Padharo Mhare Desh......

Monday, 3 November 2014

About Amer Fort



Amer Fort (Hindi: आमेर क़िला, also spelled and pronounced as Amber Fort) is located inAmer (a town with an area of 4 square kilometres (1.5 sq mi)), 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India. It is one of the principal tourist attractions in the Jaipur area, located high on a hill. Amer Fort was made by Raja Man Singh I. Amer Fort is known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu Rajput elements. The fort with its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, overlooks the Maota Lake, at its forefront

The aesthetic ambiance of this formidable fort is seen within its walls on a four level (each with a courtyard) layout plan in well turned out opulent palace complex built with red sandstone and marble consisting of the Diwan-e-Aam or the "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-e-Khas or the "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over the water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace. The palace was lived in by the Rajput Maharajasand their families. At the entrance to the palace near the fort’s Ganesh Gate, there is also a temple dedicated to Sila Devi, a goddess of the Chaitanya cult which was gifted to Raja Mansingh when he had defeated the Raja of Jessore in Bengal (Jessore is now inBangladesh) in 1604.

This fort along with Jaigarh Fort located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of same Aravalli range of hills, is considered as one complex, as the two are well connected by subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war for the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort.

Annual tourist visitation to the Amer Palace in Amer town was reported by the Superintendent of Department of Archaeology and Museums to the Amer Palace as 5000 visitors a day, and 1.4 million visitors were reported during 2007.
Etymology

Amber or Amer Fort's name is derived from Amba, the Mother Goddess.

Geography

Maota Lake and Garden below the Amer Fort

Amer Fort is situated on a forested hill premonitory, above the Maota Lake near Amer village, about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur city, the Capital of Rajasthan. It currently sits near the National Highway, which goes to Delhi.  A narrow jeepable road leads up to the entrance gate, known as the Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate, of the fort. Elephant rides are also taken through narrow passage through the Sun Gate.

History

Amer was known in the medieval period as Dhundar (meaning attributed to a sacrificial mount in the western frontiers) and ruled by the Kachwahas from the 11th century onwards – between 1037 and 1727 AD, till the capital was moved from Amer to Jaipur. The history of Amer is indelibly linked to these rulers as they founded their empire at Amer.

Earlier to the Kachwahas, Amer was a small place built by the Meenas in the town they consecrated to Amba, the Mother Goddess, whom they knew as `Gatta Rani' or `Queen of the Pass'. The Amer Fort, as it stands now, was built over the remnants of this earlier structure during the reign of Raja Man Singh, Commander in Chief of Akbar’s army and a member of the Emperor's inner circle of nine courtiers, in 1592. The structure was fully expanded by his descendant, Jai Singh I. Even later, Amer Fort underwent improvements and additions by successive rulers over the next 150 years, until the Kachwahasshifted their capital to Jaipur during the time of Sawai Jai Singh II, in 1727.

Many of the ancient structures of the medieval period of the Meenas have been either destroyed or replaced. However, the 16th century impressive edifice of the Amer Fort and the palace complex within it built by the Rajput Maharajas are very well preserved.

Layout

The fort is divided into four main sections each with its own entry gate and courtyard.

View of the Amer fort.

Main entry is through the Suraj Pole (Sun Gate) which leads to Jaleb Chowk, which is the first main courtyard. This was the place where armies would hold victory parades with their war bounty on their return from battles, which were also witnessed by the Royal family women folk through the latticed windows. This gate was built exclusively and was provided with guards as it was the main entry into the palace. It faced the eastern direction towards the rising Sun and hence the name. Royal cavalcades and dignitaries entered the palace through this gate.

Jaleb Chowk is an Arabic usage, which means a place for soldiers to assemble. This is one of the four courtyards of the Amer Palace, which was built during Sawai Jai Singh’s reign (1693–1743 AD). The Maharaja's personal bodyguards held parades here under the command of the army commander orFauj Bakshi. The Maharaja used to inspect the Guards contingent. At this location, the horse stables were also located where its upper level rooms were occupied by the guards.

First courtyard

                                 Left: Latticed screens above Ganesh Pol. Right: View of Ganesh Pol.

An impressive stairway from the Jaleb Chowk leads into the main palace grounds. Here, at the entrance itself to the right of the stairway steps is the Sila Devi temple where the Rajput Maharajas offered worship, starting with Maharaja Mansingh in the 16th century till the 1980s, when the animal sacrifice ritual (sacrifice of a buffalo) practiced by the royalty was stopped .

