Amer Fort – The 3rd Largest Wall In The World

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Amer Fort - Rajasthan
Amer Fort – Rajasthan

Amer Fort that stands just on the outskirts of the Jaipur City is actually the immediate ancestor of Jaipur City. Till Sawai Jai Singh decided to create a new planned city, Amer was the major fortified town of the region.

Amer Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Jaisalmer Fort, Ranthambore Fort and Gagron Fort.

Brief History of Amer Fort

Hills around Amer Fort
Hills around Amer Fort

Forts, as you know, are more often than not located on the hilltops. The hill on which Amer or Amber fort stands is called Cheelon ka Teela – meaning the hillock on which the eagles live. It was first built by the Meenas who are now classified as tribals way back in 10th CE. However, its fortunes changed when Raja Man Singh took it over and built a formidable fort sometime in early 17th CE. The work was taken forward by Raja Jai Singh who would later set up Jaipur City – one of the current day planned cities of India.

Today Amer is a small town surrounding the fort. I am told there are 365 temples in Amer town. Well, you can see tall spires of many temples when you are at the fort but someone needs to go around the town and explore them further.

Amer Fort has the world’s third longest wall going around it after Kumbhalgarh & China Wall.

Amer gets its name from Ambika Temple or the Shiva Temple called Ambikeshwar.

10 things you should not miss in Amer Fort

Amer being an ancient fort city has a lot to offer to the traveler. Here are a few things you should not miss at Amber Fort:

Jaleb Chowk

Jaleb Chowk
Jaleb Chowk

Once you climb the mighty wall of Amer Fort, you would enter the fort by a tall door called Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate. You would find yourself standing in an open courtyard surrounded on three sides by yellow structures and one side of a wall overlooking the water tank. There is a Kesar Kyari or a saffron garden in the middle of this tank. This was an attempt to grow Saffron in the dry and hot climate of Rajasthan. Full marks for attempting it.

Sila Devi Temple

Sila Devi temple is dedicated to Kali or Shakti. Legend is that the Shila or the stone idol came from Bengal – where the worship of Kali is done. All the warrior kings worship Shakti before they leave for war. You would always find a Shakti temple in the fort. I found one in the 6th BCE ruins of Kapilavastu too.

You must see the ornate silver doors of Sila Devi temple.

Diwan-e-Aam

Diwan-e-Aam
Diwan-e-Aam

This is the hall of the public audience where the king would listen to public grievances or maybe even made public announcements. I like the way pillars provide a character to this open hall. The arches make you feel you are inside a hall while the open courtyard all around makes you feel you are in the open.

The point worth noticing here is the double elephant capitals on top of these pillars.

Ganesh Pol Entrance

This is the real entrance to the private areas of the Amer fort i.e. the Amer Palaces. The frescos on this entrance are most famous and most Instagram friendly part of Amer Fort There is a Ganesha mural just like you see him the entrance of temples and forts and palaces. Rest of the wall and ceilings are full of floral motifs or the Phool-Patti design as it is called in Hindi. The frescos here have Indian Influence as Ganesha is there, Mughal Influence with those floral motifs and an English influence in the choice of colors – pastels primarily. It is a good representation of fusion era that Amer Fort was built in.

Do not miss the murals on the ceilings and skirtings when you enter through this gate.

Hammam

To the left of Ganesh Pol is the Hammam or Turkish baths. I guess it was the latest fad when Amer Fort was built or renovated. The Hamman is not too big but it is interesting to see the mechanism that operates it. The view from the small window is also nice although with current security measures you hardly see anything.

Sheesh Mahal – Best part of Amer Fort

Sheesh Mahal - Amer Fort
Sheesh Mahal – Amer Fort

The Sheesh Mahal is actually the Diwan-e-Khaas or the meeting place of the eminent people. This is where the king would meet his ministers or royal guests. However, it is made up of small mirrors all over its walls that give it the name Sheesh Mahal. It is said that the Sheesh Mahal shown in the Hindi Film Mughal-e-Azam was inspired by this palace. Since the mirrors sit on a pale white wall, it is difficult to visualize how it would look when some lamps are lit at night.

Details of Sheesh Mahal Ceiling
Details of Sheesh Mahal Ceiling

I think besides the brilliant aesthetics, it is an innovative use of glass to amplify the light without using many resources.

The well laid out gardens in front of Sheesh Mahal at Amer Fort.

Magic Flower on a pillar of Sheesh Mahal
Magic Flower on a pillar of Sheesh Mahal

Pro Tip – Do not miss the magic flower carves on the base of one of the pillars wherein a single flower you can spot a fish, a cobra, an elephant, a lion, a scorpion, a corn cob if you place your hands correctly on it. Any guide would help you identify them.

