Amer Fort: A historical window to the city of Jaipur

The Amber or Amer Fort was built by Raja Man Singh in the 16th century and completed by Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th Century AD. The Fort which is situated in Jaipur, Rajasthan was completed within two centuries by consistence efforts of three consequent kings following Raja Man Singh. Set on a rocky hill above the Maohta lake, the Fort is built on both Hindu and Mughal architectural background, with temples, gates, palaces and other structures. The materials used in the construction of the fort are marble and yellow sandstone.

The fort is divided into four divisions called courtyards. Some major buildings of the fort are : Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khaas, Ganesh Pol, Jaleb Chowk, Singha Pol, Jai Mandir, Yash Mandir, Sukh Mandir, Sheesh Mahal, Suhag Mandir, Shila Devi Temple, Bhool Bhulaiya, and Zanana Dyodhi (women’s apartments) .

The main entrance to the fort was built by Sawai Jain Singh II. This entrance gate facing the east is called Suraj Pol or Sun Gate and leads to the first courtyard Jalebi Chowk. Here the armies held victory parades under the commander called Fauj Bakshi. Also, towards the right side of Jalebi Chowk, Sila Devi temple is situated, a temple dedicated to goddess Kali. Two large silver lions guard the entrance to the Temple, known for its imposing silver doors decorated with floral reliefs.

A stairway connects the first courtyard with the second courtyard, where in the latter Diwan-i- aam or the public hall can be found. There are 27 evenly divided columns situated on a raised platform each having an elephant-shaped capital. The Diwan-e-Khas is also located here for the meetings of king with people of the court, ambassadors, and other royal guests.

Another gate leading to the Maharajas palaces is called Ganesh Pol. This is the entrance gate to the third courtyard where royal families and their attendants lived. The Ganesh Pol is decorated with mosaic along with other sculptures. Above the gate is the Suhag Mandir where royal ladies used to worship.

The two important buildings built in this courtyard are Jai Mandir and Sukh Niwas, demarcated by a beautiful garden.

The Jai Mandir  built by Raja Man Singh in 1727 is highly decorated with colourful mirrors covering its walls and convex-shaped ceilings. For its intricate mirror decoration the Jai mandir is also known as Sheesh Mahal.

The entrance door of Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mahal  is made of sandalwood.  With high technical expertise the architects of this palace has built a cool environment to live-in against the harsh heat of Rajasthan. Also,  on the marble pillars one can find a flower having seven design patterns often termed as a magic flower. The seven designs on the flower are : fish tail, hooded cobra , lion’s tail,  scorpion ,lotus, elephant trunk, cob of corn.

Another important part of the fort is the palace of Man Singh I. The palace was built in 1599. Baradari is the pavilion in the centre of the palace. The rooms are decorated with colourful tiles. the pavilion is surrounded by small rooms with individual balconies.

The main garden inside the fort is built in the Mughal style which is hexagonal in shape. It was Raja Jai Singh (1623-1668) who implemented the construction of the garden.

The entrance gate from the western side of the fort is called Tripolia Gate. The characteristic of this gate is that it opens in three directions, the Jalebi Chowk, Man Singh Palace and Zenana Deorhi and hence is called Tripolia Gate.

Another important gate leading to the private chambers in the fort premises is called lion gate or Singha Pol. The gate is believed to be the strongest made compared to rest of the structures. On the outer side of the gate intricately carved marble frescoes depicting the Rajputs’ hunting adventures are made.