Amber Palace built in 16th century by Maharaja Man Singh, it sprawls on the hillside. The Amber Fort, set among rugged hills, is a fascinating Hindu architecture. It was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, before the capital was shifted in the plains to present day Jaipur. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Sawai Jai Singh I. Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthan fort palace with beautiful gardens, magnificent gateways, courtyards, pavilions, a glittering chamber of inlaid mirrors, lots of carved marble and inlay work. The Amber fort is built in sandstone and white marble; the palace complex has very interesting apartments.
Amber is a reflection of the glorious past of the Kachwaha Dynasty that ruled over this region from 12th to 18th century. The old township of Amber lies at the foothills of the palace and has an old world charm. It surprises the visitors with the delicate work of the artistic paradise that lies at the heart of the fort, since the latter is surrounded by the rugged and forbidding fortification walls. This place vibrates with its legendry past.
The highlight of the palace is the Seesh Mahal, a palace known for its craftsmanship in mirrors. Even the interior wall of the palace depicts expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. In the foreground is the Maota Lake, providing a breathtaking look. Painted scenes of hunting and war adorn the walls with precious stones and mirrors set into the plaster. The fort can be divided into four segments and there are two ways of reaching — one is by climbing the daunting flight of steps and the other is by riding on elephant back through the expansive passageway.
The history of the Amber Palace goes back seven centuries; some of the earlier structures are in ruins. However, those built in the 16th century and afterwards are still in excellent shape. The Rajputs who had apparently won a small structure passed on by Meena tribes, later on renovated it to its present status - the grand Amber Palace. Thus, Amber became the ancient capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs until Sawai Jai Singh II moved down the hill to his newly created capital, Jaipur. The Kachchwaha belonged to the Kshatriya, or the warrior caste of Hindus, but they traced their origins back to the sun, via Kusa who the twin son of the god Rama.
This palace served as the capital for the Maharajas of this region, until Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh felt that the time was right to start a new city, which he named after himself - Jaipur.
Shila Devi Temple
Kali Temple, which is also known as Shila Devi Temple, forms the part of the Fort. It is renowned for its glorious past, huge silver lions and silver doors. The Hall of Public Audiences, Diwan-I-Aam is a pavilion with double row of columns.
Ganesh Pol, another feature of the Palace, directs the way to the inhabited apartments of the King. The Hall of Victory, Jai Mandir has a stunning ceiling comprised of mirror work and an inlaid panel. The Fort has numerous other halls and pavilions with their own specific attraction.
In the second courtyard of the fort, is situated the Diwan-e-aam, hall of public audience. In this hall, the king received his subjects and listened to their problems. The hall has a lattice gallery and pavilion having elephant shaped columns
Behind the exquisite Ganesh Pol, a gate, are the residential apartments of the Maharaja. Amongst them, is the Jai Mandir, the hall of victory. It is known for its inlaid panel and dazzling mirror ceiling.
Sukh Niwas was the pleasurable residence of the Maharaja. For the purpose of cooling the palace, a channel for water flow was laid in the palace. The palace also has an ivory inlaid sandalwood door.
The fourth courtyard houses Zenana, the palace of the women. A common corridor connects all the rooms of the palace. This was done to provide privacy to the Maharaja while visiting his Queens.
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