First Published on June 23, 2016
You have not seen the pink city properly if you have not visited the Amer Fort Jaipur. In fact, a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the key things to do in Jaipur. Just outside the city, Amer Fort or Amber fort used to the powerhouse of the rulers before Jaipur became the capital. I was raring to go see it and would have done so possibly on the first day in Jaipur itself. However, having just reached Jaipur, we were not ready to start early. Amer Fort Jaipur is quite well documented – not just through travel articles but also through movies like the famous Jodha Akbar. Having devoured it all, I was ready to see all that I had imagined at Amber Fort Jaipur.
There are three major forts in Jaipur – Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort. Of these, Jaipur Amer Fort is the biggest and the oldest. Jaigarh Fort was its protector fort while Nahargarh fort was built much later as a palace to relax. Visiting all these forts will take up one complete day in Jaipur. In fact, you might even end up staying during the evening here, especially if you want to catch the Amer Fort light and sound show.
For me, the Jaipur Amer fort took up most of the morning and yet, I felt as if I had missed a few parts. I guess, one visit is not enough for a complete tour of the Amer Fort. However, what I could not do, doesn’t mean you cannot. This post is like a complete travel guide to Amer Fort Jaipur. Through this, I not just share the key attractions of Amer Fort but also, tell you the ones that I missed. So, get set for this whirlwind trip.
History of Amer Fort Jaipur
I guess, most of you may have heard of the Navratanas (9 gems) of Emperor Akbar – Birbal being one of the key ones? Well, belonging to the same Navratanas was Raja Man Singh I – the ruler of Amer. It is him who is credited for having built the current structure. However, the first palace is an ancient one that can still be seen behind the main Amer Fort. This is called the Kadimi Mahal and it was built by the Meenas – the dynasty that ruled before Man Singh‘s dynasty.
The Amer Fort History can be traced back to its foundation in the 967 AD. This is credited to Raja Alan Singh from the Meena clan. Raja Man Singh of Kachwahas dynasty built over this foundation and his successor – Raja Jai Singh I expanded this palace. The royal family lived here till their capital moved to the present day Jaipur. This is when their dwelling shifted to the Jaipur City Palace.
Is it Amer Fort or is it Amber Fort?
Many of you might be wondering if I got the name right – Is it Amer Fort? Or is it Amber Fort?
Well, it is one and the same. It so happens that the kingdom was named Dhundar and its capital town was called Ambikeshwara. The town’s name came from the Amba Mata temple that was built on top of the hill called Cheel ka Teela (Hill of the Eagles). Soon, the capital’s name was shortened to Amber and later, Amer.
How to get to Jaipur Amer Fort?
- Jaipur is well connected to all Indian cities via flights, trains and roads. It is part of the famous Golden Triangle and if you are on one of those tours, then you are sure to visit Amer Fort.
- Amer Fort is around 12 km from the city center. There are several tourist buses, Government buses, and private taxis that take you from Jaipur to Amer Fort. You can even book a ride online through the Booking Resources that I have shared at the end of the post.
What is the best time to visit Amer Fort Jaipur?
Jaipur is extremely hot during summers – i.e – from April to June. Besides these months, the rest of the year is good for a visit. Winters between November to February would be the most pleasant.
Amer Fort in Jaipur opens at 8 am and closes at 6 pm. This is the case on all days. Being a key tourist attraction, there is a lot of crowds here. There is no avoiding it, except that on weekdays, it might be a little lesser.
Amer Fort has a beautiful light and sound show in the evening. The one in English starts at 7:30 pm while the one in Hindi is at 8 pm.
Amer Fort Tickets
The Amer Fort Tickets for Indians cost INR 25 while for foreign tourists, the price would be INR 200. The Amer Fort Light and Sound in English show costs INR 200. The Hindi one is priced at INR 100. You can buy all these tickets online through the booking resources or just head over to Amer Fort.
There is a composite ticket that includes 5 of the key attractions of Jaipur. It is valid for 3 days and if you are planning to visit these attractions, it might be worthwhile to get that ticket.
Start of our tour of Amer Fort Jaipur
Bright and early, we set off to spend a day seeing all these forts that Jaipur had to offer. Along our 12 km drive, we came across some beautiful sights – like the Jal Mahal, but we did not stop anywhere. The idea was to spend as much time as possible seeing the forts and then, on the way back, stop at the other attractions. Just as our car crossed the hillocks of Aravalli, we got the first glimpse of Amer Fort. And that is where we met our guide.
