Jaipur is one of the most enchanting cities with it’s stunning architecture, bright tiles, and intricate designs that contrast starkly against rolling, desert hills. Also known as the “Pink City” for it’s predominant building colors, Jaipur embodies the Royal Family that once ruled the area. Sitting as the capital of India’s Rajasthan state, Jaipur is the perfect gateway and introduction to yet another fascinating area of India.
After an exciting first day in Delhi, we departed the city and made our way to Jaipur. After a lengthy 5 hour trip (with stops!), we arrived in Jaipur by the evening. Dara provided us with a brief introduction and brought us to the Jal Mahal, or Water Palace, which was glowing beautifully among the water at sunset. After this quick detour, Dara brought us to our hotel, the luxurious Samode Haveli and bid us farewell, until the next morning.
We passed by the Ajmeri Gate as we entered Jaipur, showcasing the red sandstone that the Pink City is named after.
Before heading to the famous Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort), Dara took us to a historic area known as Panna Meena ka Kund. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of the patterned step well that made this remarkable site so frequented. Aside from our furry friends (a few “black-faced” monkeys), the remote rainwater catchment was peaceful and free from tourists, allowing us to soak in the sites all to ourselves.
If you have extra time before or after your visit to Amer Fort, I highly recommend stopping by this area. It is rich with history and a nice break from all of the usual sites and tourists.
Just outside the Panna Meena ka Kund lies a secluded temple, which exults beautiful carvings throughout.
Everywhere we went, the designs and carvings left us speechless. The intricacy, craftsmanship, and time that went into each of these sacred buildings is astounding. Needless to say, we spent an undocumented amount of time studying the carvings in complete awe.
The Amer Fort was a place we had only seen in pictures until now, and to be quite frank, those pictures did not do it justice. Standing high above Jaipur in all of its beauty and glory, the Fort parades opulent designs and tiles, all erected out of marble and red sandstone. I cannot begin to describe the astonishment faced when exploring the palace: every element of design and architecture seemed to be hand-picked for its residents and for good reason! The Ganesh Pol Entrance above, for example, lead to the private palaces of the Maharajas.
After advising us of the most-common tourist traps and scams, Dara dropped us off at winding steps that led to the entrance of the fort. With too many water bottles to count in tow, we marched up towards the ticket counter and onward into the first courtyard.
I couldn’t help but snap away at the incredible views we had on top of the Fort!
We spent a significant amount of time in the first courtyard, not realizing there were three more to go! The area above overlooks the Maota Lake, which was once the main source of water for the Fort. The layers of sophisticated archways led us straight to the most stunning views of the lake from the Fort.
Overlooking Maota Lake, we saw a small heard of Rajasthan water buffalo satisfying their thirst in the hot and humid heat.
Past the Second Courtyard, we were greeted by a dazzling array of mirrored pieces in an area known as non-other than the Mirror Palace. The Mirror Palace and surrounding gardens in the Third Courtyard were nothing like we’d ever seen before. Attempting to fathom the artistry devoted to each of the designs, individual mirror pieces and corresponding carvings was incomprehensible! We were left speechless once again.
Tempted by it’s radiance, we found ourselves admiring each and every individual fragment and carving as the room full of mirrored pieces begged us to stay.
Once we managed to part ways with the palace, we were greeted by lush gardens which was a rare site to see among the desert landscape of Rajasthan.
The ornate gardens were designed to resemble those of the Mughal Gardens, which incorporated Islamic architecture in the build and design.
After meandering throughout the Fort for a few hours, we decided it was time to part ways and meet Dara for lunch.
The Amer Fort is a majestic architectural piece that will leave you completely enthralled in it’s history, design, and architecture. I recommend setting aside 3-4 hours to enjoy the Fort in it’s entirety, as there is so much to see, admire, and learn about. You can hire a guide at the entrance gate and ticket counter to learn a bit more about the history of the Fort, but we opted to teach ourselves along the way by indulging in the informative plaques scattered throughout.
Another item to note is to bring water (and lots of it)! The Fort is entirely outdoors and when you plan on spending 3-4 hours there in the heat, I recommend bringing lots of water and sunscreen. We had Dara take us here mid-morning so we could enjoy lunch, an afternoon nap, and a cool dip in the hotel pool to escape the heat after sauntering around the Fort.