Amber Fort

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15 travelers at this place:

  • Day18

    Amber Fort

    February 1 in India ⋅ 🌫 16 °C

    Our priority for today was the main World Heritage site here in Jaipur: the Amber Fort. It's part of the "Hill Forts of Rajasthan" serial site, which covers a total of six hill forts across Rajasthan (India's western desert state bordering Pakistan). The Amber Fort is the largest, most interesting, and closest to a major city, so it was kind of a no-brainer really!

    Took our time with a leisurely breakfast and then grabbed an Uber for the 15km trip out of town to the fort. It's located high up on a hill, and really the "fort" designation is a bit of a misnomer - it's really a palace. It mostly dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, built by the Rajas who ruled the area during that time. It was one of their main palaces although they had several others.

    Long walk up to the main gate, dodging the elephants which people ride up to the top. Always disappointing to encounter that, as elephant riding is a pretty awful practice. That said, I think the elephants are treated better these days than in the past, but "breaking" an elephant so it allows people on its back is still pretty cruel. Oh well, not much I can do about it.

    We spent a couple of hours wandering around the fort, checking out the various palaces and rooms. Lots of it was still in great condition, as it was used right up until the British occupation began in the 19th century. Beautiful to see all of the Mughal influence as well, with its Persian-style latticework, geometry and other decoration. Lots of good photo opportunities.

    One thing we both noticed as well is that although the sites we've been to are crowded, it's almost entirely Indian tourists. There's certainly foreigners around, but I'd say 95% of the visitors are domestic. Entry is pretty cheap for them (I think we paid 550 rupees each/$11, while it's just 50 rupees for locals), so it's not surprising to find a lot of locals. And there are lots of them!

    We were basically done with the Fort by early afternoon, so we got another Uber back into town and had thali plates for lunch at the same restaurant as yesterday. Spent the rest of the afternoon on the rooftop of our hotel, using laptops and relaxing.
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  • Day11

    Amber Fort

    November 28, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌫 68 °F

    Akram, the same guide we used in Delhi, picked us up at 9am to take us on a full day tour of Jaipur. It was a very packed day of learning both the history of Jaipur (and by proxy Northern India) and modern Indian politics.

    We started out by driving into old town Jaipur, the part that is famously known as the Pink City. Even though it's not pink at all! The nickname comes from when Prince Albert visited Jaipur in 1877 and one if his aides wrote down that the old town was pink and the name just stuck. Maybe he was colorblind? Anyway, the color is actually terra cotta. The whole old town is uniformly this color, with seven richly decorated gates all around. Quite beautiful.

    We took a quick spot just to take a picture of the facade of Hawal Mahal (the Wind Palace), but more on this in a later post. Our main destination for the morning was the Amer Fort.

    The Amber Fort is named from the city of Amber, which itself is believed to be named for the Hindu goddess Amba (coincidentally its color is somewhat in the realm of amber). The fort and wall around it was initially built in the 12th century, and the wall grew to encircle the entire valley, and is quite reminiscent of the Great Wall of China (although obviously several thousand miles shorter and much later in history). Wikipedia refers to this as the Amer Fort in Amer, but all local references we've seen say Amber.

    While the fort was initially built in the 12th century, a new, modern, palatial expansion was began by Man Singh at the end of the 16th century. Turns out that Man Singh was the general of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Rajasthan (the state of which Jaipur is the capital) was autonomous from the Mughals, but they had very close relations (two Rajasthani princesses married Mughals). Man Singh didn't live to see the palace completed, so work was continued by his descendents... including his grandson, Jai Singh I, who also was a general for the Mughals.

    The fort is an interesting mix of Persian, Mughul, and local Rajasthani architecture. For instance, some columns had Islamic detail bases (flowers and geometry) but Hindu tops (eplehants). It's called a fort, but it served no military purpose - there was an actual military fort nearby - it was mainly a palace.

    The fort contained multiple beautiful gardens in the Persian style, and had two main gates. The sun gate (facing east) was reserved for the royals, who actually typically entered on elephant back. In fact, many tourists take that route today. We just walked, and took pictures of the elephants instead, many of which were elaborately decorated and even had painted toenails! The moon gate (facing west) was for commoners to enter to petition and see the royals.

