In the reflection of the lake, Amer Palace glows with an ethereal light, a place of astounding beauty and elegance. The upward incline through cobbled streets is decorated with people playing traditional instruments, offering chai, selling various knickknacks. There is a vibrant, bustling energy that surrounds Amer Fort, perhaps an echo of the once bustling city of Amer. The walls of the fort follow the grooves of the surrounding hills, creating a protective barrier between the town of Amer and the rest of the world.
Carved in red sandstone and marble, Amer Palace is a testament to the riches of the 15th century. With four courtyards, the Palace was built for the people, an open portal to the royal family. Jalebi Chowk is the first courtyard, a place where soldiers assembled and congregated, usually heavily guarded. The Ganesh Pol entrance is decorated with a mosaic of flowers and patterns, the paints sourced from local plants and dyes. The detailed archway foreshadows the beauty that is hidden within the depths of the palace. The Diwan-i-Aam is the hall of public audience, supported by intricately carved columns that depict local symbols and patterns.
Further within, the private quarters of the Maharaja reflect the ingenuity of Indian architecture. On one side, the Jai Mandir is embellished with glass and mirrors, specifically designed to reflect flickering candlelight. The glittering hallway was designed to stay warm during the winter months, obtaining heat from the sun. On the other side, the Sukh Niwas has magnificently carved marble columns and arches to stay cool during the summer months. This illustrates how Indian innovation can be traced in their ancient architectures!
The fourth courtyard, the Zenana, is the isolated women’s’ chambers. With hidden passageways, it was designed to allow the Maharaja to visit his wives/concubines without being noticed. The Maharaja had the ability to overlook the women’s chambers covertly, another testament to the cleverness of the palace design!
Amer Fort was a place of opulence, a place of extravagance, the architecture reflecting the history of the royals. The Palace itself has traces of Mughal and Rajput influence, evident with the Jali screens and symmetrical patterns that adorn the gateways. The architecture itself symbolizes the incorporation of other cultures and beliefs into Indian society, a hint of the pluralistic thread that binds India together.