The Amber Fort, reflected in Maota Lake. The entrance to the fort – the Suraj Pol, or “Sun Gate” – is to the right.
The Amber Fort, also known as the Amer Fort, is the ancestral seat of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The fort is not named for its colour, but for the town it sits in, called Amer.
Perched impossibly on a hill-top, it presents a stunning vista when juxtaposed against the azure-blue skies of Rajasthan. The historic and most evocative way to reach it is by elephant, though certainly, visitors arriving by car can also access the fort today.
The fort as it stands was first built in the late 1500s, in the reign of Raja Man Singh I. It would be occupied for just under 200 years. By 1727, under the reign of Sawai Jai Singh II, the capital of the region was moved to the city of Jaipur (“Jai’s City”). A shortage of water and a difficulty of access made it necessary for the move.
The Fort is primarily made of sandstone. It is laid out in a series of four courtyards that become increasingly private. While it is no longer occupied, it continues to remain immaculately restored and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with five other hill forts of Rajasthan.
This gallery takes one through the key sights.
View of the ramparts of the Amber Fort. To the right is a viewing platform that is part of the Diwan-e-am, or Hall of Public Audience.
Elephants winding up the path to the Fort. In the background is Maota Lake with the Kesar Kyari Bagh – a man-made island that houses a spice garden.
The Suraj Pol (“Sun Gate”) is the Eastern gate into the Fort. Through the gate can be seen the Jaleb Chowk, the First Courtyard, which was a courtyard for public events.
Overview of the Jaleb Chowk.
View towards Singh Pol, the gates to the second courtyard.
The back of Singh Pol. Note the Mughal style decoration.
The Diwan-e-Am, or Hall of Public Audience, where the Raja held audiences with the public.
Close-up of the elephant head capitals of one of the pillars, Diwan-e-Am.
Viewing gallery, Diwan-e-Am. The archway is in Rajput-style architecture, fusing elements of Mughal with local Hindu.
The stunning Ganesh Pol takes one into the third courtyard.
The Ganesh Gate is so-called because of this exquisite portrait of Ganesh. The gate itself is an eclectic mix of Mughal and Hindu, with muqarnas as well as lotus flowers.
View of Jaigarh Fort from the top of Ganesh Pol.
The third courtyard consists of the private quarters of the Maharaja and his family. In the foreground is the Aram Bagh or pleasure gardens, to the right is the Sukh Niwas. In the background is Jaigarh Fort.
The Sukh Niwas, or Hall of Pleasure. Note the Rajput-style arches.
Detail of Sukh Niwas interior walls, decorated in marble with inlay work, demonstrating eclectic Rajput style which fused elements of Indo-Persian (Mughal) style with local elements.
The Sheesh Mahal (“Palace of Mirrors”) sits across from the Sukh Niwas. It is exquisitely ornamented with glass inlaid panels.
Restoration works in progress, Sheesh Mahal.
Detail of one glass-inlaid panel, Sheesh Mahal.
The stunning ceiling, Sheesh Mahal.
The fourth courtyard holds the zenana, or harem, where the Maharani, concubines and other women lived. To the left is the Baradari pavilion, used for meetings with the Maharanis.
Close-up for the living quarters of the zenana.
And finally, a backward glance at the Ganesh Pol.