An excursion to Rajasthan would be worthless without visiting the beautiful Amber Fort. It derives its name from the mother goddess – Amba. Located 11 kms from Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, the Amber Fort is a magnificent fort built by Raja Man Singh in 1592. It is also called Amer Fort. It is a very old fort, built of red sandstone and marble. This fort consists of various structures such as ‘Sheesh Mahal’ – The mirror palace, Diwan- e-aam – Hall for public audience, Diwan-e-khas – Hall for private audience and Sukh Mahal – The hall for pleasure. Influences of muslim as well as hindu architecture can be seen in this fort. The Rajput kings used to live in this fort with their families.
The Story of Amber
During the medieval period, Amer used to be called Dhundar and the Kachwahas ruled it from 1037 – 1727 AD. After this, the capital was moved from Dhundar to Jaipur. Raja Man Singh, who was a commander in Akbar’s Army built it and it was later expanded by Raja Jai Singh I. Many of the old structures have been demolished but this splendid creation remained intact against all odds.
There are four parts of the Fort and each of them has a separate entrance to it. The ‘Suraj Pol’ is the main entry and it leads to the main courtyard – The Jaleb Chowk. This entrance is in the east, hence the name ‘ Suraj Pol’ wherein Suraj means Sun and Pol means Gate. The armies used to hold victory parades in this courtyard. The Royal women used to watch them through latticed screens. This gate was open only to the Royal blood. Being the main entry, it was always guarded.
The Sila Devi Temple
The Sila Devi Temple is located to the right of the Jaleb Chowk. This impressive temple has a carving of Lord Ganesha, made out of one single piece of coral stone.The small temple has a diety flanked by two lions. The Rajput Maharajas used to worship and perform their rites and rituals here. During the Navratras (Nine day festival), sacrifices were performed in this temple. However, in 1975 the practice of animal sacrifice(Bali – cutting of a buffalo), was abolished.
The Diwan-e-aam, the second courtyard, which is the hall for public audience is a huge hall which is open from three sides. In this hall, the king used to address the needs of the public. The Diwan-e-khas or hall for private audience is a hall decorated with fine mosaic work. This was reserved for the king’s special guests and dignitaries.
The Sukh Niwas
The Sukh Niwas is located opposite the Diwan-e-khas has a sandalwood door. A water pipe is running through a channel in this hall, which helps to keep it cool. The Sukh Niwas or the hall for pleasure derives its name from the fact that kings used to spend time with their queens and mistresses in this hall.
The Sheesh Mahal
The Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors is the most popular and beautiful part of Amber Fort. It is a breath-taking view. This hall is entirely made-up of glass and has some beautiful pieces of art on the walls, which are also madeup of glass. In those times the queens were stopped from sleeping under the open sky, so the king asked the architects to design a hall in such a way that one could see stars all around.
The Kesar Kyari
The Kesar Kyaari or Mughal Gardens , which was built by Mirza Raja Jai Singh adds more scenic beauty to the fort. Kesar is the hindi word for saffron. The kings used to plant saffron in star-shaped sunken flower beds.
Amber Fort – A pleasure to the eyes
The Amber Fort is a ravishing structure with exquisite architectural designs and majestic gardens. One can also enjoy an elephant ride at this fort.
All the images on this page are property of Ananta Vrindavan.