The first view of Amer fort is breathtaking. As the car reaches a lake on the left, two forts built at different levels on the Aravalli Mountain range can be seen on the other side. They are crag forts with the walls following the rocky contours of the range. Our guide meets us there and we commence our visit of the fort and all that it holds.
We are told that the Amer fort was really a palace and the fort structure above it was really the fort for protection of the palace below. The Jaigarh fort is connected through subterranean passages with the palace which could be used by the inhabitants of the latter including the royal family to move to the safety of the fortifications, should the need arise due to an enemy attack. How many times did the Rajas of the Amer palace have to do this, I wonder?
As we enter Amer fort through the Suraj Pol or the sun gate, my mind’s eye can see the vision of Raja Man Singh on horseback entering with his army after his victory over the Raja of Jessore in the faraway lands of Bengal. It is said that after his defeat, the Raja of Jessore gifted a black stone slab. The slab carried the legend of king Kansa killing Lord Krishna’s newly born elder siblings on it. On his return, Man Singh ordered that the stone be used to carve out the image of Durga, the slayer of the demon king Mahishasur, and installed in the fort’s temple.
Getting into the inside courtyards, one sees the huge influence of Mughal architecture with the Diwan-e-Am, the Diwan-e- Khas, the Sheesh Mahal and the Moghul Garden waiting to be explored. As I stand there, looking around me at the private quarters of the twelve queens of Raja Man Singh, do I hear the eager footsteps of the favoured queen on the staircase going up to meet her Raja?