|Opening Times||:||8am – 5:30pm every day |
(The Amer Fort does reopen everyday for a light show. We didn’t go for this so check online for more details).
|Entry Price||:||– Indian: 100 Rupees |
– Foreigners: 550 Rupees (£6/$8.20)
|Location||:||Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001|
An auto rickshaw will be your cheapest option and should cost around 140 Rupees for the 11km journey. We used the Ola App because it was often cheaper than what the local vultures quoted. When trying to leave, we couldn’t get an Ola back so had to pay extra – the auto drivers banded together to keep the price high.
Before we get to the Amer Fort – a note on animal cruelty
One of the “attractions” of Amer Fort is an elephant ride to the top of the hill. Many tourists are simply uneducated on the subject of animal welfare, whilst some don’t care, either way, they are supporting the continuation of animal abuse in the tourism industry.
Elephants are routinely taken from the wild as babies and submitted to “The Crush”. The Crush is a routine of physical abuse and starvation to force the elephants into submission.
The physical abuse continues throughout the elephant’s life, and evidence has been produced showing the Mahouts (elephant handlers) still used the banned ankus rods (sticks with a sharp metal spike on the end) to control the elephants. Elephants are routinely chained up for long periods and are not allowed to socialise as they would in the wild, causing severe mental deterioration and visible signs of stress.
Up to 80 elephants in the complex give rides to up to 900 tourists every day. The Indian government has put limits on the amount of times an elephant can trek up the hills and ramparts, but these rules are often ignored, and the damage has already been done.
Many of the elephants have foot damage, and some have eye injuries and noticeable cuts and abrasions.
This is just a short note on the abuse of elephants in one destination, but this behaviour is rampant throughout India and Asia. Although several requests have been made to the government to stop this blatant abuse, the requests have mostly fallen on deaf ears.
We would implore you not to ride elephants at the Amer Fort or anywhere else (or any other animal for that matter), even if you think the elephants are being well looked after, just remember that appearances can be deceiving, and the abuse has already taken place in order to get the animal to submit in the first place. Alternatively, rather than support the use of animals in tourism, you can take a 10-minute trek up the steps and ramparts or hire a jeep to take you to the top.
Onto the main event…
The Amer Fort is often called the Amber Fort (or Amber Palace), so named for the yellow sandstone used in construction. It is situated outside of the town of Amer and overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Fort. There are warning signs around, cautioning visitors to the presence of crocodiles, but we didn’t see any. We did see some wild pigs scavenging through the rubbish at the lakeside and a Softshell turtle (although we aren’t sure which species).
Constructed in the 16th century, many changes were made in the following 150 years after completion. The complex is split into 6 main areas which have their own courtyard (but the main places of interest at the Amer Fort are in 4 areas). The biggest can be accessed through the Sun Gate (so called because it faces east). This is also where you will find they entrance to the Sila Devi temple. (We didn’t go in here as it was very busy, and cameras and bags were not permitted, so we would have to leave ours unattended).
The second courtyard is named Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience). Constructed of 27 columns, and raised on a platform, this is where royalty would hear pleas and requests from the public.
The third courtyard of the Amer Fort was the Maharajahs private palace. This area consists of 2 buildings separated by a garden. The first is the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), so named for its intricately decorated panels of mirrored mosaics which adorn the walls.
The second building is the Sukh Mahal (Hall of Pleasure), which can be entered through a door made of sandalwood with marble inlays. This building was kept cool with the use of water channels that cooled the rooms and then flowed out into the gardens.
To the south of this courtyard is the Palace of Man Sing the first. This is the main palace area and it incorporates a columned pavilion in which the Maharanis (women of the royal court) would meet. When in use, the pavilion would have been screened off to prevent visitors from looking upon the women.
The fourth and final courtyard of note was the living area of the Zenana (the women of the royal court including wives, concubines and mistresses). This courtyard is surrounded by individual rooms that share a common corridor. The purpose for the room layouts was so they king could visit any of the women without the others finding out. This courtyard also houses the Hall of Private Audience (Jas Mandir)
Things to note:
Although there is a small café inside, make sure you bring water or buy it at the outside entrance – being higher up there is a breeze but it can get really hot.
At the main entrance, where the taxi or auto rickshaw will drop you off, is frequented by beggars – whilst they aren’t an issue, watch your pockets, especially around the children whose mothers will direct them towards obvious tourists (favouring white skin).