Fort Amber Jaipur
Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake.It is the main source of water for the Amer Palace.
Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-i-Aam, or "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-i-Khas, or "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace.
One of the highlights of a visit to the stunning Amer Fort is the chance to ride an elephant up the hill to the main entrance. These wonderful animals are decorated with traditional painted patterns and effortlessly transport visitors up the steep slope to the fort. The Amer Fort elephant ride is a fantastic experience, but visitors must arrive early to guarantee a ride and expect to suffer from touts and haggling.
There are approximately 80 elephants, which carry up 900 visitors per day. There is a limit to the total number of journeys each elephant can do in a day and this has been introduced to prevent over working the elephants, and possible animal cruelty. It is therefore recommended to visit the Amer Fort early in the day (before 9:00 am), to guarantee a ride and avoid the queues. During the tourist season most of the elephants have finished their quote of rides by 11:00 am.
The conditions and treatment of the elephants has greatly improved over the last years. Originally, the elephants would work all day and carry four passengers plus driver. Today the elephants are limited to five trips and carry only 2 passengers.
The Jaipur government ensures that the animals are healthy and performs routine inspections. Things are still not perfect, as herders can be aggressive towards the elephants and do hit them, while the hot summer weather is also punishing for the animals. The attitude with the animals in India is not the same, as in the western countries and certain visitors may be disgusted by the treatment.