    The main section of the palace had two main royal residences and was ingeniously laid out. The winter palace was on the east side and mirrored - so as to capture the maximum amount of heat from the sun. We chuckled as our guide described temperatures falling as low as 9 degrees celcius (48°F). Must be nice. On the other hand, in the summer, temperatures can reach an absurd 47 degrees celcius (117°F) - so the summer palace was constructed facing west, which was a direction blocked by a hill so it got far less sunlight. Additionally, it was all white marble, and had a built in air conditioning system and water cooling. High tech for the 17th century!

    In the back of the fort were 12 distinct apartments for Man Singh's 12 wives. They were constructed in such a way to ensure that none of the wives knew which one he was visiting. Sneaky sneaky. Throughout the fort were many screen windows - windows with hexagonal open tiles so that the wives could peek out at the commoners without being seen, since they weren't actually allowed to venture out much.

    After several hundred years of rule over Amber, one ruler, Jai Singh II, decided that he had much grander ambitions. He decided he needed to build his own city, which he naturally named after himself: Jai's City, or Jaipur. The city be built is the part we now call the Pink City - which was founded in 1727. But this man was also interested in a lot of other things, like math and astronomy and even urban planning - so the city is carefully designed and laid out on a symmetric grid. He even was very careful to place specific occupations at specific points. There is a block for bangle creators, and a block for cloth weavers, and so forth. He also built his own astronomical observatory (see next post).

    We ended up spending about 3 hours at the Amber Fort, and learned an enormous amount about it - of which this post is just a fraction. But it was a great place to visit.
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  • Day7

    Elephant ride

    July 6, 2017 in India ⋅ ⛅ 93 °F

    Up early this morning to visit Amber Fort and an elephant ride up the hill to the palace. Leila's face shows how excited she was! Horrendously touristy thing to do, but so atmospheric arriving in the fort to sound of Indian drums and music.

  • Day15

    Jaipur / Amer fort

    August 4, 2017 in India ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    After a quick spin around the Pink city yesterday we decided it was time to go up to the hills of Jaipur to visit Amer fort as well as a few temples and tombs. Apparently there are more temples than toilets in India.

  • Day6

    Jaipur Day 2

    February 10 in India ⋅ 🌫 18 °C

    Got up early for breakfast
    Stuck to toast and banana and chai masala
    Roisin came to us and we got an uber to the monkey temple
    Loads and loads and loads of monkeys
    One jumped on Lauren's head
    Lots of temples
    Was blessed - bindi, bracelet (right hand not married) and perfume rubbed on us
    Meabh got hit was peacock duster on head
    V funny
    Marianne was scared
    Sacred bath for people to wash in
    Then went to jal Mahal
    Kind of underwhelming
    Palace on water
    Asked for photo and everyone was staring
    Went to Hawk view for lunch
    Amazing views
    Indian wedding - glamourous horses walking around, men dancing
    Had beer finally wooo
    Roisin had cranberry breeza
    Semi lit going to Amber Fort
    Walked up the stairs followed by creepy men the whole way
    V annoying
    Made it to the top and then went inside for the light show which was actually back outside
    Light show was kinda shit and it was v cold
    Lauren and I in boot of Tuk Tuk
    Prince of jaipur Samwarth Kawasali replied and gave us recommendations for tonight so went to skyfall
    Also said he would have taken us out but was visiting his mother's home town
    It was v fancy but not very expensive
    Food was kinda average
    He called up place to see if it was open but it was kinda late and we still needed to pack so ended up just going home
    Said our farewells to Roisin 💔
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  • Day58

    Amber Fort, Jaipur

    August 3, 2015 in India ⋅ 🌫 26 °C

    (Amber town 1037 c.e.) Within Amber Fort are Mirror Palace (Sheesh Mahal) and Man Singh Palace, among other smaller palaces, coronation rooms, expansive halls, and ancient courtyards.

  • Day64

    ארמון אמבר

    March 18, 2016 in India ⋅ 🌫 30 °C

    גייפור, מבצר מרשים עם ארמון וגנים

  • Day29

    Jaipur, Elefantendorf (23.03.)

