Amber fort or Amer fort is a major attraction in the city of Amber. Amer fort is the living evidence of the fine fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture. Amber fort is a monument built with white marble and red sand stone and it was used as a palace, a strategic military bastion as well as an administrative headquarters. The inner walls of the Amber fort are decorated with paintings, carvings, full of mirror and stone settings. Once entered into the fort that seems to be a copy of Eden on earth. The fort depicts its magnificent dignity like a veil slipping from the face of a woman, full up with exquisite temples, medieval courtyards, gardens and enchanting pavilions. The interiors of Amber fort have an amazing arrangement of painted designs and its walls are adorned with complicated stone and mirror works. Amber fort has four sections and each section has a separate gate or courtyard. The first courtyard of the fort is bordered by amazing constructions Diwan-E-Aam built of Red sandstone and spectacular Ganesh Pol gate. The main gate of this fort is called as Suraj Pol and it leads to Jaleb Chowk. The Jaleb Chowk is the major courtyard providing entry to the flight of steps that lead to the palace. The fascinating Jaleb Chowk is the central courtyard and in the time of yore the champion royal armed forces were greeted here and presented their war booty. Further ahead in the second courtyard, an arrangement of walkways and good looking surroundings attract the tourists. There is Jas Mandir on one side and on the other side is the Sukh Nivas of second courtyard. In the third courtyard, there are few private chambers of queens with windows having netted screens so that the queens could see the happenings of the royal court in privacy. Amber fort also has remnants of its wealthy past and the oldest of ruins date back to the sixteenth century. There are two ways of arriving to the fort - one is by riding on elephant and another one is by climbing the daunting flight of steps.
The fort includes several magnificent attractions like Jai Mandir, Sheesh Mahal, and Shila Devi temple, Zenana, Diwan-I-Aam, Ganesh Pol and Sukh Nivas.
Jai Mandir and Sheesh Mahal:
Jai Mandir is also popularly known as Hall of victory. Jai Mandir is known for its glittering mirror ceiling and inlaid panel. This mirrored room in Jai Mandir is known as Sheesh Mahal which was used as the hall of private meeting of the King. Sheesh Mahal is stuffed with ornate mosaics, glass embellishments and tinted mirrors all of which make it as a stunning place. The ceilings and walls of the Jai Mandir are beautifully covered with mirrors and these mirrors light up the hall with reflections. The Sheesh Mahal was constructed by Raja Jai Singh during 1623 AD and mainly he used this hall for meeting guests. All the mirrors of Sheesh Mahal were imported from Belgium. Sheesh Mahal is one of the most beautiful and rare places among the world recognized Indian monuments.
Shila Devi temple:
Shila Devi or Kali Mata temple is located at the entrance of Amber fort. There is a vertical walkway and a narrow stairway just before the entrance of the fort that leads to Kali temple. Shila Devi temple is adorned with silver lions on doors.
As per the legend, Maharaja Man Singh-I had prayed to the goddess Kali Mata to ensure his victory over the Bengal rulers. The goddess Kali Mata believed to have appeared in his dreams and asked him to retrieve her idol from the sea near Jessore (Now it is in Bangladesh) and enshrine the idol in a proper temple. The maharaja Man Singh-I conquered his enemies and as per the orders of Kali Mata retrieved the statue and placed it in Amber fort.
Zenana is the women’s palace located in the fourth courtyard of Amber fort. Zenana has an exclusive chambers or enclosures that are connected by a general corridor. Zenana is smartly designed to provide greatest privacy and solitude to the Maharaja’s queens.
Diwan-I-Aam (Hall of Public Audiences):
Diwan-I-Aam also popularly known as Hall of public audience, built by Mirza Raja Jai Singh is located in the second courtyard of Amber fort. The Maharaja used this hall to hear public petitions. Diwan-I-Aam hall was built in the shape of a pavilion and it has a double row of columns, each carved in an elephant shape. During 19th century Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II converted the rear portion of Diwan-I-Aam into a billiard room.
Ganesh Pol is an impressive and huge gateway covered with frescos, and it is situated to the south of Diwan-I-Aam. Ganesh Pol has been painted with emblematic Rajasthani ornamentation and it leads to the Charbagh (A complete Persian style of Garden layout). This was constructed during Mirza Raja Jai Singh regime.
Sukh Nivas is also called as Pleasure residence of Kings. It is located on the other side of the Jai Mandir. Sukh Nivas is decorated with an ivory inlaid sandalwood door.