Jaipur – the royal capital of Rajasthan is one of the most explored destinations in India. The reason being its majestic architectures, rich heritage, fairs and festivals with enthusiasm and colourful bazaars. The residences of the then kings are antique forts that never fail to attract the attention of the tourists. There are in total three forts within Jaipur namely Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort and this article will take give the readers a tour within the ancient walls of Amber Fort which is known to be one of the most visited forts of all time.
Amer is located 11 kilometres away from Jaipur. It was once known as Dhundar and was ruled by the Kachhwahas from the 11th to the 16th century until the capital was moved from there to Jaipur. Raja Man Singh built this fort in 1592 AD and Raja Jai Singh – I expanded and renovated it later. While many old structures have been either destroyed or replaced by other things, this fort has stood against all the tests of time and invasions.
The fort is known for its artistic style elements. The structure has four different parts, each with a separate entrance. The main entrance to the fort is through the ‘Suraj Pol’ or Sun Gate which opens up into the main courtyard. This east-facing main entrance to the palace got its name with respect to its position which is on the side of the rising sun.
The ‘Jaleb Chowk’ is one of the four courtyards of the Amer Palace. The ‘Sila Devi’ Temple is right at the entrance to the main palace grounds. The second courtyard is famous for its ‘Diwan-i-Aam’, the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ and the ‘Sukh Mahal’. One of the most famous attractions here is the ‘Magic Flower’, which is carved on a marble panel on a pillar in the Sheesh Mahal. Seven beautiful designs are carved on it including a lotus, lion’s tail, scorpion, hooded cobra, fishtail, corn and an elephant trunk. You will have to cover the panel partially with your hands to view each of the design.
Things to do:
- Undertake a trekking trip to the surrounding hills.
- Indulge in some handicraft and art workshops at the stalls and shops in Amer town.
- Visit the museum inside the fort to know about the fort and hiring a guide for that will facilitate knowing the history a lot.
- Take an elephant ride inside the fort.
- Attend the lights show in the evening, which is available both in Hindi as well as English language.
- Timings to visit the fort – The Amber fort is open daily from 8 am to 5.30 pm.
- The ticket costs for the same is around – INR 100 for Indians and INR 500 for foreigners.
Make sure that every time you visit Rajasthan, you carry an additional empty bag. The local craftsmen here are a metaphor to skills and expertise. It is a guarantee that you won’t leave without hefty shopping from this city.
Rajasthani cuisine is influenced by its rich heritage and arid climatic conditions. The little availability of fresh fruits and vegetables distinguishes their cuisine. There is more inclination towards vegetarian food, but various kinds of meat dishes prevail as well.
- Dal Baati Churma – Voted as one of the most loved traditional foods of Rajasthan, this dish needs no introduction. It consists of crunchy baati dipped in ghee along with spicy dal and sweet churma.
- Mahan Thaal – This royal dessert is unique to Rajasthan. It uses besan and dry fruits. The aroma camouflages with the taste of ghee to give in a punch of awesome texture and flavour.
- Laal Maas – One of the most common parts of the non-vegetarian platter, Laal mass owes its colour to the hot red chilli. Here, the hot gravy of tomatoes, chilli and sizzling spices have chunks of meat in them.
- Mirchi Bada – Another snacky delight from Rajasthan, Mirchi Badas are perfect to complement with the evening tea or morning breakfast.
- Mawa Kachori – These kachoris are stuffed with mawa along with crispy dry and served hot that makes up for a great sweet dish.
Do not expect your culture’s local food over there, but we advise to welcome the food of Rajasthan with an open heart. They’ll surely not disappoint you.
How to reach:
- FOR LOCAL TOURISTS OF JAIPUR:
A tourist can board buses, auto-rickshaws, taxis or cars which are available from any palace at Jaipur. The fort perches on a hill, so to reach there; you can either walk or take an elephant ride.
- FOR TOURISTS FROM METROPOLITAN CITIES:
Tourists can board a flight to Jaipur Airport which is just 5 kilometres away from the main city. Further which they can book a cab to any motel. Tourists can also book train tickets to Jaipur Junction Railway Station which is connected to all the major railway stations of India.
Best time to visit:
- Summer (April-June): Rajasthan becomes unbearably hot during the summer season so sightseeing can be really difficult. It is to avoid visiting Jaipur during the summers.
- Monsoon (July-September): Though the climate is a lot better and comfortable than the summers, the Monsoon brings relief from the heat but the downpours can turn the streets muddy.
- Winter (October-March): Of all the seasons, the winters are the best time for one to visit Jaipur; particularly October-November as well as February-March when temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.
I would say that the Amber Fort is a one in a lifetime experience for tradition lovers like me!
It gives us an insight into the luxury of the great kings and queens and guides us on the history of their empire. We get to experience the lavish culture that our ancestors were privileged with.
Travelling Jaipur and not visiting the Amber Fort is a trip worth nothing. However, for people with less affinity towards our culture, the finest carving on the strong-standing walls is sure to overwhelm them. Also, there have been instances of people visiting Jaipur only to visit the major forts residing there of which one is Amber fort.