Amber, India

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Amber was a city of Rajasthan state, India, it is now part of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation. Founded by the Meena Raja Alan Singh (He was from Chanda clan of Meenas), Amber was a flourishing settlement as far back as 967 AD. Around 1037 AD, it was conquered by the Kachwaha clan of Rajputs. Much of the present structure known as Amber Fort is actually the palace built by the great conqueror Raja Man Singh I who ruled from 1590 - 1614 AD. The palace contains several spectacular buildings such as the Diwan-i-Khas and the elaborately painted Ganesh Poll built by the renowned warlord Mirza Raja Jai Singh I (Man Singh I's grandson). The old and original fort of Amber dating from earlier Rajas or the Meena period is what is known in the present day as Jaigarh fort, which is actually the main defensive structure, rather than the palace itself, although the two structures are interconnected by series of encompassing fortification.

Amber was capital of the Kachwahas until 1727 when the ruler of Amber Sawai Jai Singh II founded a capital about nine kilometers south of Amber, this new city which was named after him as Jainagara (Jaipur). After the founding of the new town, the royal palace and houses of prominent persons were shifted to Jaipur, but the priests of Shila Devi temple who were Bengali Brahmins continued to live in the fort(to this date), while the Jaigarh fort above the palace also remained heavily garrisoned. The capital of Kachwahas was supplanted by the modern city of Jaipur, which is the capital of Rajasthan state in India.

The picturesque situation of Amber at the mouth of a rocky mountain gorge, in which nestles a lovely lake, has attracted the admiration of all travelers, including Victor Jacquemont and Reginald Heber. It is seen to be a remarkable example for its combined Rajput-Mughal architecture. The first Rajput structure was started by Raja Kakil Dev when Amber became his capital in 1036 on the site of present day Jaigarh Fort.



"No sooner had Mirza completed the Diwan-i-Khas" it is related [citation needed] "than it came to the ears of the emperor Jahangir that his vassal had surpassed him in magnificence, and that this last great work quite eclipsed all the marvels of the imperial city; the columns of red sandstone having been particularly noticed as sculptured with exquisite taste and elaborate detail. In a fit of jealousy the emperor commanded that this masterpiece should be thrown down, and sent commissioners to Amber charged with the execution of this order; whereupon Mirza, in order to save the structure, had the columns plastered over with stucco, so that the messengers from Agra should have to acknowledge to the emperor that the magnificence, which had been so much talked of, was after all pure invention. Since then his apathetic successors have neglected to bring to light this splendid work; and it is only by knocking off some of the plaster that one can get a glimpse of the sculptures, which are perfect as on the day they were carved." [citation needed]

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