Travel and Gamble

Amber Fort: Jaipur’s beautiful ancient treasure


This was all we could utter upon seeing Amber Fort that late afternoon in May.

The Amber Fort stood there, grand and imposing; looking down on us from a hilltop.  We had such a tiring day after a very long 8 hour drive from New Delhi. The weather was extremely hot at 40 °C, that mum & I felt all of our body fluids were drained. We were very exhausted from our very long journey and upon seeing Amber Fort and the lake below it, we immediately felt refreshed.

The Amber fort landscape looked really majestic from afar; but the sheer size of it blew us away. I couldn’t contain my excitement as we planned to visit it the next day. Built in the late 1500s, the fort is over 400 years old. It’s one of the major tourist attractions in Jaipur area, and only 11 km away from the Pink city.

Time Space Warp

We made our way into Amber Fort the following morning after some light breakfast at our Indian hotel. As was expected, Amber Fort’s location offers spectacular views of the city below. Once we got inside, I thought we were transported back in time. It looked very ancient, unique and just truly majestic out there. We were in an out of this world era, all so suddenly.

You can get inside using your vehicle or by riding an elephant. We saw a number of tourists who took this mode of transportation during our visit.

What was it for and what to expect?

A royal family lived in Amber Fort in the ancient times, so its layout had to be appropriate as royal residence. Inside this massive structure are numerous courtyards, halls, rooms and patios, all to display the affluence of the royalty that lived there.

Sheesh Mahal, or Mirror Palace is in one of the courtyards. It’s a building built with many mirrors that should be akin to the stars up in the sky, when candles are lit at night time. The mirrors are made of coloured foil and paint.

Beautiful, intricate designs were carved on the marble at wall panels of the Mirror Palace.  Our guide pointed to us this particular flower image carved at the marble on one of the pillars. It’s admired for its soft, intricate and unique detail: notice the fish tail on the flowers, and how they blended quite well with the overall image:

One thing I learned in India: their have great artistic inclination and their attention to detail is unbelievable!

Some of the courtyards were used to hold victory parties for wars won and some were to hold public announcements/gatherings. The rest of them were private quarters of the royal family, or the concubines.

The vast, ancient courtyards, its great sturdy halls, intricate wall carvings and latticework: all of them were said to be inspired by both Hindu and Muslim influence. There’s a garden and a beautiful lake (Maota lake) that can be seen from below Amber Fort that adds to the dramatic beauty of this landscape. They all fit together remarkably well, making Amber Fort a must-see destination in Jaipur.

Tip:  There are many guides at the entrance that offer their tour services. Unless you have all day and you are feeling adventurous, I do not recommend just exploring on your own as the site is huge.

A guide would be able to tell you where to go next, how to navigate your way through, which is helpful if you’re on a tight schedule. Also, the guide is able to give you an enormous amount of historical information about the place, which is quite helpful for a visitor to fully appreciate what they are seeing. Ask, and agree on a price before getting the service. We asked our driver from New Delhi what a reasonable rate is to pay for the guide, so it helped us prepare and negotiate when we got there.

Have you been to Amber Fort? Tell us what you think about it!