India is a country with an interesting history and many dynasties that have left an impression on this very land. There are times that I wish I could get acquainted with history in person by visiting the various monuments, forts and palaces, castles and lands that have an indelible mark in history. Though I may not be able to visit all of them but seeing one of them was truly a beautiful experience. Amer Fort in Jaipur is one such historical landmark of the state and country that attracts tourists from far and wide to experience the royalty that still encompasses this beautiful palace. I had an exquisite opportunity to visit the very realms of the fort along with my family that took me back to the time where the Kings ruled and the Queens enjoyed the luxury of a palace. Amer Fort was originally known as Ajmer fort and over the years the name changed to its present state.
It is surrounded by an artificial lake with a beautiful Garden in the middle of it. The exquisite carvings of the palace and a perfect mix of architecture from Indo-Muslim era is a piece to enjoy. Once you enter the fort, you will be taken from the Moon Gate which was reserved for Queens to enter from and the other side is Sun Gate which was reserved for the Kings to enter from. Though the gates are identical however its significance is far too intriguing. Once inside the fort, you are greeted with a beautiful courtyard harbouring many chambers that were once reserved for royal guests and acquaintances.
We then started taking a walk around the palace premise and were quickly brought upon the King and Queen Chambers. This very fort was completed by three generations of Kings – Man Singh, Sawai Jai Singh 1 and Sawai Jai Singh 2. Though palace is symmetrical in built but one can see glimpses of the taste of these three kings in its architecture. While touring the chambers of the Kings and Queens we learnt that the King has 12 Queens and about 222 Harems or Mistresses whose mention in history is obviously unknown. Each of the queens had their individual chambers with a complete living area, bedroom, Kitchen and bathing areas. Another interesting aspect about these chambers was that they were located in one courtyard and in line with each other. Though there must have been some animosity amongst the queens however they seemed to have stayed together in harmony. Each of the Queens chambers was guarded by a Guard every night so that the King could visit and spend the night with any Queen he desired without any knowledge to the other.
Once we finished looking at the chambers we were taken to the Sheesh Mahal or the Chambers of Glass where an entire structure is made of glass of different colours and it still shines in Moon light and Sun light. Our guide gave us an insightful tour of the palace and also showed how the light reflected light. It looked absolutely like little twinkling stars. Though the main area is cordoned off for tourists but a glimpse of it around was more than enough to give us an idea of how it actually looks.
The thick interiors and carvings of marble and beautiful frescoes on the walls, gates and pillars of the Palace are worth watching and feeling. The Palace exudes every bit of royalty even today. The best aspect of the palace is that even during those times the kings maintained a high standard of Hygiene with full ventilation and drainage system and recycling system that ensured nothing was wasted and every natural resource was utilised and maintained in a proper manner.
The Palace is surrounded by a 12 km long wall which resembles the Great Wall of China but only shorter. You can also get an opportunity to view the Jaigarh Fort which is currently the Army Headquarters, from the premise of Amer Fort. After touring and clicking innumerable snaps of the Palace and its surrounding we started our descent down towards our Jeep and were caught in awe by a typical snake charmer. I personally have never seen a Snake Charmer before, so this was a beautiful experience to see a snake live and to get an opportunity to touch it too! It felt eecky but it was definitely a worth it. After that we took our daughter to show a traditional Puppet show with traditional music humming in the background and the puppets being moved so gracefully around. My daughter was super excited and ended up buying two puppets as souvenirs too 🙂
Post this we proceeded to Jal Mahal en route home and were astounded by the way the Palace was constructed and its placement in the middle of the artificial lake. The aura around it is truly astounding. So in case you are planning a trip to Jaipur, you must visit a these beautiful places and many others!