This picturesque pavilion, known as Baradari, lies in the centre of the fourth courtyard of the palace, within the Zenana (Women's Quarters). It consists of a hypostyle hall with repeated polyfoil arches which an interesting photo subject especially with the shadows cast by the sun. In hot sunny weather, tourists take shelter in its shade.
The most opulent structure in Amber Fort is Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory), the two-floored white marble pavilion overlooking Aram Bagh (third courtyard garden). It was built by Jai Singh I in the 17th century and consists of three parts: the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of the Private Audience) on the ground floor, a hall named Sheesh Mahal (Glass Palace) adjacent to Diwan-i-Khas, and the Jas Mandir (Hall of Glory) on the upper floor. Behind the polyfoil arches of Jai Mandir lies the dazzling interior of the structure. The walls and ceilings of all three parts are entirely covered in inlaid glass mirror mosaics (hence the name "Glass Palace") and white marble bas-reliefs. All three parts were used by the Maharajas to receive their close subjects.
For more detailed photos of the decorations, check out the travelogue: "Amber Fort - Jai Mandir".
Adjacent to Diwan-i-Aam, this hypostyle hall of beautiful columns and polyfoil arches is known as Sattais Katcheri. It is where scribes once recorded the revenues of the state, while enjoying breathtaking views over the valley of Amber.
Much like other Indian palace fortresses, the Amber Fort possesses a Hall of the Public Audiences, Diwan-i-Aam, where the Maharaja received his subjects. The one here in Amber was built in the 17th century by Maharaja Jai Singh I in the middle of the second courtyard of the palace. Although it is of the typical layout for a Diwan-i-Aam, i.e. an open hypostyle hall or pavilion, its architecture and decoration are purely Hindu-style, rather than the customary Mughal style. The columns, capitals and arches are similar to those found in Hindu temples, rather than the polyfoil Islamic-style arches seen elsewhere, for example, column capitals are in the form of elephant heads.
The palace complex of Jaigarh occupies the northern section of the fortress. It was continually renovated and expanded over a period of 200 years while the fortress was in use. The complex contains temples, gardens, pavilions, royal apartments and even a puppet theatre! Although not as luxurious as the Amber Fort below, the architecture of the palace complex is nevertheless beautiful and makes good use of Mughal-style polyfoil arches.
For more photos, check out the travelogue: "Jaigarh - Arches of the Palace Complex."
Amber Fort is a very well visited tourist site and deserves to be so. The honey coloured fort/palace is situated on a hillside above the village Amber, 11km north of Jaipur.
Construction of Amber Fort begun in 1592 by Raja Man Singh and it was later extended to its present form by Jai Singh I.
The fort/palace is a good example of Rajput architecture and both Hindu and Muslim style of decoration can be found. Inside there are wonderful carvings, paintings and mirror work. There are several courtyards, gates and audience halls. There are the women’s quarters and the Maharaja´s quarters and temples.
Amber Fort is open every day of the week between 9.00 - 17.30. Admission for foreigners was Rs 150 (August 2010). An audio guide is not included in that price, but as I didn’t pay extra for one I don’t know how much it cost.
Jaigarh Fort, also called The Victory Fort, stands on the hill above Amber Fort. After visiting Amber Fort I walked the footpath up to Jaigarh. It is about 1km to walk, but it is also possible to go by car from another side. I was surprised that there were so much to see at Jaigarh Fort, it was larger than I thought. Approaching you can see a tall tower, the walls and battlement, but once inside you will see there are palaces, temples, an old cannon foundry and more. At one place there was a man showing a puppet show and there is also an Armoury Museum with armoury, coins and photographs of the royal kings. The view from the fort is great.
I was lucky to have my ticket from Jaipur City Palace still in my bag, because with such a ticket, which is less than two days, the admission to Jaigarh Fort is free. Otherwise it cost Rs 75 (August 2010). But I had to pay Rs 50 for taking photos.
The fort is open between 9.00 - 16.30.