Our Amer Fort Guide introduced himself with his creds and asked us to follow his bike to the gates of Amer Fort. Since the roads were clogged with tourist vehicles, he took us through a slightly different route. We entered the fort through a different entrance that led straight to the area with a huge vessel. This was not a part of the original Amer fort but was made for the Blockbuster film – Jodha Akbar. This huge vessel that was used by Aishwarya Rai in the film to cook for Hrithik Roshan :D.
While we perched on the steps to have a quick Rajasthani breakfast (Kachori and Samosas), the guide took us through the history of the Amer fort.
The architecture of Amber Fort in Jaipur
Our Amer Fort guide introduced us to the basic structure of this fort – different gates and 4 different courtyards. The Amer Fort architecture is a good example of the Rajput style of design. However, within the fort, you will find a fair bit of Mughal influence. Secret passages, hidden corridors, and brilliant use of science for light are some of the key attractions of Amer Fort. In fact, the stories behind them will leave you in awe of the place. So, without much ado – let’s proceed to the gates.
Suraj Pol – the main gate of Jaipur Amber fort
The main entrance of Amer Fort is through the Eastern gate called Suraj Pol (Sun Gate). The zig-zag path is a well-known Bollywood setting for many of the historical movies. If we were to follow the tourist vehicles, we would have emerged from this gate. The gate is also, used by people who opt to enter on an Elephant. While this might seem like a good experience, I would personally like to stay away from it. There are reports of unethical treatment of these majestic beasts used in the Amer Fort Elephant Ride.
Sure, they were used by the Kings in the bygone era to enter this very palace after their victory in various battles. Suraj Pol was used by the King and his army for a victory march. The lattice windows of the palace allowed the women to watch the procession while staying hidden from public view. The army would parade right into the first courtyard – The Jaleb Chowk.
There are two other gates that open into Amer ka Kila (Amer Fort in Hindi) – One is called Tripolia Gate and the other called Singh Gate. The Tripolia gate had three passages – one to Jaleb Chowk, the other to the King’s palace and the third to the Zenana Area (Ladies palace). The Singh Gate (Lion gate) was generally kept guarded and led to the private chambers of the King.
Jaleb Chowk in Amer Kila
This is the first major courtyard of Amer Kila. The word Jaleb Chowk is derived from Arabic and means a place of assembly for the soldiers. This is where you will be if you enter from Suraj Pol. The courtyard was largely used for army parades. Here you will also, find the temple of Sila Devi. It is said that the temple Idol was found by Raja Man Singh, following his dream and hence, is special. During one of the battles against the Raja of Jessore (Bengal), the King dreamt of finding this statue in a water bed. The Goddess in his dream asked him to find the statue and take it with him. True enough, the idol was found and since then, has been the centerpiece of this temple.
The Shila Devi temple is also, attached to the practice of animal sacrifice during the nine days of the Navratri festival. The same was done in presence of the whole town, till it became a private tradition of the royal family and later was stopped altogether. A short flight of stairs takes you to the 2nd courtyard of Amer Fort Jaipur.
Ganesh Pol – the most artistic gate of Amer Fort Jaipur
For souls like me who enter from a different gate, this is the first place that your guide is likely to bring you. The majestic gate has been the subject of many Instagrammers and photographers. Ganesh Pol is actually the main gate of the Palace, though it is not the first gate. Lord Ganesh is known to remove obstacles and is a symbol of new beginnings. I suppose you can now work out why this gate was so named.
They say that the royalty was welcomed here with a full fan-fare, especially as they returned victorious from a battle. I had myself imagining a scene from Jodha Akbar wherein Akbar was greeted with Tilak by the royal Queen when he first visited Jodhabai. Of course, that did not really happen here. 🙂 But you get the picture.
If you notice, there are small windows with a passage right above the gate. That is called Suhag Mandir. This was where the Royal ladies could witness the happenings below as they were not allowed to appear in public.
The gate has been painted using vegetable dyes and they say that the same is still retained. We were told that during rains this place looks even more stunning. Rains or not, the gate made a stunning backdrop for some photo memories as you can see. 🙂
Diwan E Aam – Hall of Common Audience in Amer ka Kila
Right opposite the Ganesh Pol is the Hall of public audience. When I visited it, it was being renovated. This is where the King heard the public grievances. The pillared stage has galleries on the top. My guess is that during the court, these might have been covered with curtains to shield the women from public view.
