Sunday, 14 April 2019

The Palace in the Sky - Amber Fort, Jaipur



I spotted this dress on eBay last week, it wasn't listed as vintage and was described as "Abigail's Party, perfect for a fancy dress party". I was the only bidder and won it for a song. Now I'm a big fan of Mike Leigh and loved Abigail's Party (link HERE) but fail to see any resemblance between this early '70s embroidered crepe maxi and Beverley's tiered polyester confection. As for fancy dress party, I wore it with my lavender Docs this morning for a trip to the DIY superstore. In my world every day is a fancy dress party.


I don't know about Easy like Sunday Morning, round here it's more like Freezy like Sunday Morning, it's positively Baltic out there today. We've lit a fire and abandoned all intentions of doing anything outside. I've been scrolling through our India photos, trying to recall the delicious 20°C winter warmth of Rajasthan just over eight weeks ago and realised I'd omitted to write about our trip to Amber Fort.

Better sort that out.


On the crest of a rocky hill seven miles north of Jaipur, Amber (often written as Amer) was the capital of the Kachchwaha Rajput clan from 1037 until 1727 when Jai Singh established his new city at Jaipur. Although Amber's buildings aren't as spectacular as those at Jaipur, the setting - perched high on a narrow rocky ridge above the surrounding countryside and fortified by natural hills and high ramparts - it is unforgettably dramatic.


It's a steep climb up from Amber town and you'll run the gauntlet of hawkers, beggars and itinerant musicians along the way. It is possible to visit the fortress on elephant-back but animal welfare groups have criticised the keeping of elephants at Amber (there's posters imploring tourists not to take elephant rides throughout Jaipur) because of reports of abuse and because of the carrying passengers can cause lasting injuries to the animals.


You'll enter through Sutaj Pole (the Sun Gate) which leads into the large Jaleb Chowk courtyard at the entrance to the main palace complex. 

Jaleb Chowk courtyard
A steep flight of steps ascends to Singh Pole (Lion Gate), the entrance to the main palace. The architectural style is distinctly Rajput but, from the mirrored mosaics covering the walls, it's pretty clear that there was a strong Moghul influence.



Singh Pole leads to the first of the palace's main courtyards, on the far side of which is the open-sided pavilion known as Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Attendance), constructed in 1639. 

Diwan-i-Am

Opposite, the exquisitely painted Ganesh Pole marks the entrance to a second courtyard, its right side filled with a miniature fountain-studded garden, behind which lie the rooms of Sukh Mahal. The marble rooms here were once cooled by water channeled through small conduits carved into the walls, an early and ingenious system of air conditioning. 

Ganesh Pole



Sukh Mahal

On the opposite side of the courtyard the Sheesh Mahal contains what were the Maharajah and his queen's private chambers, the walls and ceilings are decorated with intricate mosaics fashioned out of shards of mirror and coloured glass. Beyond the Sheesh Mahal, on the far side of the courtyard, a narrow stairwell winds up to the small Jas Mahal, decorated with similar mosaics and guarded from the sun by delicately carved marble screens.  

Sheesh Mahal

Sheesh Mahal

Sheesh Mahal


From the rear of the Sheesh Mahal courtyard, a narrow corridor transports you into another courtyard and the heart of the Palace of Man Singh I, the oldest part of the palace complex. The buildings here are plain and austere compared to the later structures, although they would have originally been richly decorated and furnished.

Maharajah Man Singh I (1550 - 1614) SOURCE
Within the Palace of Man Singh I




Below the palace, the atmospheric but little visited Amber town, is full of remnants of Kachchwaha rule as well as home to the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing (which I wrote about HERE).


Amber Fort: 

Admission fee Rs.550 for Foreign Tourists & Rs.100 for Indians
Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM (Daily)
Getting there: A cycle rickshaw takes around 40 minutes and costs Rs.400 (around £4) from Jaipur city. 



 I can feel the sun on my skin again (or is that the heat from the log fire?)  

See you soon!

45 comments:

  1. It's flipping freezing here too!! I was glad to see your photos of warmth. More architectural love. Great score on that dress, it's a beauty xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm happy that the weather's warmed up a bit today - I've been so cold this last couple of weeks. x

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  2. there is water in the pond!!
    the palace is so beautiful and looks almost unreal in the middle of this dust dry hills.... we spend half a day there - mirror, marble, gemstone mosaics are so faszinating - especially in this abundance.
    wish i´d knew about the textile museum back then......
    new dress is sweet - the seller never saw a real fancy dress of our books :-D
    xxxx

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    1. I couldn't get over those mirrored mosaics, so beautiful and, like you say, there in the middle of such a arid and inhospitable place. xxx

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  3. Nice to have memories to remind you of the warmth , Lovely photos once again vix xx , It is bitter isn't it i went to peg some sheets out and the washing line collapsed with all my white sheets on the floor , secretly glad i haven't got to go out to fetch it in though lol xxx

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    1. Ha! I like your style. It was awful over the weekend, looking good for this one - hooray! xxx

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  4. Freezing here too, and almost tempted to light the furnace again. Beautiful pictures. All those mosaics must be mind-bogglingly lovely in person.

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    1. Spring is so cruel, taunting us like this! Those mosaics are utterly incredible and to think they've survived for so long. xxx

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  5. Such pretty structures. I know what you mean, I gaze at our pics of Mexico and remember the 30 degree celcius temps :) but now I've gotten our flights booked back, just a matter of counting weeks off (too far away). Five degrees here right now and rainy

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    1. I can't even get my head around Goa's sizzling temperature. I've forgotten what it's like to sweat! xxx

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  6. What a beautiful place - great photos.