There are many battlements around Amber. When I first arrived with the bus I saw the stairs up to the battlement on the opposite side of the road from Amber Fort. I thought it could be good to start there to get good views over the palace and the surroundings. On my way up the stairs I passed two school boys, otherwise there was no one else there. That was surprising as it is really worth the effort to climb the stairs. The views are amazing over Amber Fort and you can even see Jaipur in the distance. I visited during the rainy season so the hills were green and beautiful.
Anokhi Museum of Handprinting is situated in a beautifully restored mansion from the 16th century. The museum opened in 2005 and have excellent exhibitions about hand-block printing of textiles. There are both traditional and contemporary textiles on display and textiles made with different techniques. There are very informative signs in English and Hindu. There is a small workshop in the museum and when I came to the end of my tour a man demonstrated the block printing method and I got the small cloth he just printed.
When I visited I was the only customer. It is a lovely museum and should not be missed if you visit Amber.
The museum is open between 10.30 - 17.00 on Tuesdays - Saturdays and between 11.00 - 16.30 on Sundays. From the 1st of May to the 15th of July the museum is closed.
Admission was Rs 30 (August 2010), but I paid Rs 50 more to use the camera.
There is a gift shop and a café at the museum.
The old quarter of the town of Amber is dotted with numerous historic Hindu temples. I was fortunate enough to visit the magnificent Shri Jagat Siromani Temple, but had little time to explore the other ones. I have also found it difficult to locate information on the other temples. If you visit Amber with ample time, consider walking around the city and discovering these beautiful temples. Attached are a few examples.
The formidable Amber Palace Fort is the most important monument in Amber. It had been the residence of the Kachhawaha dynasty until 1727, when the new capital city Jaipur was built. The fort itself was built by Maharaja Man Singh I in 1592 on the ruins of an older 11th century fort. In the 17th century, under Maharaja Jai Singh I, the fort was heavily remodelled into the citadel that we see today. Although the ruling family moved to Jaipur's City Palace after 1727, they continued to visit the Amber Fort thereafter to pray in the family chapel, the Shila Devi Temple.
Structures within the fort are described individually further below on this page.
Driving from Jaipur north towards Amber, the road passes through a fortified gate, Ghati Darwazi, which signals the arrival into the old capital of the Kachhawaha dynasty. The gate is part of the mediaeval defensive walls that snake up and down the surrounding hills and enclose Amber.
Towering over the Amber Fort, Jaigarh - the "victory fort" - originated in the 11th century when the Kachhawaha dynasty first moved to this area. In the 17th century, Maharaha Jai Singh I rebuilt and refortified it to increase the defences over the Amber Palace below, but much of the fortress we see today is owed to the last renovation and expansion, which occurred under Jai Singh II in the 18th century. In addition to its defensive purposes, the fortress was used to manufacture weapons as it contained an important cannon foundry that supplied both the Rajput and Mughal armies. The world's largest cannon is on display at this fort (see attached photos). It also contains a royal palace, built and expanded over the life of the fortress, described below in a separate tip. Although the interior of Jaigarh is not nearly as interesting as the Amber Fort, the views are the best among any of the fortresses around Jaipur.
For additional photos, check out the travelogues: "Jaigarh - The Victory Fort" and "Jaigarh - Arches of the Palace Complex".
Also, see the "Off the Beaten Path" tip on a possible hike from Jaigarh down to Amber Fort.
For those with more time, the old quarter of Amber has a fascinating mix of ancient temples, narrow passages and old havelis (palaces). While many of these old palaces are well kept, some are simply crumbling. Attached are a few photos of old Amber and its architecture.
The oldest part of the Amber Fort, Zenana Deorhi, contains the women's apartments for the wives of the Maharaja. This section was the original royal palace built by Man Singh I when he constructed Amber Fort in 1592, but when Jai Singh I expanded the fort, it was turned into the women's quarters. It consists of a large courtyard (the fourth in the palace) surrounded by many individual apartments and a hammam. The largest apartment belonged to the principal wife of the Maharaja. The Zenana is not the best preserved part of the Amber Fort - at least when I visited in Feb 09 - but the beautiful architecture was still admirable. It contains beautiful lattice windows, chhatri balconies, and faded colourful frescoes. The main courtyard contains a pretty pavilion, known as the Baradari.