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Fort - Jaipur|
Amber Fort - Jaipur
: Jaipur, Rajasthan.|
Evolution/ Origin: 16th Century.
By: Maharaja Man Singh I.
The structure which
is known today as Amber Fort was initially a palace complex within
the original fort of Amber that is today known as Jaigarh Fort. Connected to Amber
via fortified passages, Jaigarh Fort is located on a hill above the Amber complex,
and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It overlooks Maotha Lake,
and was reputed to be the treasure vault of the Kacchwaha rulers.
Like the entire fort complex, Amber Fort is also constructed of white and
red sandstone. The Fort is unique in that its outside, an imposing and rugged
defensive structure, is markedly different from its inside, an ornate, lavish
interior influenced by both Hindu and Muslim (Mughal) styles of ornamentation.
The walls of the interior of the fort are covered with murals, frescoes, and paintings
depicting various scenes from daily life. Other walls are covered with intricate
carvings, mosaic, and minute mirror work.
Amber Fort is divided into
four sections. Each is accessible via large staircases from a central location,
or from a broad pathway leading to each of the sections. The pathways are currently
used to transport tourists via an elephant ride. The main entrance of Amber Fort,
Surajpol, leads to the Jaleb chowk, the main courtyard of the Fort where the staircase
to the palace is located. In ancient times, Jaleb Chowk was the area where returning
armies were paraded back home.
Just prior to the palace entrance is a
narrow staircase leading to the Kali Temple, also known as the Shila Devi Temple,
made popular for its enormous silver lions. The origins and purpose of these large
lions is still unknown. The Kali Temple is known for its silver doors with raised
reliefs. According to legends, Maharaja Man Singh I had worshiped Kali for a victory
over the rulers of Bengal. The legend says that Kali appeared in the Maharaja's
dream and ordered him to recover her statue from the Jessore seabed (now in Bangladesh)
and place it in an appropriate temple. The accuracy of the legend has not been
verified. However, it is said that the Maharaja recovered the statue from the
bed of the sea and created the temple. A tourist curiosity is an image of Ganesha
at the temple entrance, carved entirely from a single piece of coral.
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