Kachchawahas ruled from Amber, 11 km from Jaipur, for seven
centuries. With a history so old, it is not unexpected that there
is a lot of the past that can be traced in its archeological
history. While many of the early structures have either
disappeared or ruined, those dating from the16th century on are
in a remarkable state of preservation. Amber as it exists now is
the handiwork of three of the kingdom's rulers that include Man
Singh, and Jai Singh I and II. Approached from a steep ramp,
visitors ride up on elephant back, entering through the grand
Singh Pol gateway and continuing to Jaleb Chowk, the courtyard
where they disembark from the pachyderm. From here, they are
faced wit two flights of steps, one leading to Shila Mata complex
with its enshrined image of the goddess, and the other to the
main palace complex.
the complex, Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with images
of the elephant-headed god, Ganesh, takes pride of the place.
Also a part of the complex is the Diwan-i-Am or hall of the
public audience with its spectacular display of pillars. The
typical merging of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is
captured in the Sukh Nivas and Jas Mandir apartments, and the
Charbagh garden with its perfectly proportioned landscaping. A
highlight is the pierced screen windows which offer views form
points of vantage, as well as the shimmering mirrors encrusting
the walls of the Sheesh Mahal. Several other gardens and
pavilions within the sprawling spread of ramparts offer enough
scope for investigating medieval lifestyles at leisure.
Beyond the ramparts, the old city, once the abode of the
aristocracy, has a wonderfully medieval flavor, though it has few
buildings of majestic proportion that are still extant. However,
a walk through the rambling lanes will reap rich rewards for the
curious besides a large number of temples there are also
step-wells, memorials and townhouses.