Must-See: Amber Fort, Rajasthan

Rajasthan - even the name sounded magical to me. I had dreamed of going there for years, ever since I had seen it in a National Geographic video my dad had given me one birthday.

When I finally made it there, it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped. One of my favorite places I visited during my trip to Rajasthan was the Amber Fort....

Elephants in colorful array carry visitors up the steep, winding path. I pictured people traveling up the same way for centuries and the romance of stepping into history seduced me. I stood in the rain for an eternity waiting for my turn to ride my very own festively attired elephant.

The elephants were every bit as majestic as I had expected, colorful and wonderful except for one thing - their sad eyes. I will never forget them.

Fortunately, the other surprises in store for me that day were all positive. I was blown away by the beauty of the interior of the fort. It was one seriously cool crib.

This is the Ganesh Gate, which served as the entry to the Maharajas' private palaces. Talk about curb appeal!

Notice above the gate there are latticed windows. Women of the royal family would stand up there and peer through them. Did the women feel at all held back? I wondered. Or did they simply feel safe and protected, simply privileged?

They certainly lived surrounded by beauty! Just look at the details, the incredible ornateness of the Mirror Palace.

Less glitzy, but nonetheless beautiful is the Palace of Man Singh I. The walls of its courtyard and the roof of the Baradhari pavilion in its center are weathered, but it is easy to see how beautiful it was in all its glory.

Such beauty and yet I wondered - would I feel trapped if I spent my days within these walls, in the inner apartments reserved for women, glimpsing at the outside world through lattice? I don't know.

What I do know is that it is very clear why Rajasthan's Amber Fort is a must-see!

- Anis

Photo credits: photos by author