Amber Fort, pronounced ä-mêr fort and also written as Amer Fort, is a sixteenth century fort located in the hilly town of Amer, about 11 kilometers from the city of Jaipur. Amber Fort was established by the Meenas rulers in the eleventh century. The present day fort was built by Raja Man Singh, the Kacchwaha King of Amber and a celebrated Navratna (one of the nine jewels) in the court of Mughal emperor Akbar, in 1592. It was expanded by later rulers, notably Raja Jai Singh I, and later on by his successors till the time the capital shifted to Jaipur in 1727. Amber Fort is a popular tourist attraction, famous for splendid architecture and beautiful art designs at various parts of the fort. Amber Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A visit to the Amber Fort starts with the Jaleb Chowk, a large rectangular courtyard, with two main gates on opposite sides. The main gate is the Suraj Pole, the Sun Gate. The Chand Pole, the Moon Gate, is on the opposite side. If one enters from the Suraj Pole, there are shops on the left side. On the right side is the highly revered temple of goddess, Shila Devi. Also, on the right side is the Singh Pol, a gateway leading to the rest of the fort.
Diwan-I-Am, the Hall of Public Audiences
As the name suggests, Diwan-I-Am is the place, where the king would meet meet the common man. Diwan-i-Am is a big hall supported by columns. Built in sandstone and marble, it gives a picture of strength. This is place where celebrations took place after a victory in a battle or celebrations for festivals, like Dussherra. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II converted the rear part of the hall into a billiards room.
Ganesha Pol, the main gateway
The main gateway to the palaces is named after Lord Ganesha and is called Ganesh Pol or Ganesh Gate. The big gate with elaborate art work presents a breathtaking view. The arches are heavily decorated and there is fine latticework or jalis. The top of the gateway has a beautiful canopy or chattri and there are two domes, one on each side of the canopy. One can go inside and reach the top and see the canopy and the domes closely as shown in the pictures below.
Diwan-I-Khas and Sheesh Mahal
Diwan-I-Khas was the Hall of Private audiences, the place where the king would meet special dignitaries. It was contructed during the reign of Mirza Raja Jai Singh I, who ruled during 1621-1667. For this reason, Diwan-I-Khas is also called Jai Mandir. Diwan-I-Khas is decorated with fine glass work, and for this reason, it is also called Sheesh Mahal, or the Glass Palace.
Sukh Niwas, or the Palace of Pleasure is located just opposite to the Diwan-I-Khas. In front of Sukh Niwas is a beautiful garden, made in the style of charbagh. The entry to Sukh Niwas is through a sandalwood door. There is an open channel of water in this palace to keep the atmosphere cool,
Raja Man Singh Palace
There is the palace of Raja Man Singh, which was completed in 1599. In the courtyard in front of the palace, there is a beautiful pavilion called Baradari.
Amber Fort is close to the Maota Lake. There is a nice garden at the lake and as seen from the higher floors of the fort, the garden makes a great view.