Amer is a small town located roughly 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) away from the beautiful ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Since 967 AD, Amer has been a flourishing area. It is here where you will find picturesque scenes, such as mountains and a peaceful lake which has, for decades, attracted many travelers. One of the most visited places throughout Amer is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Amer Fort (Amber Fort), which was captured by the Kachwaha clan of Rajputs roughly around 1037 AD. However, there is still so much to see of this once thriving fort and let’s take a look at some of them below.
When you lay your eyes upon the stunning architecture of Amer Fort, your breath is surely going to be taken away. Most of the structure that you see before you is, in fact, the palace that was built by Raja (King) Man Singh who ruled here from 1590 to 1614 AD. In addition to being known as Amer Fort, this historical site is also widely known as the Amer Palace due to the Rajpur Maharajas (Great Kings) who lived here with their families. You’ll notice the grand Ganesh (Hindu deity also known as Ganesha) Gate at the palace’s entrance, and nearby there is a temple that is dedicated to Sila Devi (a goddess of the Chaitanya cult) that was a gift to Raja Man Singh after he defeated the Raja of Jessore, Bengal in the year 1604; you can now find this city located in Bangladesh.
Once you enter, you will notice the red and pale yellow colored sandstone as well as the white marble that make up the aesthetically pleasing four level façade.
The first level is the Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience), this is where the King would meet with his people to discuss current affairs.
The second is the Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), where the King would make plans and meet with other Kings, along with his army commanders and his generals to plan their war strategies.
The third level is known as Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), which is fully adorned with glass panels and mirrors that cover the ceiling. It will definitely remind you of the inside of an antique jewelry box.
The fourth level is known as Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure) and is quite fascinating due to the aspect that a cooler climate is actually created here from the blowing winds coming over the water cascade within the palace.
There are also four courtyards within each floor where you can view amazing arches that have been decorated with frescoes, stunning mosaic artwork, and I cannot leave out the photo-worthy views of the surrounding mountains and the Maota Lake that will leave you in awe.
I do recommend that you wear good walking shoes, as you’ll have to trudge up to the fort from the main road, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes. There is also a golf cart that can bring you back down for about 300 INR (4.50 USD). Though, you may prefer the alternative method, which is to ride like royalty on an elephants’ back!
The elephants are very friendly and are used to having people ride them, so there is no need to be afraid. There is a basket, or seating area, on their backs that will be able to fit you as well as one other person. This is a great idea if you are traveling with children because this opportunity does not come around every day. If you’re worried about the safety of the animals, you will be thrilled to know that the conditions for these precious elephants have greatly improved! No longer are they forced to work all day, carrying up to four people at a time up this dreadful mountain. Now, they only carry two passengers for a total of five trips.
Once you do make it back down to the entrance, and if time allows for it you can also choose to explore Amer Fort’s neighbor, Jaigarh Fort.
Amer Fort is open daily from 8am until 5:30pm. It is best if you can arrive earlier because it can get pretty crowded throughout the day. The entrance fee for foreign travelers is 200 INR (3 USD), and 25 INR (0.38 USD) for Indian citizens. If you wish to ride on the back of an elephant, it is 900 INR (13.52) for two people. I do recommend that you hire a private guide, if possible, due to the lack of tourist signage throughout the vicinities.
There are guides usually out in the main courtyard before you’ve made your way to the ticket booth, who will most likely approach you first. The cost for this one hour tour is around 450 INR (6.76). There are restrooms located by the main entrance, and many wonderful, yet expensive, souvenir shops to purchase gifts, traditional snacks and treats, as well as just a bottle of water to cool down with after your journey.