Travel to Jaipur to feel like a maharaja on the back of an elephant in Amber Fort … The visit to the fortified palace of Amber has all the ingredients to be the most popular attraction of the so-called Pink City.
Rudyard Kipling once said: “God created the Maharajas to give the world a show.” Well, there are few places in India where this statement makes as much sense as in the fortified palace of Amber, 11 kilometers from Jaipur. This imposing palace complex made of red sandstone and white marble was erected as the capital of the state of Jaipur five centuries ago, and today reigns with all its ghostly splendor atop a steep hill. And reaching the top of that hill is an experience in itself because the tour is spectacular and is done on the back of an elephant.
The best time to make this route is at dawn, and not only because long lines and tourist turmoil are avoided; At that time, the light of dawn is reflected in Lake Martha and in the walls of the ancient fortress and its wall, creating a magical atmosphere. And being one of the first of the day to cross the Suraj Pol gate and enter the large garden square makes the visitor feel like a real Maharaja. The elephant, adorned and with the painted trunk, climbs to the top of the hill by a special ramp, in a journey that lasts about 20 minutes.
Amber Fort rests on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the sun dating from the year 955. The current complex began to be built in 1592 with the idea of creating a palace for the Rash within the same fortress. Today, the visitor distinguishes between the Jaigarh Fort, or original fort, and the Amber Palace, both structures connected by passageways and courtyards worth exploring throughout the day. The visit to the sensational complex is used more with an accompanying guide since the centuries that endure these ruins on themselves are better understood with the detailed explanations and anecdotes offered by an accompanying expert.
From the entrance, up a narrow staircase, you reach a silver door that gives access to the Kali temple, where a goat was sacrificed daily from the 16th century until just 30 years ago. From there you can access the Maraja apartments, on the top floor and with privileged views. The delicate restoration work carried out in this fortified palace makes marbles, mosaics, and sculptures look like in their best times. Another must-see is the hall of mirrors, a large room where the flame of a single candle illuminated the entire room.
When the gates of the complex are closed and the sun goes down, the visitor can choose between returning to the plain on foot or by SUV. The palace-fortress of Amber is integrated in such a way in the mountains of the area that it is difficult to imagine a better defensive position. Or a better sunset.