Where: Jaipur, depending on where you are in the city around 20-45 scenic minutes by tuk tuk or Uber.
Duration: 1-3 hours. There are so many hidden nooks and crannies in the fort that it would be easy to spend a day trying to find them all. Try to veer out from the main areas and explore the hallways.
Cost: 500 Rupees (approximately $7.50)
A Brief History: Though the name screams war defenses, the Amber Fort acted more as a palace than anything else. It was first built in the sixteenth century, though the structure and layout has changed through the centuries as various Rajas controlled the palace. Inside is an elaborate maze of corridors and open areas. Interestingly, thin sheets would be soaked in water and a plant periodically to keep the royal family cool during the summer.
Point of Interest: There are two very interesting views. One is from the entrance right as you walk in and up the stairs, where mountain peaks are visible just beyond the stone walls of the Fort. The other is near the exit. A Coffee Day shop is built into the fort, and if you order a drink and go out the back, they have a sitting area that affords you the perfect view of mountains and the Nahargahr Fort. Sometimes monkeys can be spotted crawling over the mountainside.
Recommendation: 5/5. Out of all the places we went, the Amber Fort was probably the most fun. It was filled with people the entire time, but it was also easier than the Taj Mahal to escape from the crowds to mill about through the hallways and finding secret stairwells. It’s the perfect place to spend a day taking pictures at.
*Note: The workers here purposefully dress up in saris in order to get their picture taken, so it’s not offensive if you do want to take a picture of them working. However, you should also note that they do expect some sort of tip for their taking their picture.
**Note: When you start meandering through the hidden stairwells and hallways, you’ll notice the security guards rushing different tourists to hidden nooks and crannies. They, too, do this for a tip for finding tourists the best views, but it’s quite easy to follow along with a group to find somewhere new.
***Note: The Amber Fort is also the famous fort where you might take an elephant up to it in the morning (the Fort is up on the side of a mountain). This is at your discretion. While the elephants only are set to work certain times by the government, how their treated outside of that is not as carefully regulated. They are still working. I won’t lie, we took one, but it was not my favorite experience ever and I will not do it again.