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  7. What a fabulous dress, it looks stunning on you! Can't really see the link with Abigail's Party and fancy dress. Then again, I once visited a vintage shop where they had a rail of the most fabulous frocks, which they called their fancy dress clothes. Sigh! It's been utterly cold here today as well, so it was a treat to see the photos of your trip to Amber Fort! What a spectacular setting! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Ann! No, I can't either. People do have a funny idea of what's flamboyant, doen't they? xxx

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  8. That's a pretty little dress - suits you. Oh yes, I am so cold with this freezing air temp I just can't get cosy, have the heating up full blast and wearing two pairs of leggings! India with all its heat and dust would suit be just fine.

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    1. Gah! It really has been cold. Thank heavens for this respite - long may it last. xxx

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  9. That's a lovely dress, perfect for a trip to the grocery store! I love those lavender Docs!

    Gorgeous pictures - it's so vivid and bright! Thank you for sharing them - I can almost feel the hot sun!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! Those lavender Docs caught my eye in their half price sale, not my usual colour but I love them! x

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  10. I'm sick of being cold now Vix. Got fooled into thinking it was going to be a nice day by the sun early this morning so went out without a coat...ha....big mistake....by the time we had travelled the four miles to Uttoxeter Racecourse it was windy and absolutely freezing.
    The quilt show was good but I was glad to get home and get warm.

    Love the pictures of India....especially those gorgeous mosaics.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. Oh my life, you poor thing. Sunday was just hideous! xxx

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  11. Love your everyday fancy party dress!! That place is stunning !!

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    1. Isn't it gorgeous? I wish I'd been a maharajah's wife! xxx

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  12. beautiful series of photos....thank you for sharing.
    Have a wonderful weekend

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  13. Such beautiful mosaic detail. You photography and fashion skills are amazing!

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  14. Why can't everyday be a chance to dress up? It's fun, I love dressing up!

    The Amber Fort looks interesting! Marble rooms cooled by water channeled through conduits in the walls? That's really clever. I wonder how effective it was.

    Hope your week is not too freezing! X

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    1. Exactly!! Some folk are strange!
      They were centuries ahead of us with their innovations, those Rajputs! xxx

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  15. What an incredible fort!

    That dress is smashing, and it looks brilliant with those boots. 'Very Abigail's Party' is a phrase Pete uses when I'm looking at something 60s/70s that he thinks is a bit loud...

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    1. Is really is - well worth a bumpy rickshaw ride into the sticks!
      Ha! I wonder if that was the seller's thinking, all her other clothes are of the Per Una variety! xxx

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  16. It's a lovely dress, fits you like a dream, and you rock your lavender martens!. I totally love the 'everyday is a fancy dress party' attitude!, it puts a smile on my face and inspires me to dress up!
    Sorry that you're having such a damn cold!. We're going to 'welcome' this cold front tomorrow, according to the forecast!
    Love those pictures, the magnificent building, the decorations, the atmosphere! Thanks for sharing them and cheer up our day!
    besos

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    1. Oh no, I hope that horrid cold bypasses you, it's been dire here!
      Yes, every day is a fancy dress party. xxx

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  17. What a nice thing to do on a chilly afternoon, almost worth having cold weather for. I do think Indian architecture is amongst some of the best in the world. The attention to detail is amazing as is the fabulous things you find on eBay. That’s a lovely dress xxx

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    1. It's breathtaking, it really is. I needed to sit back and reflect, we saw so much beauty we were a overwhelmed by the end of the fortnight! xxx

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  18. We've been promised a warm Easter weekend! Fingers crossed. Fab dress, how can anyone think it's just for fancy dress?!
    xx

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    1. Some folk are very strange!
      It's warmed up here today - the arms have been out - yay! xxx

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    2. Yay! It's lovely here too, let's hope it's here to stay
      xx

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  19. The dress is just wonderful , agree that every day is dress up day, why waste it not making an effort. Sorry about your icey blasts, hope Spring comes soon.
    thanks for posting the Amber Fort pictures, what an incredible place, so interesting.


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    1. Thanks, Jill! I can't be doing with saving clothes for best (or fancy dress!) xxx

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  20. The Sheesha Mahal is beautiful. It's warmer here today but not as lovely as it looks in those photos obviously!
    Your dress looks fab, I can't imagine why it was described as 'Abigail's Party' though? xxx

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    1. It has warmed up a bit here - I think we're on a par with winter in Jaipur now! xxx

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  21. The maxi dress worn with dr. Martens is beautiful. We have some cold weather too last weekend. I remember wearing a sweater under my white shirt and a coat on top- don't remember when I last did something like that. Anyhow, I can see how it made you recall the India vacation and miss the sun.

    Amber fortress and city looks amazing. The views and the surroundings are amazing. India is such a gorgeous country. I love the Sheesh Mahal!The queen and king's quarters are a sight to behold.

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    1. Hope you've got some of this warmth now - finally sunshine has arrived in the UK! x

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  22. And again a fab dress which looks amazing on you! And I am so glad that you discovered some "nuts for winter" - photos of your earlier travel. I will sure read your Indian posts when I have a little more free time, I always enjoy them. The early air-conditioning system does sound genius! And the details of architecture and interior design are simply breathtaking.

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    1. Thanks so much, Natalia. It's lovely to hear from you! x

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xxx