Ganesh Pol or the Ganesh Gate, named after the Hindu god Lord Ganesh who removes all obstacles in life, is the entry into the private palaces of the Maharajas. It is a three level structure which has many frescoes and was also built at the orders of the Mirza Raja Jai Singh(1621–1627) and leads to the private quarters of the royal family. Above this gate is the Suhag Mandir where ladies of the royal family used to watch through the latticed windows functions held in the Diwan-i-Am.

Sila Devi temple

Embossed double leaf silver door entry in to the Sila Devi temple

On the right side of the Jaleb Chowk there is a small but an elegant temple called the Sila Devi (an incarnation of Kali or Durga) temple. The entrance to the temple is through silver sheet covered double leaf gate with raised relief. The main deity inside the sanctum is flanked by two lions made in silver. The legend attributed to the installation of this deity is that Maharaja Man Singh sought blessings of Kali for victory in the battle against the Raja of Jessore in Bengal. The goddess instructed the Raja, in a dream, to retrieve her image from the sea bed and install and worship it. The Raja, after he won the battle of Bengal in 1604, retrieved the idol from the sea and installed it in the temple and called it as Sila Devi as it was carved out of one single piece of a stone slab. At the entrance to the temple, there is also a carving of Lord Ganesha, which is made out of a single piece of coral stone.

Another version of the Sila Devi installation is that Raja Man Singh, after defeating the Raja of Jessore, received a gift of a black stone slab which was credited with link to the Mahabharata epic story in which Kansa had killed older siblings of Lord Krishna on this stone. In exchange for this gift Man Singh returned the kingdom he had won to the Raja of Bengal. This stone was then used to carve the image of DurgaMahishasuramardini who had slain the demon king Mahishasura, and installed it in the fort temple as Sila Devi. The Sila Devi was worshiped from then onwards as the lineage deity of the Rajput family of Jaipur. However, their family deity continued to beJamva Mata of Ramgarh.

Another practice that is associated with this temple is the religious rites of animal sacrifice during the festival days ofNavrathri (Nine days festival celebrated twice in a year). The practice was to sacrifice a buffalo and also goats on the eighth day of the festival in front of the temple, which would be done in the presence of the royal family, watched by a large gathering of devotees. This practice was banned under law from 1975, where after the sacrifice is being held within the palace grounds in Jaipur, strictly as a private event with only the close kin of the royal family watching the event. However, the practice of animal sacrifice has been totally stopped at the temple premises and offerings made to the goddess are only of the vegetarian type.

Second courtyard

The second courtyard, up the main stairway of the first level courtyard, houses the Diwan-i-Am or the Public Audience Hall. Built with double row of columns, the Diwan-i-Am is a raised platform with 27 colonnades, each of which is mounted with elephant shaped capital with galleries above it. As the name suggests, the Raja held audience here to hear and receive petitions from the public.

Third courtyard

                                 Left: Mirrored ceiling in the Mirror Palace. Right: Sheesh Mahal Interior.

The third courtyard is where the private quarters of the Maharaja, his family and attendants were built. This courtyard is entered through the Ganesh Pol or Ganesh Gate, which is embellished with mosaics and sculptures. The court yard has two buildings, one opposite to the other, separated by a garden laid in the fashion of the Mughal Gardens. The building to the left of the entrance gate is called the Jai Mandir, which is exquisitely beautified with glass inlaid panels and multi-mirrored ceilings. The mirrors are of convex shape and designed with coloured foil and paint which would glitter bright under candle nights at the time it was in use. Also known as Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), the mirror mosaics and coloured glasses were "glittering jewel box in flickering candle light". However, most of this work was allowed to deteriorate during the period 1970–80 but has since then been subjected to a process of restoration and renovation. Carved marble relief panels are placed on walls around the hall. The hall provides enchanting vistas of the Maota Lake.

The other building seen in the court yard is opposite to the Jai Mandir and is known as the Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mahal (Hall of Pleasure). This hall is approached through a sandalwood door with marble inlay work with perforations. A piped water supply flows through an open channel that runs through this edifice keeping the environs cool, as in an air conditioned environment. The water from this channel was led into the garden.

Magic flower

A particular attraction here is the “magic flower” fresco carved in marble at the base of one of the pillars around the mirror palace which is identified by two hovering butterflies depiction; the flower has seven unique designs of fish tail, a lotus, a hooded cobra, an elephant trunk, a lion’s tail, a cob of corn and a scorpion, each is viewed by a particular way of partial hiding of the panel with hands.

