A friend once told me that she was a little disappointed with her Jaipur trip because it was not what she had expected. To her, Jaipur looked similar to other Indian cities with lots of buildings, malls, markets, traffic, chaos etc when what she wanted to see was desert, palaces, camels, and locals clad in colorful traditional clothing.
The only place in Jaipur that actually made her feel like being in Rajasthan was the Amer Fort. Though I do not fully agree with her, I understood what she meant.
Why should you visit Amer Fort?
The majestic Amer Fort is located on a hill far away from the city and perhaps that’s the reason it still actually looks like a place from a bygone era. Amer Fort is one of the three famous forts located in Jaipur- Jaigarh, Nahargarh and Amer Fort. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in the year 2013 and it is one of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Many bollywood movies have been shot in the Amer Fort like Jodha Akbar, Bajirao Mastani, and Manikarnika.
The facade of the Amer Fort is quite captivating and I was spellbound with its magnificence even before I set my foot inside. Amer Fort is made up of red sandstone and marble but the outer walls have been plastered and painted in yellow color.
Perched high on a hill, I could see the long paved way that we had to walk before having a closer look at this beauty. One can take an elephant ride, jeep or just walk. We chose to walk up the hill.
A sweet melodious music reached my ears and started looking around. Nearby, a man was playing some traditional musical instrument and some hawkers were selling various items.
Kesar Kyari and Maota Lake
Before entering the Amer Fort, we saw a garden that is called Kesar Kyari which is beautifully set up in the Maota Lake. It is said that there was a plan to grow kesar in these gardens. Considering the kind of climate needed to grow kesar, this seems like an over ambitious project. Kesar is a very expensive spice that grows in cold places like Kashmir in India. Though these Mughal style gardens do look attractive.
The fort was built by Maharaja Man Singh I in the 16th century. The construction of the fort was completed under the rule of Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th century.
Entry Gates to Amer Fort
Suraj Pol and Chand Pol are the two entrance gates of the Fort. Suraj Pol is on the eastern side and Chand Pol is on the western side. Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate is the main entrance to the fort.
This is the huge primary courtyard of the fort which was used as a place for assembly of the soldiers. A temple dedicated to a Hindu goddess is located in the fort premises, known as Shila Mata Ka Mandir.
I smiled looking at a group of school students having fun and clicking pictures. A fun way to learn, explore and have some good time with friends outside classrooms.
Moving on, we entered another courtyard that houses the Diwan-E-Aam or the Hall of Public Audience. This is the court where the king used to give an audience to the public and meet his subjects and officials. Festivities and celebrations on special occasions were held here.
Red sandstone and marble has been used to construct this hall. The detailed carvings and patterns on the pillars and walls here exhibit the mix of the Mughal and Rajput architecture.
Hamman (Turkish Bath)
I was surprised to see Hammam (Turkish Bath) located in this area of the palace. It was not built near the private palace but then earlier Kings used such places to relax and also socialise with other special guests. There is a passage that links Hamman to the Sheesh Mahal.
Ganesh Pol and Sheesh Mahal
Next is a beautifully ornamented gate called Ganesh Pol that leads to the next courtyard. I loved this colorful gate that is decorated with designs of flowers, petals, vines etc. Entering this gate we moved towards the Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors.
An interesting story that I heard behind the creation of this mesmerizing palace is that the queen wanted to sleep under the stars but the king didn’t want his queen to sleep outside in the open. So, he got this palace made where a single lighted candle or lamp would reflect in the innumerable mirrors like stars all around at night.
With thousands of small mirrors on the walls and roof, this palace does look amazing.
Located nearby is Sukh Mandir- Summer Palace where the royal family used to spend the hot summers. The place has beautiful artistically decorated walls. A large hall with two rooms on the side overlooked the garden.A special water system was installed to keep this place cool.
Doors of these rooms were made up of sandalwood with ivory inlay work. Near to this palace is placed a Paalki in a showcase that was used by the queen to move around in palace or nearby. Peepal leaf pattern was frequently used on the walls. I noticed it at many places here.
It is said that there were 12 queens of Raja Man Singh who lived in the Zanana palace. This is located in a separate part of the fort. Only women from the royal family lived here with their maids.
Quarters for the servants and maids are also located here. It is said that all the chambers of the queens were constructed in a way that the King could visit anyone he wished without being seen by the others.
Here we saw the tunnel which connects the Amer Fort with the Jaigarh Fort. The tunnel is accessible from Man Singh Palace, Zenana Deorhi, and Diwan-E-Khaas. It was built to be used as an escape route in case of any attack or similar emergency.
Two huge vessels are placed in the courtyard that were used for cooking. I also saw a vessel that was used to keep water cool during summers. It was filled with water and then buried down in soil.
An Art Gallery is located on the way towards the exit that houses pieces made by the local artisans that are available for sale. I found the stuff quite expensive.
We now moved towards the exit as this was it!
It took us about 2 hours to visit the whole fort and we did feel exhausted by walking so much.
Tips to make your Trip Special
- Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved.
- If you don’t mind spending on some royal fine dining experience, you can visit 1135 AD Amer Restaurant which is located in the fort premises. We skipped it as we wanted to try the local street food and specialties of Jaipur.
- If you have to choose only one place to visit in Jaipur or don’t have much time, I’d strongly recommend visiting Amer Fort.
Both are correct. The fort is known as Amer Fort and Amber Fort and Amer Ka Qila.
Amer Fort is easily accessible from Jaipur city. It is located outside Jaipur city about 11 Kms away from the city centre. You can take local buses, auto or taxi. Uber and Ola are also available.
October to February is the best time to visit Amer Fort when the weather is cooler compared to the rest of the year. If you want to avoid crowds, I would suggest you visit early in the morning and avoid afternoon time. About two hours are sufficient to visit Amer Fort.
Amer Fort is open everyday from 8 AM to 5.30 PM during the day and 6.30 PM to 9.30 PM for night tourism.
Amer Fort is illuminated and opened at night for visitors. If you want to see it in a different light, then you can choose to visit it between 6.30 PM to 9.30 PM.
Entry tickets to Amer Fort during the day cost INR 100 for Indians, INR 500 for foreigners, INR 10 for Indian students with valid student ID Card. Free entry for children under the age of 7.
Tickets for night cost INR 100 for Indians and foreigners.
If you are interested in visiting other major tourist attractions in Jaipur, a composite entry ticket can be purchased which is a very economical option.
Light and Sound show is held every evening that showcases the history of the Amer Fort. Tickets for this cost INR 295 per person.