Jai Mandir with the Diwan-e-Khas
Though it was not the first place that we were taken to after we entered through the Ganesh pol, Jai Mandir was the first we spotted. And that first look was completely intriguing. The beautiful majestic building with glass and mirror work has three parts to it. The first part that you can immediately see is the Hall of Private Audience – Diwan-e-Khaas. This is where highly secretive meetings with important people took place.
The chamber was decorated to impress – with intricate floral designs interspersed with mirror work and glass. The one must-see attraction of Amer Fort lies along the marble pillars and walls of the Diwan-i-Khas. These are popularly referred to as Magic Flowers. The Magic Flower of Amber Fort is carved such that you can spot 7 different pictures by covering various parts of the flower. These include the following and whether you take an audio tour or hire a guide, they will all take pleasure in showcasing this Magic Flower.
- A scorpion
- Hood of a Snake
- An elephant’s trunk
- The tail of a lion
- A corn
The Diwan-e-Khaas is seamlessly attached to its other two parts are called Sheesh Mahal and Jas Mandir. All three sections – The Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Khas and the Jas Mandir make up the Jai Mahal. The entire structure was made by Raja Jai Singh and hence the name. Of these three sections, the Jas Mandir is out of bounds. It can be seen as the section over the Diwan-E-Khas. The Jas Mandir was used for relaxing. The section also, had bathing chambers that had curtains of Khus. These were sprayed with water to get naturally cooled air.
Sheesh Mahal (Glass Palace) of Amer Fort Jaipur
One candle that was lit in the night, reflected throughout the palace – making the ceiling look like the night sky filled with twinkling stars. And that was not all that fascinated me. The glasswork is in no random pattern but is worked into beautiful floral designs. The inspiration for this Palace of mirrors comes from the Mughal architecture (Check out the Sheesh Mahal of the Agra Fort).
There is this one place that our guide insisted that he take our picture. He pointed the camera at one mirror while we posed at another. Here is the lovely framed picture that we got.
Sukh Niwas of Jaipur Amber Fort
The dazzling Sheesh Mahal of Amber Fort Jaipur does take up a lot of your time. Those details are so mesmerizing! It is no wonder that our guide actually took us to the other side of this courtyard first. Let me start with a quick note on the artistic gardens. This is yet another aspect of Amer Fort Architecture that is influenced by the Mughals. The landscaped gardens separating the Jai Mandir from the other section called Sukh Niwas are called Chahar Bagh. The central star-shaped fountain is connected across the courtyards with narrow pipes. These channels helped cool both Jas Mandir and the Sukh Niwas.
The Sukh Niwas of Amer Fort was the resting quarters of the King. Right opposite his office 🙂 Personally, I would not have liked it that way, but then to each their own. Besides his personal chambers, there were rooms for his main Queen or the Patrani and the second one in line. The size of the rooms and their decor distinguished them and also, implied their importance.
The ornate designs on the wall – the vases in pastel – were also, Mughal inspired. Besides this wall decor, the main feature of this section is the small channels of water from the Chahar Bagh. These channels flow into small marble niches called Chini Khana. The Queens apparently used these as a place to cool of their feet and maybe, do a pedicure 😉 They also, doubled up to keep the palace cool.
Kesar Kyaari Bagh of Amer Fort
As you move into the next courtyard of Amer Fort, you will pass by a section that gives you a glimpse of the gorgeous Kesar Kyaari Bagh. This unique Saffron Garden is set around the same Maota lake around which the town of Amer was built. They used to grow saffron here. The Jas Mandir and the royal washrooms faced this section and that amuses me. 🙂
Zenana Mahal of Amber Kila of Jaipur
While I loved the Sheesh Mahal for its sheer beauty, I loved the Zenana Mahal for its unique layout. This section is also referred to as Raja Mansingh’s palace and it is where the women of the Palace used to reside. The central pavilion or the Bardari Mandir was used by the Royal ladies and the King to just sit around.
Around this pavilion, you will see some rooms – the biggest belonging to the Raja and the smaller ones to the various Queens. Each room had its own sit-out and kitchen areas. It was like the concept of Royal row houses. 🙂 The guide told us that there were 12 such rooms around the Bardari – one for each Queen. Now here comes the interesting part –
- The Raja was so superstitious that he is said to have one Queen from each Zodiac sign. Fact or not, don’t know. But an interesting story nonetheless. 😀
- Each room was connected through a passage with the King’s room. The passage was a private passage that only the King would use. It was done so that when the Raja visited one Queen, the others would not know who he was visiting. Privacy and Jealousy avoided :D.