Palace of Man Singh I

                                 Left: The magic flower fresco. Right: Baradhari pavilion at Man Singh I Palace Square.

South of this courtyard lies the Palace of Man Singh I, which is the oldest part of the palace fort. The palace took 25 years to build and was completed in 1599 during the reign of Raja Man Singh I (1589–1614). It is the main palace. In the central courtyard of the palace is the pillaredbaradari or pavilion; frescoes and coloured tiles decorate the ground and upper floor rooms in this palace. This pavilion (which used to be curtained for privacy) was used as the meeting venue by the maharanis (queens of the royal family). All sides of this pavilion are connected to several small rooms with open balconies. The exit from this palace leads to the Amer village, a heritage town with many temples, palatial houses and mosques.

Garden

The garden, located between the Jai Mandir on the east and the Sukh Niwas on the west, both built on high platforms in the third courtyard, was built by Mriza Raja Jai Singh (1623–68). It is patterned on the lines of the Chahar Bagh or Mughal Garden. It is in sunken bed, shaped in a hexagonal design. It is laid out with narrow channels lined with marble around a star shape pool with a fountain at the centre. Water for the garden is led from the Sukh Niwas cascades of water channel and also from the cascade channels called the"chini khana niches" that originate from terrace of the Jai Mandir.

Tripolia gate

Tripolia gate means three gates. It is an access to the palace from the west. It opens in three directions, one to the Jaleb Chowk, another to the Man Singh Palace and the third one to the Zenana Deorhi on the south.

Lion gate

The Lion gate, the premier gate, was once a guarded gate, leads in to the private quarters in the palace premises and is titled 'Lion Gate' indicative of strength. It was built during the reign of Sawai Jai Singh (1699–1743 AD). It is covered with frescoes and its alignment is zigzag, probably made so from security considerations to attack intruders.

Fourth courtyard

The fourth courtyard is where the Zenana (Royal family women, including concubines or mistresses) lived. This courtyard has many living rooms where the queens resided and who were visited by the king at his choice without being found out as to which queen he was visiting, as all the rooms open into a common corridor.

The queen mothers and the Raja’s consorts lived in this part of the palace in Zanani Deorhi, which also housed their female attendants. The queen mothers took deep interest in building temples in Amer town.

Jas Mandir, a hall of private audience with floral glass inlays and alabaster relief work is also located in this courtyard

Conservation

The Amer town itself, which is an integral and inevitable entry point to the Amer Palace is now a heritage town with its economy dependent on the large influx of tourists (4000 to 5000 a day during peak tourist season). This town is spread over an area of 4 square kilometres (1.5 sq mi) and has 18 temples, 3 Jain mandirs and three mosques. It has been listed by the World Monument Fund (WMF) as one of the 100 endangered sites in the world; funds for conservation are provided by the Roberts Willson Challenge Grant. As of 2005, some 87 elephants lived within the fort grounds, but several were said to be suffering from malnutrition.

Conservation works have been undertaken at the Amer Palace grounds at a cost of Rs 40 crores (US$8.88 million) by the Amer Development and Management Authority (ADMA). However, these renovation works have been a subject of intense debate and criticism with respect to their suitability to maintain and retain the historicity and architectural features of the ancient structures. Another issue which has been raised is the commercialization of the place.

A film unit shooting for a film at the Amer Fort damaged a 500-year-old canopy, demolished the old limestone roof of Chand Mahal, drilled holes to fix sets and spread large quantities of sand in Jaleb Chowk in utter disregard and violation of the Rajasthan Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Antique Act (1961).

The Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court intervened and stopped the film shooting with the observation that "Unfortunately, not only the public but especially the concerned (sic) authorities have become blind, deaf and dumb by the glitter of money. Such historical protected monuments have become a source of income."

Pink City Jaipur




Jaipur  (Rajasthani: जैपर , Hindi: जयपुर Urdu: جئے پور [ˈdʒəjpʊɾ] (  listen)), also popularly known as the 'Pink City', is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of 3.1 million.

Jaipur is one of the finest planned cities of India, located in the semi-desert lands of Rajasthan. The city which once had been the capital of the royalty now is the capital city of Rajasthan. The very structure of Jaipur resembles the taste of the Rajputs and the Royal families. At present, Jaipur is a major business center with all requisites of a metropolitan city.

Some of the famous areas in Jaipur include Mansarovar, the largest housing colony in Asia, Sanganer, famous for handmade paper industry and Sanganeri hand block-printing, Bapu Nagar,Malviya Nagar and Vaishali Nagar.