Sukh Mahal

Ivory engraved wooden door of Sukh Mahal
Ivory engraved wooden door of Sukh Mahal

Sukh Mahal means the hall of Happiness or pleasure. Well, this is an airconditioned area with water channels running across to keep the hall cool. In the desert heat, there can be no bigger Sukh than this. The motifs on the wall with shades of cool blue add to the ambiance of the hall.

Pro Tip – You must see the Sandalwood door with inlay work in ivory. Not much is left but still, in its ruins, it gives you a glimpse of its glorious days.

Suhaag Mandir

Suhag Mandir
Suhag Mandir

This is actually a pavilion on top with a semi-dome painted in pale green and red. I am not sure if it is called something else, but there is a marble slab here that calls it Suhaag Mandir. From the name, it seems that it is the place where married women would perform some rituals or celebrate some festivals.

Walk ahead a bit and stand at the pavilion in the corner for some of the best views of the hills around and the lower part of the fort.

Baradari at Man Singh Palace

Baradari of Man Singh Mahal at Amer
Baradari of Man Singh Mahal at Amer

This is a pavilion that stands in the middle of another courtyard that is surrounded by the living quarters. This is the oldest part of the fort and I assume this may have the version 1 of Diwan-e-aam or the common meeting place. It could also be the pleasure garden of the king.

It is an open pavilion – that is now surrounded by walls all around that form the living quarters of the palace.

Zenana or Ladies Quarters

Zenana refers to the female quarters of the palace. It had a world of its own and many books have been written about these. The fact that men outside the family had no access and men from the family had limited access to these quarters made them very intriguing for the outsiders.

Frescoes on the ceilings of Queens' quarters - Amer Fort
Frescoes on the ceilings of Queens’ quarters – Amer Fort

At Amer Fort, the haphazard construction of the Zenana could be by design to confuse any invaders or it could be by default as the rooms were randomly added as required. Another angle says it was designed in such a way that king can visit any queen without anyone else finding out. Although I find it hard to believe that king could visit one queen without others knowing about it. All I can tell you is that you can potentially get lost here. However, the crowds around would guide you.

Look up in the rooms and in some of them, you would see lovely wall murals. Interestingly a Tulsi plant is still kept in this area as it would have been worshipped during the times’ queens used to inhabit here.

Light & Sound Show at Amer Fort

Light & Sound Show at Amer Fort
Light & Sound Show at Amer Fort

I would not say this is the best light and sound show you can see in India. The one at Chittorgarh is definitely much better than this one. However, it is the best way to understand the history of Amer in details with the fort ramparts in front of you and the water in the foreground. The setting is just perfect. Colorful lights and vivid sound take you for a history walk.

What is interesting is regular doses of Rajasthani Music in the storytelling. At places, I felt it got a bit boring, a bit of trimming would have helped. Although, it is not bad to sit back, relax and watch a widescreen opera.

Anokhi Museum at Amer

Restored Kanwar Palkhiwalon hi Haveli - Anokhi Museum
Restored Kanwar Palkhiwalon hi Haveli – Anokhi Museum

Anokhi Museum dedicated to Rajasthani and other Indian textiles. Now the museum is definitely worth the visit but the Haveli that houses it too has a lovely restoration story. It is called Chanvar Palkhiwalon ki Haveli. The name tells me that it once belonged to the people who were palanquin bearers and Chauri bearers probably for the royal family of Amer. There is no sign of them but the name stays. Haveli takes you back in time and you can easily visualize how it would have been to live here.

Textile Display at Anokhi Museum
Textile Display at Anokhi Museum

The displays at Anokhi museum take you through the textile diversity of India. The motifs on the fabric will tell you about the social status associated with them. You can see the process of making wooden blocks, printing of various colors on the fabric. You can easily spend 1-2 hours at Anokhi Museum in Amer. There is a museum shop but I must say the collection here is very limited. Anokhi’s city outlet is much better for shopping.

Read More – Calico Museum in Ahmedabad

Hotels near Amer Fort

I stayed at Lebua Resort in Jaipur. They have a Lebua Lodge at Amer right next to the Amer Fort Wall with luxury tents. I plan to stay there next time in Jaipur to explore some birding as well as the temples of Amer that I missed this time.

Travel Tips for Amer Fort

Ganesh Pol - Amer Fort
Ganesh Pol – Amer Fort
  • You need at least 2-3 hours to see just the Amer Fort.
  • Anokhi Museum would need another 2 hours at least.
  • Amer Fort requires you to go up and down so wear comfortable shoes.
  • Take a guide to hear all the charming stories. There is an audio guide also available at the ticket counter.

Recommend you read about following Places to visit in Jaipur.

