FORTS OF INDIA(Amber)
THE Amber Fort near Jaipur is situated on the summit of a hill that commanded the regions lying to the north and south and the narrow passage which joins these two. Its powerful and extensive walls and towers enabled its rulers to prepare themselves for defence from inside.
The palace of Amber was built by Raja Mansingh in 1600. To this Mirza Raja Jaisingh made several outstanding additions. The edifice built by Sawai Jai Singh, residence of the Kachhwaha princes, further added to its glamour and placed it beside the celebrated forts of Gwalior, Bundi and Udaipur. In 1728 he laid the foundation of Jaipur and connected it to the ancient castle of Amber. The Amber fort has entrances, known as Suraj Pol, Chand Pol, Singh Pol and Ganesh Pol. About the buildings of Amber, Percy Brown writes: 'Two halls within the large square are prominent. The Diwan-i-Am and Diwan- i-Khas clearly depicted the influence of Mughul court, particularly the Diwan-i- Am. Its double wall pillars, clusters of brackets, wide caves and high perforated parapet above, being reminiscent of the pavilion known as the Zenana Palace of Allahabad; the example at Amber having been most probably executed by masons trained in the Akbari style by Mughul overseers.' The hanging ^balconies, the long verandah and elabo rate carved brackets are interesting features of the palace. Its corridors leading to rooms were designed after Mughul pattern. Its terrace provides cool air and the court halls display impact of Mughul architecture on the buildings of Amber. All these constitute a kind of synthesis between Mughul and Rajput art.
The town Amber has taken its name from Ambrish, the son of Mandhata who was king of Ayodhya. Its full name is said to have been Ambarikhanera, which gradually contracted to Amber or Ambi- ner. The oldest inscription found here is dated about A.D. 954.
Amber originally belonged to the Minas. In the middle of 12th century whenever a Mina chief grew strong, he would sally forth from his citadel and attack Kakil Deo, son and successor of Dulha Rai, the founder of the Kachhwaha kingdom of Dhundhar. The latter therefore felt insecure in his own territories and when he got an opportunity made a surprise assault. He shifte'd his capital from Khoh to Amber, fortified its walls and dedicated a temple to Ambikeshwar Mahadev.
From 1290-1310 Rajdev further completed the fortifications of Amber which were commenced by his ancestors, built tanks, founded a town and fortified it with strong walls. His great grandson Pejavan, a contemporary of Prithviraj Chauhan, the immortalised hero of Chand Bardai, contracted a marriage alliance with the sister or probably the cousin of Prithviraj and fought with remarkable dash and bravery in the first Battle of Tarain in 1191. Paso ranks him as the bravest and most valiant among the warriors of Prithviraj. His successors enjoyed peace and prosperity for twelve generations and they carved out small principalities for themselves until the rise of the Mughuls. Bharmall adopted the policy of conciliation and submission by matrimonial alliance with Akbar. His descendants dominated the Mughuls as mansabdar, administrator, diplomat. They earned name and fame everywhere.
Jaisingh served under three Mughul emperors namely Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangazeb. Sawal Jai Singh was the most remarkable Kachhwaha ruler.When Marathas combined with other Rajput chiefs entered Jaipur, they com¬ pletely devastated the city by plunder. Ishwari Singh fully knowing the strong position of the enemy was prepared to meet them in a battle like a true and brave Rajput. The popular feelings of resentment exploded the entire city in the form of revolt against the Marathas. For nine hours, from noon to late in the night, citizens continued to attack the Marathas. Some 1500 Marathas including high officials. Brahmins, slave girls, even small children were slain. The Marathas, realising there was no other way, left Jaipur. Jagat Singh entered into protective alliance with the East India Company.