Fort Palace of Rajput

Information on Fort Palace of Rajput

Amber contains every ingredient to make it the classic romantic Rajasthan palace-fort. It was built by one raja and completed by another. Its forbidding, practical exterior belies a bejewelled interior whose richness reflects the nearby sumptuous court of the Mughal emperors.

The Kachchwaha story is a blend of myth, legend and history. For myth, there are the clan origins, which are traced to the sun. Then, the legends. One tells how, when the Kachchwahas took Amber from the Susawat Minas around 1150, the enemy infiltrated and persuaded them into drunkenness before butchering them wholesale. Then, historical reality. Once in power, the Kachchwahas kept Amber as their capital for six centuries and the loyal Minas became hereditary guards of their treasure. As for the city’s name, it may derive from Ambikishwara, a name for the god Shiva, or Amba Mata, goddess of earth and fertility, or, mundanely, from Ambarisha, king of Ayodhya. Also Visit – Same Day Agra Tour By Car

The romance of the setting easily gives credit to myth and fact. The view on arrival from Jaipur, through the narrow pass between the chits, is stage-set perfect. The stern, anonymous exterior of honey-coloured stone ramparts and terraces seems to grow out of the rugged hill. Defensive walls snake up the hills on all sides. Jaigarh Fort hovers like a fiercely protective eagle on the hill above. All is reflected in Maota Lake in the foreground, where fanners wash and cool their beloved buffalo, and white cranes stand decoratively by the shore. To complete the set, an elephant may plod along the road with a young mahout on top, its huge ears flapping, and a packed lunch of grasses rolled up in its trunk.

At the fort base, through an arch on the right, the elephants find their mates in their special elephant cafe. Their jobs are well organized. more than 40 elephants work in strict rotation, each a paid-up member of one of the three elephant unions controlled by the Rajasthan government. Swaying their beautiful huge grey bodies from side to side, they relax and chew grass between shifts of plodding up the long hill to the fort, carrying visitors feverish with excitement at riding an elephant and playing the maharaja.

Before taking the trip, drop into the little Archaeological Museum (Greek coins, fragments of Ashoka pillars, etc) set amid bougainvillea-draped trees and the well-restored, formal Dilaram Gardens; both are charming. And sometimes it is possible to hire a boat to go out onto the lake, if themonsoon has been generous and the boatmen are about.

The natural advantages of the site become more obvious up near Jai pot (victory gate), where increasingly spectacular views of the gorge and the hills are interrupted by malicious monkeys jumping about the battlements and a local serenading each arrival on his ravanhatha, a sort of lute. The east-facing gate is also known as Surya Pol (sun gate), a convenient reminder of the celestial origins of the Kachchwahas. It opens into Jaleb Chowk, a large courtyard added by Jai Singh II in the eighteenth century. There, a chaatwallahinvariably squats amid ordered piles of saffron-yellow spicy snacks, flower-beds fill the centre and, on the right, local craft shops have steps between them up to rooftop views. Also Visit – Delhi Sightseeing Tour by Car

Straight ahead are the elephant steps where more cautious visitors can take short rides around the courtyard. To the left of them, behind the cafe and newer shops, there is a wide balcony. From here you can look down on the abandoned-looking Kadmi Palace, where the chieftains lived before this fort was built. Old mansions and temples cluster around it; Jaigarh Fort towers above.

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Amber fortunes took off when Akbar, cutting across Kachchwaha territory on his first pilgrimage to Ajmer in January 1562, summoned Raja Bihar Mal (ruled c 1548-74) and his whole family to attend the royal camp. The Rajput’s daughter became the Mughal’s wife and his adopted grandson, Man Singh, went into Mughal service. The next chief, Bhagwan Das (ruled 1574-89), continued to cement the relationship, marrying his daughter to Akbar’s son, Salim (Jahangir) at Fatehpur Sikri in 1585—their child was Khusrau. In his survey of Rajasthan published in 1832, James Tod deems this to have ‘sullied Rajput purity by matrimonial alliance with the Islamite… and the fruit of the marriage was the unfortunate Khusroo’. But his praise for Man Singh, `the most brilliant character of Akbar’s court’, knows no bounds. By the time Man Singh I (ruled 1589-1614) came to the throne, his Mughal military triumphs had reaped their reward. Coffers overflowed with booty and he ambitiously decided on building a new fort, inspired by the grand Mughal court.

Man Singh began his project around 1592, the renovation of protective Jaigarh Fort above and the building of a new palace here, called Raj Mahal—he also built several nearby Hindu temples. His descendant Jai Singh I(ruled 1621-67) added the most refined buildings (the visitor encounters these first) and completed the embellishments. Although from the exterior the palace seems to ramble over the hill, the interior layout was given a new order, the formal gardens and rich decoration all influenced to an extent by Mughal styles. Among hilltop forts. It ranks second only to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. And according to historian Percy Brown among Rajput ions it rivals ‘even Akbar’s deserted pavilions at Fatehpur Sikri in the richness of its architecture. Also Visit – Delhi Jaipur and Agra with Fatehpur Sikri Tour

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