In Amer: When planning my trip around the Golden Triangle, I decided to look for a hotel in Amer, rather than Jaipur, because it was close to my top three sites: Elefantastic, Anhoki Handcraft Museum, and Amer Fort. Little did I know, this was a brilliant idea. Amer (or Amber) is close enough to Jaipur to enjoy all the amenities, but far enough to be away from the constant chaos. I chose Hotel Amer View and had a decently good experience. The skimpy continental breakfast of toast, eggs and cornflakes left a bit to be desired, but the room was clean, large and comfortable and the staff was friendly and accommodating. I was exhausted enough that the noise of traffic and nightlife didn’t keep me from sleeping.
When planning my trip using Google Maps, I naively thought that I might be able to reach a few nearby places by foot. In reality, every inch of India’s city roads is chaos, Amer included. I was very glad to have a Metropole Taxi to take me to all of the places I wanted to visit. Having a driver made me feel like I was on a short leash, but it definitely allowed me to see more of the area than I would have by taking rickshaws from point A to B.
I loved the sights in Amer. My experience at Elefantastic was particularly memorable. At Anhoki Handcraft Museum, I learned about the art of handblock printed design – a craft that had nearly become obsolete due to machine printed fabrics. I met a craftsman named Mujee who spends 50-80 hours carving one block of teak wood for a print; and he sometimes uses four blocks to make one design! The museum has a wonderful collection of garments made with fabrics and designs specific to various regions in India. Chemical dyes have been more recently been replaced with natural dyes, which are better for the craftsman. Thanks to this, local tourism and the hippies’ love of the design, the handblock printing craft lives on.
The “must see” sight of Amer is Amer Fort. High on the mountain, you can capture stunning views of the city. The vistas and grandeur of the palace is really what there is to see, as there isn’t any type of museum or artifacts featured in the palace. One can walk around Amer Fort without a charge, but there is a Rs 200 fee to enter the palace. The ancient architecture, intricate designs and tall stone walls with cracked, weathered paint are fun to photograph. Schedule no less than an hour for your visit – and up to three if you have the time.