dimanche 10 mai 2015

Izzyana Jones Visits The Amber Fort

Can you believe I had never heard of the Amber Fort until I got here? The Taj Mahal gets all of the press, but this was a truly spectacular structure. My lack of knowledge ended up working in my favor cause I was absolutely blown away. The group was abuzz at dinner cause we were gonna ride an elephant up to the top. I don't like animals, but I still didn't really want to ride an elephant. It just didn't seem right to me. I am not a PETA weirdo by any means, but I couldn't imagine myself riding an animal. I debated whether or not to do it, as it seemed like everyone was stoked about it. I have seen way too many episodes of When Animals Attack, so I wasn't trying to risk it. At the hotel, I googled how the elephants were treated at the fort. The internet told me that the elephants only do the circuit for a bit (4 trips) because it gets hot very early. I think they only allow the rides for 3 hours or so. I don't believe it, though. I know elephants are sacred, but it still didn't sit right with me. Once we got there, only me and one another person opted out. I was afraid of an elephant seeing a mouse and freaking out, trampling me to death or throwing me off the big ass hill the fort is on. We got up on the platform where the people climb on, and hell nah I wasn't about to get on one. We had to wait til everyone else got on their elephants to hop on the jeep to ride up. While we waited, I watched the mahouts get the elephants ready. The elephants were painted in the prettiest colors! They lined up to carry people to the top. Elephants are fucking beautiful in real life. Eyelash game on 100. In other news: holy fuck, it struck me that there were a bunch of real life elephants in my immediate vicinity! AHHHH.

 I got on the jeep and immediately wished I had taken my chances on the elephant instead. I already know what happens when I express sympathy for animals, so why hadn't I learned my lesson? This loud ass jeep was straight out of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland and it was being chauffeured by Beelzebub himself. We weaved in and out of traffic (and by traffic I mean pedestrians and animals) at breakneck speeds through the bumpiest and narrowest roads in existence. I could have sworn I was going to fly out of the vehicle if we took one more hairpin turn. Just as soon as I started to brainstorm what songs should be played at my funeral, we reached the top of the fort.  Once we got out of the jeep, I still had to walk up a steep hill. When I got to the top of the hill, I was greeted by a pack of monkeys! FUCK.

Man this was a terrible idea. I took a quick pic and kept it moving. I didn't wanna give Dr. Zaius and his friends enough time to attack (and disfigure me for life). I had never seen monkeys in the wild like that, so I was actually kinda excited about it. A bit of trivia for you guys: my childhood nickname is Changa, the Spanish word for monkey. I even have a little monkey brooch with emerald eyeballs that my mom gave me. What a lovely family heirloom. Anyway, I didn't wanna stick around and the sun was starting to charbroil me so I went to wander the palace while the others arrived. Here is a quick video of what I saw:

I know, right? Man, what a place. The Amber Fort sits at the very top of a huge hill overlooking Maota Lake. This is where the Rajput Maharajahs lived... balling! They were really living lavi. Y'all know I am all about extravagant lifestyles. The architecture, as you can imagine, was absolutely stunning. The main entrance is the Suraj Pole (Sun Gate) and it leads into a big courtyard (as seen in the video) called Jaleb Chowk. As I waited for the others, I couldn't help but imagine what it was like to be live here all those centuries ago. I always joke with my bff Sonia that I ask "stoner questions". I am always marveling at everything. I can't help it. Across from the fort, you can look out and see a big wall weaving through the hills and it kinda reminded me of the Great Wall of China. I have never been to China, but I will visit at the end of this year(!), so I will let y'all know if it truly compares. I explored the tiny rooms and narrow stairways, all the while admiring the imposing columns and intricately designed stone work featured on the buildings. 

The entrance to the fort is actually through the Ganesh Gate, which is handpainted with natural dyes and embellished with precious stones. Located inside of the fort are the Summer (Sukh Mahal) and Winter (Sheesh Mahal) palaces. Both were amazing to see! The palaces are separated by a Mughal garden, which you already learned about via the Humayun's Tomb post. The Sheesh Mahal is covered in thousands of tiny little mirrors. Legend has it that the Queen loved the stars but because she wasn't allowed to sleep out in the open, the King had this built. After lighting some candles, the light reflects off of the mirrors giving the illusion of the night sky. Gee, thanks. I suppose this is like when the Beast hooked Belle up with that library in Beauty and the Beast. I mean it's kinda like, yeah you're trapped here forever, but let's not lose sleep over the details. Anyway, India (especially the Amber Fort) is truly a photographer's dream. Here are tons of pictures. You have been warned!


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