AMER FORT (11 Kms)
It was the capital of Kachhwahas for six centuries before the foundation of Jaipur. Amer stands a top a range of craggy hills. The fort is remarkable as much for the majestic grandeur of its sourranding as for its sturdy battlements and beautiful places. It is a fine blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
A beautiful complex of places, halls, pavellions, garden and temples built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh over a period of about two centuries still stand in magnificent state.
Ascent to the fort on gaily caprisoned elephant to various palaces with rooms and stunning beauty including the World's finest chamber of mirrors and the temples of Kali.
The City Palace complex lies at the heart of the city. Getting in is simpler than it once was. Though the erstwhile maharaja and his family and close friends use the triple-arched Tripolia Gate to enter their section of the palace, most visitors are ushered in through Atish Pol which is located close to the royal stables. At the heart of the complex is the seven-tiered Chandra Mahal where the erstwhile royal family is still in Residence, though only a small part of the apartments are occupied. However, it is only the buildings around Chandra Mahal that are open to the public, and these also form part of a museum which includes everthing from grand outfits (including one with 18 kilos of golden thread woven into it) to swords and two silver urns that are believed to be the largest silver objects in the world. The architecture seems to consist of a number of arched., pillared halls, while courtyards with painted doorways are a prominent feature.
HAWA MAHAL (The palace of Winds)
Located to one side, but a part of the City Palace complex, Hawa Mahal is best viewed from the street outside. If it were not for the bustling bazaar all around, it would have been easy to mistake it for a film set, so exqusitely is it proportioned and so incongruous is its delicacy. Hawa Mahal consists of five tiers of corridors on the inside, with pierced screen windows that overlook the street below. It is believed that women of the royal zenana would sit concealed behind this screen to see life in the city beyond the walls of the palace.
A stone observatory, part of the City Palace complex, Jantar Mantar is one of several other astronomical observatories created by Maharaja Swai Jai singh 11 (others are in delhi, Banars, Ujain). Jai singh 11 had a passion for astronomy and used astronomical inventions from different cultures in the creation of these observatories, the largest of which is in Jaipur.
It is housed in the Albert Hall in the Ram Niwas Public Garden, south of the old city. Exhibts include models of yogis adopting various positions, tribal ware, dioramas depicting various Rajasthani dances and sections on his decorative arts, musical instruments and tribal costumes. To the left of Albert Hall is the Durbar Hall and it houses a collection of old carpets, some 400 years old.
The park supports a population of 375 species of birds, numerous mammals and reptiles With the onset of winter, migratory birds from all over world come here. They arrive by August and leave in early March. Visitors include Coot Snipes, Spanish Sparrow, Red Crested Porhard, Rosy Pelican and Flamingo & Indian sarus. The special attraction, however, remains the arrival of the rare Siberian Crane. The park is also rich in Pythons, Spotted Deer, Sambhars, Blue Bull, Black Buck, Jackals, Otters, Fishing Cats, and Monitor Lizards.