PHOTOWALK: AMER


Amer located strategically in the valley between two ranges of the Aravalli near Jaipur was the power center of Kachhawaha rulers for many centuries. The settlement was founded as early as A.D. 928 and was set within strong fortification walls in a strategic position on the caravan route between Delhi and Rajasthan. The town was protected on all sides by hills and lakes, as well as a series of forts and fortifications. Many famous kings ruled Amber and made it a place of art, culture and architecture. The remnants of their legacy are still visible in the ruins, the palace, the forts, havelis, temples, baolis, watch towers, fortification walls, historical gardens and water bodies. It is said that Amber had about 100 different types of arts and crafts that found markets in different corners of India, and abounded in more than 200 temples and many beautiful havelis.

The location of Amber en-route southern Rajasthan and Gujarat from Delhi, coupled with the peace treaty with the Mughals helped in enhancing trade and in proliferation of different religions. Jainism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism all flourished here. It also became an important centre of Jain religion where research centers and libraries were set up.

A wealth of flora and fauna once covered the hills in the Amber ghati. After Sawai Jai Singh shifted his capital to Jaipur in early eighteenth century, Amer lost its political and economic importance and over a period of years was virtually abandoned. The temples and palaces in the valley lost their importance and over the years disintegrated into ruins. After independence, the increasing population of the walled city spilled into the valley in a haphazard way that vitiated both the historical and environmental contexts. In short, development concerns, loss of aesthetic and cultural values, incompatible land use, and inadequate resource management led to its degradation. However, the town still is a corridor of tremendous historic and tourist interest.

Walk with us through the narrow lanes of Amer and discover its ancient past, glance upon the glory of its rulers, witness the might and military prowess of its defenders, glimpse the splendor of its nobles and soak in the spiritual aura of the place. Rarely would you come across a town so steeped in history, still inhabited and much intact waiting to be rediscovered . . .

 

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