Amber, ex-capital of the most powerful Maharaja

Amber was the previous capital of the Jaipur Maharaja before the decision of building Jaipur was made. And in comparison, it now looks like a very peaceful village.

Amber was a war-designed city, controlling a strategic gorge on the way to Delhi. The city is protected by 3 forts surrounded by kilometers of walls to prevent anyone from entering (it’s like of mini version of the Great Wall of China).

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Amber Fort is the biggest palace of the city, and was principally serving as residence for the 12 favorite wives of the maharaja (out of 300… must be hard to pick 😉 ).

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You could come up to the fort in elephant… A shame to see how badly they were treated…

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The main court, surrounded by a maze (literally!) of hundreds of rooms

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Amber Fort seen from Jaigarth Fort

In case Amber Fort – being more of a palace then a fort – was conquered during a war, Jaigarth Fort was connected through a secret passage for the maharaja to take refuge there.

Jaigarth Fort, although having a palace part as the residence of the maharaja, is mainly military. The world’s largest canon, Jaivana, has been forged here, and is still overlooking the valley. Apart from that and the beautiful Garden Palace and its panoramic view in the Maharaja’s residence , the fort is pretty much empty.

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Jaigarh Fort seen from Amber Fort

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Jaivana, a 50t, 6m long baby that could fire up to 35km away

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The Garden Palace… Seemed like a nice place to live in

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The view from the terrace of Jaigarth Fort

We had the same disappointment with Nahargarh Fort. The fort was part of the defensive ring around the city and a place of retreat in case of attack. Palaces were added later to serve as hunting residence for the royal family.  We didn’t fell like much of an effort was being made to preserve to site, and again we just found a big palace surrounded by walls with tens of empty rooms…

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We ended our day on a more enjoyable note at the foot of Nahargarh hill: Gaitor, the place of the chhatris (cenotaphs) of the Jaipur maharajas, erected on the very place they were incinerated. We found there half a dozen white-marble memorials with magnificent sculptures and encryptions.

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Globally, Jaipur/Amber hasn’t been the place we’ve seen the most beautiful monuments. We’ve been really disappointed by the close to zero effort made in preservation and renovation of the palaces. Most of the sites were empty, colorless and filled up with garbage… Nonetheless, we could really feel the powerfulness of Jaipur maharajas, and we’ve been able to have a pretty good understanding of the History of Rajasthan.

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