The first time you approach Amber, in the morning, you’re transported to another time. To the Amber India when maharajas ruled and the elephant was an important servant for transportation and even battles in war.
Amber, pronounced Am-air, is about a 30 minute auto rickshaw ride from Jaipur. If you want the full transport back in time with elephants and all you need to be there between 8-11 in the morning. By noon it’s far too hot for the elephants and they are put to rest for the remainder of the day.
On my most recent visit I chose not to ride the elephants. It’s your choice. Much has been said about the treatment of the them. I don’t know how much of it is true. I’m not comfortable riding them but that’s a personal choice. They are amazing to see march of the stone path to the fort and palace. It is the romantic India at it’s best. The pink sandstone and marble fort and palace above the lake with these beautiful majestic creatures dressed up, bejewelled in fine painted colors. Maybe there’s something to be said for keeping them as working elephants. The more they connect with people the more we take an interest in their future well being? Maybe.
Kings, maharajas created their power and importance with the help of a ride on an elephant. Up until the 19th century armies used them in battle. In most of the forts in Rajatshan, India you’ll see special doors used to keep elephants from smashing through.
Amber is a mix of Hindu and and Mogul architecture. Think temples ala Taj Mahal with typical features of a Rajasthani palace. The Diwani-I-Aam where the maharaja would see people and hold audience. The Suhk Niwas or pleasure palace where he would invite the ladies of his harem for food and fun. The Zenna, or palace of the women. Their private residence with special corridors that would hide them from the public.
You can only image these people, the goings on, the stories. The elephants though are here and now. They help the past come alive with pageantry and their noble presence. I just love them! I hope they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.
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