The last one is a fact as I ventured up one of the Queen’s apartments to see what was in it. Owing to a lot of damage, venturing here is not encouraged but it is not prohibited either. The curious me could not resist and went treasure hunting to follow one particular passage that ended up at the King’s chamber. 😀
So far so good, and one would think that this was a lovely trail alright. However, remember I said it was incomplete. Here is what made it so for me –
- I had requested the guide to take us to the Suhag Mandir (above Ganesh Pol) but he said, there isn’t much and at the end of the trail, we could do it, we chose to believe him. We missed it 🙁
- You can apparently climb a few watchtowers. I missed that – would have loved to see the view from there.
- The remains of the old fort of Amer – the Kadami Mahal is something that I wanted to see.
- A closer look and a walk through the Kesar Kyari would have been nice. I believe you can do so with a light and sound show in the evening.
- There is a hanging bridge that I saw at Amer Fort. I wonder where that goes.
- The most important – a walk through the secret tunnel connecting Amer fort to Jaigarh Fort. I only spotted the entrance to the same. There is a special tour that allows you to some point. The tunnel was used by Royalty to escape in case the fort was under attack. The same tunnel had openings in the Zenana Mahal and Sukh Niwas for easy evacuation.
Places to visit near Amer Fort Jaipur
The Amer Fort itself felt incomplete. Imagine what happened when I discovered that there were other places to visit near Amer fort Jaipur. Sharing the list so that you get to them.
- Jaigarh Fort – This one I managed to go and trust me when I say, don’t miss it! Check out the tour of Jaigarh Fort here.
- Jagat Shiromani Temple – The beautifully carved temple is said to be a Meera Bai Temple. The marble carvings of the Toran (ornamental hangings) and the walls are quite exquisite.
- Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple – This was the temple that gave Amer its name. I believe, it gets submerged in monsoons
- Panna Meera Kund – The carved stepwell of Amer dates much earlier than the fort.
- Anokhi Museum – This is close to the Panna Meena Kund. A perfect place to discover and understand the hand block art of Rajasthan.
I think a day might not have been enough for me to explore this palace. The guide had already spent 2+ hours here and obviously for the price we hired him, that is all he could cover. I have no regrets about what I discovered, it’s just me being greedy about wanting to know more. Wouldn’t you have been as greedy, given the wealth of history and heritage this place offers?
Well, in any case, you have all the information in this guide to Amer Fort Jaipur. And I am sure, you are now well prepared to visit this place. Just remember to bookmark this now so that you can pull out this virtual tour of Amer Fort Jaipur whenever you need it.
- Remember the composite tickets that I mentioned earlier in this post. The same includes Amer fort too.
- Flat shoes and comfortable clothing are advised as there are lots to walk.
- Audio tours are available here. There are plenty of guides too and it is advisable to take either one of these options as there is just too much to see and while you may have done your home-work, spotting these places will not be easy.
- Try to ensure that the guide takes you to all the key points. Else you will be left with that incomplete feeling. 🙂
- If you fancy entering the gates like a Royalty, there is an elephant ride that is available at the main gate. You can get one that takes you up the Amer hill through the Suraj Pol.
- There are a lot of small stalls and musicians within the Fort, especially near the gates. Remember to bargain well with the stalls and check your belongings before leaving the stall. With the musicians, you can choose to tip them as you feel.
- Some of the guides will insist on taking you to certain shops within Amer town. You can well refuse to go, if you are not interested. There is no compulsion.
- Keep aside at least 3 hours to see the fort. Though personally, I found that too, a little less.
- Restrooms are available within the fort.
- There are a few cafes and restaurants within the fort as well as in Amer Town.
- Here is a link to booking your stay in Jaipur through Booking.com. Remember the distance between Jaipur and Amer Fort is around 12 km. There are options to stay closer to Amer Fort but I would recommend staying in the city center. Refer to this post of mine on which are the best areas to book hotels in Jaipur.
- You can book your personal tour of Amer Fort through Klook.com This tour includes more than just the Amer Fort. You get to also visit the town, the heritage stepwell and the Jagat Shiromani Temple. The website also has other options for tours to suit you needs. You can even book a ride or a self-drive for your tour of Jaipur through this website.
- GetYourGuide has plenty of options for tours of Amer Fort as well as nearby areas. Check out the various options using the link given.
- If you are looking for travel essentials or even regular shopping for a home, consider going to Amazon through this link
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including Lonely Planet India and Jetwings.