Prior to shifting their capital to jaipur amber was the capital of tha kachchhawa Rajputs.
amber was initially under the domain of the Susawt Meena tribals. In the 11th century Dularam the son of Sodhadev Kachachhawa laid tha foundation of tha Kachchhawa dynasty in the dhundhar region .
His son Kakil Dev took over the reifns of Amber from the Meena tribals.
Maharaja Man Singh I started the construction of the new palace complex in the end of the 16th century.
After Maharaja Man Singh I, Mirza Raja Jai Singh I and Sawaijai Singh II made modifications and changes as per the needs from time to time.
They also changed the interior decoration as per their own interest based on the techniques of the time.
The entire palace was constructed in four stages.
Passing through Surajpol and Chandpol one enters Jalab Chowk of the Amber Palace.
Near Singhpol there is the temple dedicated to goddess kali. this sattue of Shila Devi was brought from Bengal by Maharaja Man Singh in 1604 AD.
It was, however, Sawai Man Singh II who elaborately decorated the temple with marble carvings and silver doors which display the nine forms of goddess Durga and the ten forms of goddess Sarswati.
This temple is open for worship from 6.00 a.m. to12 noon and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
To the left of this temple is the great wooden doorway known as Singhpol closely followed by a second wooden door further to the left. This provided a double defence system for the palace.
The frescoes on the Singhpol belong to the 19th century and have a distinictive mughal in fluence. As one enters the palace throough the Singhpol, one steps into the Diwan-e-aam or Hall of Public Audience.
The Diwan-e-aam has a fusion Islamic and Hindu architecture, beautifully put together.
The roof is giving a very straight line effect whereas the ceiling inside is a dome shape.
It was constructed by Mirza Raja Jaisingh I in 1622-1667 AD.
Behind the Diwan-e-aam is Majlis Vilas, a structure constructed during the East India Company rule period with a distinctive Anglo-Indian Architecture.
Sawai Ram Singh (1835-1880 AD) it for hosting enteratainment programmes. Towards the East of the Diwan-e-aam there are open verandas called the 27 Katcheries.
In front of this are two storeyed servants quarters which were also constructed by Sawai Ram Singh.
Towards the south of the Diwan-e-aam is the well decorated gateway known as the Ganeshpol. East of the Ganeshpol there are two godowns, toilets and hot cold hamams or baths in typaical persian style.
the west side finds more godowns, Kitchens and water tanks.
The Ganeshpol is the entrance to the living quarters of the palace. This gateway has frescoes in persian-Mughan style and the centre has Lord Ganesh adorning the whole facade.
There are well laid out gardens inside fountains in typical Mughal style of architecture.
To the east of the gardens there is the most famous and beautiful part of amber Palace , that is, the Jai Mandir of the Diwan-e-khas also called the Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors. The walls and ceiling embedded with convex mirrors in exquisite designs, kept together with plaster of paris and slaked line.
The pillars & walls made of marble have black stone from Bhainslana embedded in them either as borders or in the from of flowers, plants, butterflies in delicate carving, each diffrent from the other,
displaying the intricate artistic talents of the artisans of those days.
On either side of the Sheesh Mahal in the verandah space the sky-lights are the beautiful lattice work depicting scenes from the life of Radha & Krishna in Stainglass work.
To the North of the Sheesh Mahal in the verandah is a stone pedestal from where hoage is paid to the Sun God.
By the steps to the North of the Sheesh Mahal and by the ramp one reaches above the Ganeshpol, to the Suhag Mandir.
The Lattice windows allow a vantage vies of the Diwan-e-aam.
To the east of this is the area known as "Chandani" a wide open space where in the days gone by dance and music performances were held.
While returning from Chandni one takes the steps leading to the terrace above the Sheesh Mahal, and comes to the Jas Mandir. Like the Sheesh Mahal,
the Jas Mandir is also influenced by the Mughal & Persain style of the architecture.
The mirror work is however, not in such profusion. this was a kind of summer resort as water pipes perforated at
intervals allowed for a slow flow of water on the khus curtains hanging on the foorways.
A long covered passageway leads to a small door.the high walls of this passageway divides the palace premises into two parts,The area traversed so far was constructed from the 17th century onward,whereas the remaining areas was constructed in the 16th century.
The passageway takes you to the Man Singh Palace.The palace is made of stone with beautiful archwaays & jharokas.
Thease were the personal apartment of Maharaja Man Singh I.The wall &doors are adorned with religious scenes as it was also his prayer room.if one takes any of the stairways from this area it leads downwards to the chowk or courtyard of this palace area.Over here on all sides there on all sides there are to be found the 12 apartments of his 12 Queens.In the center of this chowk is the Baradari builtby Sawai Ramsingh.In the north east is a big underground water tank which supplies water to thease apartments.
Below the Man Singh Palace towards the north west the passageway to the left leads to the garden in front og the Sheesh Mahal.On the west of the garden the Queens stayed in the Sukh Niwas.It has water floeing through a lattice plan which had a cooling effect on the area.
Your return to Jalab Chowk is once again through Ganeshpol.Diwane-e-Am at the stairway of the Singh Pol.From where you canproceed for viewing the grandeur of other monuments of Amber..