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Buildings and structures that have really moved me – Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Wednesday September 3rd, 2008 by fathersez


From: The Rajasthan Government Tourism Website

I first visited this fort in 2001. I was in India for a visit to our Indian Operations (I had not yet been assigned to India as yet) and the visit straddled a weekend. Our office was in Gurgaon, a satellite city of Delhi and from there it was about 3 hours or so by car to Jaipur.  

The fort is perhaps much like any of the fortified castles of England and Europe. High walls, chambers and chambers, halls, pools and all the assortment of luxuries the kings of old had built for themselves.  The Rajashthan Government’s tourism website has a complete write up on the Fort which was built in 1592. And Calicatras has put up a video tour of the fort on YouTube.  

We spent about an hour or so walking through the complex. I did not feel anything extraordinary whilst touring the fort, though it must be quite a feat to administer this huge complex without walkie talkies and CCTV. 

The feeling came when we left the buildings. We were on the road back and we stopped for a last look at the fort. The fort was built on a hill of rugged rocks and the perimeter walls were stretching as far as the eye could see.  This was when it hit me. The Maharaja who built the fort must have used thousands and thousands of workers and must have wielded enormous influence and power. And yet he was now dead and gone.   

What struck me then, was a verse from our holy book, the Quran. I am not sure of the exact translation but it goes something like this: 

“If you think you are great, go back into history and see the countless others far greater and stronger than you who are dead and gone.” 

I suppose this verse could have referred to people like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt who considered themselves as God to their people.  And I am sure as walls go, there are many other walls, like the Great Wall of China, against which the wall of the Amber Fort may look like a plaything.

Still, it was the walls of the Amber Fort that made me reflect deeply on this particular verse.  

I have since then visited the fort once again with my family. I could not and did not get the same feeling this time, but I’ll never ever forget the feeling I got that fateful day in 2001 when I looked up at the never ending walls of Fort Amber, Jaipur.  

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