Constructed several centuries ago, Amber is the principal tourist attraction of Jaipur. This massive and sprawling for depicts the erstwhile royal lifestyle of Rajput kings. The fort is mainly built with Red Sandstone and houses various beautiful palaces and temples.
Suraj Pole, the main entry gate of the palace opens at Jaleb Chowk. The compound was used by victorious soldiers for victory parades. The parade was enjoyed by the royal public but the Royal women were not allowed to appear in the public. So the caring husband kings made a private section in the upper storey for queens. These sections had latticed windows that enable royal womenfolk to watch the parade without being seen.
This vast courtyard was used by the king to hear the concerns of general populace. The king generally sat on a central stage with the genial populace sitting on a lower ground. It is supported by 27 colonnades, The elephant shaped capital that were used to mount these colonnades are a sight to behold.
This compound served as a meeting place to receive and interact with royal guests that inclided Mughal ministers, aristocrats and royal delegates. Its architecture is hugely influenced by Mughal school of archietcture and embelleished with delicate mosaic work. Beautiful motifs and intricated designs also present the artistic height of erstwhlile artisans.
This extensively embellished 3 level structure was built during the reign of Mira Raja Jai Singh. A buildong named Suhag Mandir is located just above the Ganesh pol that has a host of latticed windows that allowed royal women to watch royal functions or events organized in Diwan i Aam.
There is a stairway in Jaleb Chowk that directly takes to legendary Sila Devi Temple. It was Built by Mahraja Mansingh on his victory in the battle with Mahraja Jessore Sigh of Bengal. The temples was one of the main worship centers for many maharajas. There is a legend attached to the temple. It is said that when Mahraja Mansingh was going to fight with Mahraja Jessore Singh of Bengal, he prayed The Mother Goddess for the victory. The Mother Goddess appeared in his dream and instructed to find her image in the river bed. Upon finding he needs to install it in a temple and worship daily. After winning the battle in 1604 the Rajas did as was instructed. As the idol was carved using a single stone slab (called Sila in local language) the temple was named Sila Devi Temple.
The courtyard was a "ladies only" courtyard and no other male apart from the King was allowed to enter inside. It was used by Kings' consorts and their mothers and all the inhabitants including attendants were females. There are many rooms in the courtyard and all have a common opening to the courtyard that enable the kind to visit any queen he desired.
The Ganesh Pol leads to the third courtyard housing 2 beautiful buildings facing each other. These buildings are divided by a Mughal style garden.
Jai Mandir, left building has mirrored decorated ceilings and inlaid panels.
These curved mirrors are designed with bright color foils and present the finest example of aesthetic excellence. These mirrors were designed and set in such a way that upon lighting a candle in the dark room the entire mirror-work would twinkle like a night sky laden with stars. One cannot help but bow down his head in respect of those master artisans who reached the tip of artistic excellence.
The excellent example of artistic mastery met the cold, callous attitude of Government. During the decade of 70 when this fine example of artistic dexterity was deteriorating no government body took note and the result was obvious. It was later restored and renovated, a process that still keeps on going with several gaps. But where can we find such artists and master craftsmen who can match the natural skills of Royal era?
Sukh Niwas is another building facing Jai Mandir and welcomes the guests with a Sandalwood door beautifully decorated with intricate designs made with marble inlay work. A distinct style of designing is expressed by perforations presenting different shapes upon close observation
The building was used by the King and queen as a summer-residence to beat the extremities of weather during summer. One of the most prominent techniques to observe here is piped water supply traversing the building that resulted in cool breeze even in high temperatures. The technique lies in mapping and design of the canal that resulted in supply of cool air throughout the key locations of the palace.
Another “aesthetic magic” here is Magic Flower, a beautiful fresco that presents a different shape each time you view it from a different aspect. Simply speaking it is a flower with two butterflies hovering over it. But if you will hide a specific portion of the panel you can view different shapes each time: a lotus, fish tail, and elephant trunk, and hooded cobra, cob of corn, lion’s tail and scorpion.
The fort was completed over several decades and one can clearly see the different schools of architecture that reflect various contemporary trends during which the specific buildings were built. In the south of the courtyard the oldest part of the fort is located. This palace took as many as 20+ years to be completed.
Built by Mirza raja JaiSingh, this garden is well-designed to showcase the best scenery of nature. It was built during Mughal era and is patterned after Chahar Bagh of Mughal Garden in a hexagonal design. The star shaped pool in the garden is the most prominent sight here. It has a fountain at the centre. The water supply for the garden is met through the canals flowing from Sukh Niwas. Chini Khana Niches, the cascade channels originating from the terrace of Jai Mandir is also a prominent source of water supply to the garden.
To access the palace from the west one needs to enter through Tripolia gate. It has three openings: Jaleb Chowk, Mansingh Palace and Zenana Deorhi
The private quarters in the palace premises can be accessed through Singh Dwar. Singh in native language means lion and the name suggests the strength and prominence due to its importance as an entry to the private premises.
Highly decorated with beautiful frescoes, this door was built during the reign of Sawai Jai Singh (1699-1743). It has a strategically designed zigzag alignment to discourage enemies from intruding easily into the fort