an architectural monument. Its beauty cannot be described nor captured. All I can advise you is to take your time here. The Sheesh mahal will literally dazzle you. This delicate looking Mahal has walls and ceilings decorated in fine paintings and flowers made of fine cut Belgian glass shimmering down on you.
It was built to allow the queen to experience the feeling of sleeping under an open sky as at that time the queen was forbidden from sleeping in the open.
It is said to light up like the night sky with only a candle lit when dark.
To the right of the courtyard is Sukh Niwas.
Sukh Niwas is special for a reason.
Sandalwood doors welcome you and the water channels running through the garden producing an air conditioning effect to lower the temperature inside Sukh Niwas.
No doubt The King liked to spend his summers here.
Zenana or the women’s quarters is probably the most intriguing part of architecture seen in Amer Fort. Designed to be confusing on purpose as it allowed the King to visit his Queens (12 of them) without getting noticed. It is indeed one of the most complex structures in the palace. All the rooms look exactly similar and are attached to a single corridor. Each room has its own passage to the King’s Room and the corridor also has multiple staircases leading to a Pavilion.
You can frankly get lost here. Exactly what the King wanted.
When you are living in one of the biggest forts in India you don’t take a normal bath, do you?
Thus the Amer fort is home to unique Turkish Baths. Water was heated by burning fire underneath a hot water tank which was connected through pipes to the baths. The hot water in the tank would then flow to the sauna room before entering the Bath area. The Baths which could seat four at one time (Maybe bathing alone was over-rated?) also have a changing and massage room. They can also be approached directly from the Sheesh Mahal.
Amer Fort is also connected to Jaigarh Fort through underground tunnels as an escape route for the royal family.
Jaigarh Fort houses one of the largest 18th-century canons. Fired only once, it is said to have covered 35 km.
Amer Fort Timings
8:00 am-5:30 pm and 6:30pm-9:15 pm
Open on all days.
Rs 500 for Foreign Tourists.
Rs 100 for Indians.
Jaipur airport is located around 10 km from the city and has well connected International and Domestic flights.
Connected to most of the cities in India through a wide range of trains, most notably being Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express.
If you are interested in something more luxurious, you can check out “The Palace on Wheels” too which has a 7 night / 8 days itinerary covering Jaipur also.
Transport in the city?
Uber, Ola and local rickshaws are very easily available.
Jaipur also has very convenient and comfortable State Transport Buses (Both AC and Non-AC) for transport to almost any part of the city with very nominal rates.
Check out the Jaipur Series to discover more tales and legends of the Royal Rajputana.