Revered for its magnificent havelis, carved temples and beautiful royal forts, Rajasthan is truly an incredible state of India. This vibrant land is widely celebrated for its rich heritage, valour, warm hospitality and not to forget the lip-smacking food. Nestled in the outskirts of Rajasthan’s pink city – Jaipur, Amber (pronounced Amer) is a small town that showcases the glory of Rajput heritage & culture. Decorated with serene Aravali hills, Amer was one of the flourishing empires of India and used to be the powerhouse of legendary rulers before Jaipur became the capital of Rajasthan.
Amer is extremely famous for its ancient royal mementoes such as Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort to name a few. I explored this heritage city in Rajasthan and learnt interesting things about the rich history and colourful traditional of the Rajputs. And how can you forget hit Bollywood movies like Jodha Akhar and Pamavat that has been shot here in Amer.
Amer’s Rich History
Amer was the capital of Raja Kakil Dev before Kachwahas (a clan of Rajputs) conquered it in 1037 AD. The construction of the magnificent Amber Fort was started by Raja Man Singh I (Kachwaha Dynasty) in year 1562 and later was completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh with final touches given by Sawai Jai Singh. Amer is nearly 7 centuries old and forms an integral part of rich Indian history. Later Rajputs won over Meena tribes and they transformed the small structure into the grand Amber Palace.
Bihari Ji Mandir
One of Amer town’s lesser-known historic structure, Bihari Ji Mandir was constructed during the reign of Mirja Raja Jai Singh I. The astounding architecture of this temple is designed according to 17th century style. Bihari Ji Temple is the center for community and cultural activities.
The temple had deteriorated several times in past and currently under restoration process by Rajasthan Tourism and government.
Grandeur Of Amer Fort
Amer is widely popular for its magnificent Amer Fort or Amber Palace constructed using red and white sandstone. This heritage site in Rajasthan is a perfect blend of Rajput and a bit of Islamic style as well. Showcasing a great example of ancient Indian architecture, this historic fort is regarded as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trip to Amer in Rajasthan is incomplete without visiting this beautiful Amer Fort nestled on Aravali hill.
You can reach the fort either on foot or by Jeep. For more authentic Rajasthani experience, go for an elephant ride that will take you to the fort situated on a hilltop. On the way to Amer Fort, you will come across various local musicians playing a melodious chord at the fort entrance. There are so many kathputli walas selling colorful puppets, traditional jewellery and much more. Now such scenes can only be found in Rajasthan. And that’s what I loved about this culturally rich Indian state.
Located in front of the grand Amer Fort, Maotha Lake adds to the attraction. The reflection of Amber Palace in the serene lake water is truly a sight to behold. The interiors of this stunning historic structure is decorated with numerous beautiful paintings of ancient hunting styles, Amer & Jaipur city, legendary Rajput rulers and intricate carvings. These mind blowing carvings in Amer Fort is a mixture of both Rajput and Muslim art style. I was mesmerized by the colorful paintings made using flowers, spices and vegetable dyes. Another major highlight of this amazing heritage site is its delicate mirror work that provides a much more grand feel to the palace.
Surrounded by a grand wall for protection, Amer Fort comprises these important buildings such as Jaleb Chowk (public courtyard), Suraj Pol (entrance that faces towards east), Shila Devi Mandir, Sheesh Mahal, Sukh Niwas (resting room of king and queen), Zenana Mahal (section for royal ladies), Kesar Kyari, Diwan-E-Aam (common assembly place), Jai Mandir, Diwan-E-Khas (courtmen & ministers assembly place), Kali Mandir and Ganesh Pol.
I was awestruck by the captivating view of entire Amer and Jaipur city as seen from top of the palace.
Positioned on a hilltop, Jaigarh Fort is the most strategic heritage fort in Amer giving the picturesque view of Aravali hills, Sagar Lake and the entire town. Made by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1770s, Jaigarh fort was built so as to protect the grand Amber Palace and the town below. This historic site in Rajasthan is home to some crucial chapters in the history of Jaipur and Amer.
I was fascinated by the beauty of the royal drawing room of the King called Laxmi Vilas. The intricate carvings, beautiful wall paintings and fine flooring is just mind blowing. You will also see huge drums and other important things kept at Subhat Niwas, a huge parade ground.
Jaigarh Fort in Amer contains World’s largest cannon on wheels known as Jaivana, built during British era in the cannon foundry at the fort itself. The huge red colored walls of Jaigarh Fort seems to be endless. I really loved climbing up open stairs, exploring the turrets or just walking along the periphery of the fort.
The enthralling beats of dholak and super entertaining kathputli show by the local artists in Lalit Mandir, the summer palace of the King, made my visit to Jaigarh Fort even more memorable. Other important places are Aaram Bagh, Vilas Mandir and a small museum of war instruments and weapons.
Panna Meena Baoli – Hidden Gem
Also known as Panna Mian Kund or Panna Meena Bawri, is a stepwell (Baori) built during 16th century for irrigation and drinking purposes. This 8-storey stepwell near magnificent Amer Fort has criss-cross steps arranged on 3 sides with 4th side having a multi-storeyed balcony.
A perfect place for photoshoots, Panna Meena Baoli is another lesser-known place located in front of the sacred Bihari Ji Mandir. Being the only well-restored and functional stepwell in Amer. Visitors can climb down the steps to reach the bottom of the kund. I loved visiting this architectural wonder in Amber.
Other Places To Visit: Kheri Gate, Anokhi Museum, Chanwarpalkiwalon Ki Haveli, Jagat Shiromani Mandir, and Ambikeshwar Mahadev Mandir.
Experience the extraordinary art of rich heritage period and feel the old world charm. Royality has its own magic!
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