  1. Chand Baori at Abhaneri – Most beautiful Stepwell of India.
  2. Khatu Shyam – God of the defeated from Mahabharat.
  3. Top 15 Jaipur Souvenirs to pick – Shopping in Jaipur.
  4. Jantar Mantar Jaipur – Must see observatory of Sawai Jai Singh.
  5. Bhangarh Fort – Visiting the most haunted place in India.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Anokhi museum was closed on that day when we visited Jaipur and heavy rain in the month of January so could not visit much places . Beautiful introduction with grand pictures

  2. I love exploring this fort and find it fascinating. I am yet to visit the Anokhi museum though!!
    I heard there is a temple dedicated to Meera -Krishna nearby down in the town…Did you gett a chance to visit it, Ma’am?

    • Anokhi Museum is lovely Meenakshi. You would love it. Nope, I did not visit any temple in Amer, but next time I am there, I will do only temples and nothing else. Do you want to join for the temple exploration of Amer?

    • Aparna – the murals on the Ganesh Pol are unique for their pastel colors and fusion of various elements. The ones at Delhi have pure Mughal motifs – this one has Indian motifs as well. Difficult to say who copied whom – the colors are very colonial, motifs both Indian and Mughal and frescos age-old.

  3. I’ve never heard of this before but I’m adding it to my list! Your pictures are beautiful and the artwork looks so intricate. I especially love the part about the magic flower carvings- I have to experience it for myself!

    • Brittany – Amer Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the loveliest forts of India. Yes, the wall murals are amazing and I am sure the images do not do justice to the hall of mirrors or Sheesh Mahal – you have to see it to believe it.

  4. Amer Fort is really stunning and I love it for all the intricate work inside. The views are also spectacular, particularly the elaborate gardens that one sees from up above. Its been a while since we went and missed the Anokhi museum then.

  5. I never even heard of Amer and it looks totally amazing. I can’t wait to get to Rajasthan region, I so want to try and get to this place now. You have given me food for thought 🙂

  6. 365 temples! That could take an entire year to explore. I really loved the Sheesh Mahal photos that you took. It looks just stunning. I like that you mention the sandalwood door with inlay work in ivory because most people wouldn’t think much of it. Sometimes the best parts of these historic sites are the places where you get a glimpse of how ancient these sites are.

    • Not really, Chris. They are located quite close to each other and most of them are really small temples. You are right sometimes we miss the important pieces of history when they become tourist places.

  7. What a beautiful place! I’ve read a lot about the area but I’ve never seen Amer Fort mentioned anywhere! The palace gate with all the frescos are awesome, I can see why it’s famous on Instagram!

  8. Lovely post Anuradha…I really enjoy reading the history bit that you bring to your stories – they always add another layer to the context. I had no idea bout the ‘Cheelon ka teela’ bit…

    I’ve been here a few times and will make sure I visit all the recommended places on my next trip 🙂

    • Siddhartha – I think Indian destinations have so many layers of history that every time you visit, you peel another layer and discover something new. Do visit and tell me what new things you discovered 🙂

  9. I’ve heard a lot about the Amer Fort but your pictures have really captured the enormity and beauty of it for me. I’ve never visited Jaipur but I know if I ever did this would be top of my list. You’ve taught me so much about the history and I adore the murals.

    • Samantha – Amer fort is on the first time travelers itinerary to India. It is a part of the famous golden triangle that takes you to Delhi – Jaipur – Agra. I hope you get to come to India soon.

  10. Such a rich culture and diversity. I only visited india a few times but it was an amazing time each time. Maybe just a small tip, but include a google map or something would be great as sometimes I have no idea where on the map these beautiful places are. Thanks!

  11. Oh, I can’t decide which I love best! Amer Fort sure sounds lovely. And how interesting that it’s situated on the hill “where eagles live”. I always love small details like this one. 🙂
    Diwan-e-Aam is stunning. You’re right, numerous pillars give it a certain character. It’s probably great to walk among them.
    And the Ganesh entrance? Wow, beautiful! No wonder it’s the most instagramable building of the area.
    Would love to visit the Sheesh Mahal, this one seems extremely elegant!
    So much to see! I mean, 365 temples? Amazing!

    • Yes, Danijela – this one place has ton loads of history in its folds that are depicted through the artwork here. Sheesh Mahal is unbelievable. The images here definitely do not do justice to it

  12. I can visit Amer fort multiple times and yet not get enough. I have watched light and sound show 4 times and always enjoyed. Sheesh Mahal is my favorite spot here. It always rekindles the historical saga and specially when toh hear it in amitabh bacchan’s voice in Hindi. Thanks for sharing

  13. Such intricate and beautiful details! India is a country I have not yet been to, but I can’t wait to get there, and will definitely put Amer Fort on my list!

  14. I have been to Amer fort several time but still this place seems every time so interesting. Sheesh Mahal is actually gorgeous and after your description I remembered that flower too. Great pictures with great description as always.

  15. Amer fort is a personal favourite. It is an amazing place and I could spend hours lost in its grandeur and beauty. Though each corner of the fort has something unique and beautiful to offer, I really love the Ganesh Pol and of course the mesmerizing beauty of Sheesh Mahal. I always imagine how the place must have been in its hey day.

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