If there is one absolute must see in Jaipur, it has to be the Amber (pronounced Amer) Fort. A fine specimen of the seamless blend of Mughal and Hindu styles of architecture, Amber fort-palace is a classical example of romantic forts for which Rajasthan is known all over the world.
11 km from Jaipur city, the Amber Fort is one six hill forts of Rajasthan which have been recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Jaisalmer, Ranthambhore and Gagaron are the other five forts. Amber was the capital of the Kachhawa rulers till 1727 A.D when Jaipur was made capital in place of Amber by Maharaja Jai Singh who founded the Jaipur city.
The construction of the Amber Fort was commenced in 1592 by Man Singh I, one of the foremost generals of Mughal emperor Akbar, and completed by his successor Jai Singh I. Made of red sandstone and marble and located high on a hill, the Amber Fort consists of a sprawling collection of fairytale buildings including palaces, halls, pavilions as well as temples and gardens. In the foreground of the fort is beautiful Maota Lake.
The Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace) and Palace of Man Singh I are the most conspicuous buildings inside the Amber Fort. Inside the Amber for you can also find Shila Devi Temple where is enshrined an image of the goddess Kali, the patron goddesses of the Amber rulers.
Jas Mahal, a hall of private audience, is another famous building within the Amber Fort. Embellished with floral glass inlays and alabaster relief work, smooth marble lattices, Jas Mahal is a visual treat.
Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the sixth century old royal fort, outlining the glory of the Rajput Kachhawa rulers and their traditions, are held in the Amber Fort in the evening. During the 50-minute show, the colorful glittering lights reflect beautifully on the Maota Lake.
Last but not the least an elephant ride to the Amber fort is a sheer delight.