The city is remarkable among per-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets 34 m (111 ft) wide. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east.


The Palace quarter encloses a sprawling palace complex, (Hawa Mahal), formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort, which was the residence of the King Sawai Jai Singh II, crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. The observatory, Jantar Mantar, is one of the World Heritage Sites.
Included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is an extremely popular tourist destination in Rajasthan and India.

In 1876 Jaipur was colored in terracotta pink to welcome Prince Albert, and thus the name “Pink City” was attached with the city.


History of Jaipur and Kachwaha

Jaipur, Principal Street, c. 1875

In ancient time Jaipur region comes under Matsya Kingdom. Modern Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Ram Seo Master II of Amber who ruled from 1699–1744 and initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur. Finally under the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, (initially an accounts-clerk in the Amber treasury and later promoted to the office of Chief Architect by the King) Jaipur came into existence on the classical basis of principles of Vastu Shastra and similar classical treatise.

After waging several battles with the Marathas, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II was keen on the security aspect of the city. Being a lover of astronomy, mathematics and astrophysics, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him to design many other buildings including the Royal Palace in the center of the city.

The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the science of Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were built along with seven strong gates.

For the time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1876, when the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted pink to welcome him during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh. Today, avenues remain painted in pink, provide a distinctive appearance to the city.[5] In the 19th century the city grew rapidly; by 1900 it had a population of 160,000. The city's wide boulevards were paved and lit.

The city had several hospitals. Its chief industries were of metals and marble, fostered by a school of art (named as 'Madarsa Hunree') founded in 1868. The city also had three colleges, including a Sanskrit college (1865) and a girls' school (1867) initiated under the reign of the enigmatic Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. There was also a wealthy and enterprising community of native bankers, particularly the Jain, Marwaris and the administrators Rawana rajput. Maharaja Rishabh Bhawani Singh, the member of the erstwhile maharaja family of Jaipur, died on 17 April 2011 at a private hospital in Gurgaon following multi-organ failure.


One of the many gated entries to Jaipur

Reach Jaipur by Road
The city of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan and is centrally located. National Highway No.8 links Delhi to Mumbai, National Highway No.12 links to Kota and National Highway No.11links Bikaner to Agra, passing through Jaipur district with a total length of 366 km. The total length of different types of roads in the district was approximately 4,102 km in March 2000.RSRTCoperates bus service to all the parts of Rajasthan and New delhi, Uttar pradesh, Haryana, Madhya pradesh, Gujarat.Bus service is operated from Sindhi camp, Jawahar nagar bus stand, Durgapura bus stand, Sodala bus stand..

Jaipur City bus
City buses are operated by Jaipur City Transport Services Limited(JCTSL).[18] of RSRTC under JNNURM. The total number of city buses being operated stands more than 300. It includes both regular buses and low-floor buses. There are 3 bus depots Vaishali Nagar, vidyadhar nagar and Sanganer.The city bus service covers whole city. AC Low floor buses are also operated by JCTCL. A Hop on Hop off Bus Service is also proposed for tourists.

Jaipur BRTS
Jaipur Bus Rapid Transit Service was approved by government in August 2006 for implementation.The responsibility for managing Jaipur BRTS has been given to JCSTL, a Special Purpose Vehicle formed by Jaipur Development Authority and Jaipur Nagar Nigam in a joint venture.The BRTS is expected to cater to city's growing traffic for next 15–20 years. In Phase I, two corridors have been proposed.
·Sikar Road to Tonk Road – North-South Corridor
·Ajmer Road to Delhi Road – East-West Corridor











Reach Jaipur by Rail
Jaipur is connected to Delhi and a number of towns within Rajasthan. One of the best known trains serving Jaipur is the Palace on Wheels.





Jaipur Metro
A rapid transit rail project by the name Jaipur Metro is under progress. It will provide means of faster commutation for the city residents. It is expected to be operational by 2014.









Reach Jaipur by Air
Jaipur International Airport is situated in its satellite town of Sanganer, at a distance of 10 km from city center and offers sporadic service to major domestic and international locations. The Terminal 1 is used for both international and domestic flights, while Terminal 2 is reserved for domestic carriers. The airport handled 255,704 international and 1,267,876 passengers in 2009–2010.[22] Jaipur Airport also provides air cargo services. The up-gradation of airport has offered improved connectivity and wider choice of services to air travellers, boosting both international tourism and economic development of the region. Frequently, during winter, many flights for Indira Gandhi International Airport are diverted to Jaipur airport due to heavy fog in Delhi