When I was quite young we stopped at Fort Ticonderoga in New York State on one of our family vacations. A colonial era fort, Ticonderoga stayed in my memory as one of my favorite places so much that I had my family stop there about five years ago. Somehow, it had shrunk and my kids were not impressed.
Well, travelfans, do I have a fort for you!!! Imagine, if you will, the Amber Fort of Jaipur, high on a ridge overlooking the valley. Built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, this palace has it all: amazing architectural details and wonderful stairways and corridors that beckon you on and on.
But first, let me set the tone.You should stop first by the lake and visit with the snake charmer. For a small fee you, too, can blow on the nasally sounding flute and keep a close eye on the cobra. Then climb aboard one of the wonderfully decorated elephants
and ride in leisure up up up the climbing roadway to the Sun Gate.
Try to ignore the vendor running alongside enticing you with an ever declining price for the elephant bedspread he is hawking. Tell him it is made poorly and you have no interest, tossing it back to him continuously as the elephant takes you higher and higher. Remember to ignore the vendor to take in the view of the gardensand the fortress wall climbing the opposite hillside. When you enter the courtyard and he is losing hope, pay the man 10% of his originally stated price and tuck the blanket away, to be used later to sew custom made bags for people who want one that has an essence of this trip.
And then look around the courtyard.
And start exploring. So much to see. The stairs beckoning you upwards to the plaza.
The mosaics all over the place, in the walls, in the ceilings….everywhere.
Remind yourself that this all was built in 1592, well over 400 years ago. Enjoy the colors
and the carvings. Everywhere, more detailing.
Every ceiling different. And the passageways….follow this one…then that one.
Ask someone who works there how to get back to the courtyard where Arvind asked everyone to meet in 20 minutes before moving to another section of the fort.
Meet up with the group in time and maintain your good standing. And then go again. See another section…it is a huge place.
Peek out of windows to view other places inside the fort and the surrounding countryside.
And then down another passageway
and still more to see with huge cooking pots.
and then out beyond the outer gate past more vendors and then a jeep ride back to the bus.
Amber Fort……put it on your list of places to visit, but only if you like to explore. You DO like to explore, don’t you!!