    March 23, 2016 in India ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    Jaipur ist dafür bekannt, dass man hier Elefanten hautnah erleben kann. Zum Beispiel bietet sich die Gelegenheit, auf einem Elefanten den steilen Anstieg zum Amber Fort hochzureiten. Man kann aber auch in ein Elefantendorf oder -reservat gehen und dort Zeit mit den Tieren verbringen.
    Morgens sind wir zum Amber Fort gefahren und schon von weitem sah man, dass die Tiere es nicht wirklich genießen können, sich und die Touristen auf ihrem Rücken die enge Straße dort hoch zu schleppen. Zwar gibt es ein Gesetz, nach dem jeder Dickhäuter diese Tortur nur dreimal täglich aufgebürdet bekommen darf, wir sind aber trotzdem lieber zu Fuß gegangen.
    Das Fort war halt ein Fort. Wir hatten keine Lust, uns von noch einem Audioguide erklären zu lassen, wann dieses hier angegriffen oder erobert wurde (diese Details vergisst man eh schnell wieder, vor allem bei der Fülle an Forts, die wir in den letzten Tagen besucht haben…) und sind dann relativ schnell wieder runter, weil’s an diesem Tag brütend heiß zu werden schien.
    Wir teilten Dil dann mit, dass wir gerne Elefanten sehen würden und er brachte uns nach einem kurzen Abstecher zu einem hübschen Tempel dann zu einem Ort, an dem 17 Elefanten gehalten und von Touristen gebucht werden können. Man hat die Möglichkeit, die Sprache zu lernen (?), zu reiten, auf ihnen zu malen (?!) und einfach nur zu füttern. Wir wollten nur reiten und füttern und vielleicht ein wenig Zeit dort verbringen. Im Nachhinein hätten wir uns das Reiten lieber gespart und werden es auch wohl nicht noch einmal machen. Man klettert über den Rüssel auf das Tier drauf und hält sich dabei an den Ohren fest. Ok, Elefantenohren sind echt groß und fest, aber ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass es angenehm ist, wenn man daran zieht, sei es auch von den Größenverhältnissen her noch so schwach. Als wir dann drauf saßen, sahen wir nicht mehr viel von unserer Elefantendame, die übrigens Laxmi hieß, und ritten einmal ums Gelände. Jedes Mal, wenn sie von den Sträuchern am Rand naschen wollte, wurde sie angehalten, doch bitte weiter zu laufen. Nicht mit Gewalt, aber schon mit Nachdruck. Beim dritten Mal sagten wir dem Führer, dass sie von uns gerne fressen könne, wir hätten Zeit und dann wurde sie auch gelassen.
    Zurück im Unterstand fütterten wir sie dann mit knapp 100 Bananen, was ziemlich cool war. Mal schnappte sie sich die Früchte mit dem Rüssel, mal legten wir sie direkt ins Maul. Dem Tier so nah zu sein war eine tolle Erfahrung. Obwohl wir direkt daneben standen, hatten wir niemals irgendwie Angst, platt getrampelt oder anderswie verletzt zu werden, weil sie eine sehr tiefe Ruhe ausstrahlte.
    Wir können das zwar nur laienhaft beurteilen, glauben aber, dass ein Tier, dem es schlecht geht, auch schlechter aussieht. Wir haben keine Narben gesehen oder Wunden an den Fußnägeln oder Beinen. Klar wäre es dem Tier lieber, in Freiheit zu leben. Aber ich glaube, für die Sensibilisierung der Menschen leisten solche Einrichtungen, ähnlich wie Zoos, einen wichtigen Beitrag.
    Nach einer Stunde wurde uns mitgeteilt, dass das von uns gebuchte Paket zu ende sei. Da uns im Vorfeld aber gesagt wurde, wir könnten den ganzen Tag bleiben, wenn wir wollen, blieben wir noch eineinhalb Stunden bei unserer großen neuen Freundin.

    Elefanten sind tolle Tiere und wir sind froh, dass sich selbst in Indien ein bisschen beim Tierschutz tut. Zum Beispiel findet seit zwei Jahren dank PETA beim Holi keine Elefantenparade mehr in Jaipur statt.
    Der Besuch bei den Elefanten war eine tolle Erfahrung. Beim nächsten Mal werden wir ein paar Sachen wohl anders machen, aber empfehlen kann man das auf jeden Fall.

    Bild 1&2: Lisa mit Laxmi
    Bild 3: Elefantenauge
    Bild 4: Ich mit Laxmi
    Bild 5&6: Weg hoch zum Amber Fort
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Amber Fort

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