The Amber Fort of Jaipur is also known as the Amer Fort, according to popular transliterations from the Hindi, and it is inarguably among the most famous sights that the city has to offer. Its construction is attributed to the first Raja Man Singh of the Kachwahas of Amber, the state that would eventually become the place for Jaipur. The clan thus lived in the fort for quite some time, looking down the beautiful Maota Lake reflecting it and surveying their land.
When travelling along the Delhi-Jaipur highway and catching a glimpse of the fort, one’s first impression of it is typically of a redoubtable structure expressly designed for military defence. The fort’s sandstone and marble façade certainly presents a picture of almost harsh formidability from outside. From inside, however, one sees a rather different scenario, for the Amber Fort is well-known for the beauty of its architecture. Hindu and Islamic styles are blended together to create a confection of exquisite beauty, from mirror-fitted ceilings to marble-inlaid sandalwood doors, the fort is indeed a sight to behold—and many tourists seem to agree, based on the visitors’ statistics. Official surveys indicate that around five thousand persons come to the fort daily.
The town that Amber Fort overlooks (Amer), as may be expected of this, is largely dependent on the influx of tourists for income. Tourism is highly encouraged and authorities do all they can to promote the fort as a go-to spot for locals and foreigners alike on their vacations. The only problem is that it has proven to be a delicate balance: on one hand conservation and preservation of the fort’s signature elements has to be maintained; on the other hand promotion of it for economic purposes demands a certain willingness to risk its exposure to potentially harmful forces. There have been film shootings made in the fort in the past, but these were ultimately ceased by the state following reports of significant damage to the fort caused by the crews.
The tourism board for Rajasthan has put in motion a new project, though, for stimulating public interest in the fort. This project is a son-et-lumière, a light and sound show at the bottom of the fort that highlights the distinct history and mythology surrounding this magnificent structure. The light and sound show has been hailed as one of great interest by those who have seen it, and it is expected that the Rajasthani authorities shall keep it running for quite some time yet, or if not, shall put it through a cycle as one of the tourism-promoting activities at the fort.
Other things to do in the fort would be to traverse the tunnel that connects it to the Jaigarh Fort nearby (something that fascinates many), pay one’s respects at the gorgeous Sila Devi temple inside it, and, if possible, take one of the elephant rides often being offered in the environs. What better way to view the Amber Fort of the Rajputs, after all, than from atop the same animals these lofty aristocrats once rode in their own time?