Painting History: A Personal Experience of a Fort!
Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Have you ever wanted to be a king, a queen, a princess, or a dapper prince? Amer Fort offers every individual a chance to imagine, to dream and in every sense, to ‘be’. Overlooking the Matoa lake, this world heritage fort in Jaipur offers individuals a sense of tranquility and serendipity, but also a deep sense of culture and vibrancy.
Entering the fort, I met a grand stairway leading to the Jalebi Chowks, and at the right of the entrance steps I was greeted by a Silver temple. The Sila Devi temple teemed with architectural wonders - the entrance door was covered in silver with a raised relief, a statue of Ganesha made by a single piece of coral was placed on a wooden stand next to the door, and two magnificent silver lions surrounded the deity inside the sanctum. The Goddess, as mentioned by the description below the statue, instructed the Maharaja of Amer, in a dream, to retrieve her idol from the sea and then place it in his fort, and he did so. Staring at the statue of the Rajasthani Goddess, I suddenly felt forced into the reality, the mysticism of Indian mythology; I felt the ebbs and flows of history, and as the wind grew stronger and stronger inside the temple, so did my connection with the Goddess.
The winds became blustery, softer in some sense, as I strolled through the sunken Mughal garden and watched water cascade through channels from the Sukh Niwas, which lay next to the Sheesh Mahal. The Sheesh Mahal was not quite like any other historical structure I had seen - the curved edges of the flower designs on the wall made it look archaic, but at the same time, the mahal looked modern and vibrant, as though it possessed some sense of life. Burning the tip of a thin candle in the centre of the room, resulted in various reflections on the walls, engendering the smallest of flowers to blossom into incandescent stars. Amidst this starry night, I thought of the iconic hindi song ‘jab Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya’ from the grand, heart- wrenching film, Mughal E Azam; I found myself picturing Madhubala, spinning thunderously around the Sheesh Mahal, and dancing gracefully to the explosive sounds of the tabla.
Wind turned into rain, and rain into beauty as the Mughal gardens transformed from listless, dull creatures into pirouetting figures. Towards the end of the Mughal gardens, lay the palace of Man Singh I, the oldest structure in the fort. In the central courtyard of the palace, lay the pillared pavilion, connected to several smaller rooms which had open balconies. Meandering through the courtyard, I noticed the tiles on the floor: frescoed, coloured and diamond-shaped, they were truly unique. I sat on a chair next to one of the fine- grained pavilion doors and tried engulfing the surreal atmosphere of culture, history and beauty which surrounded my every being.
Walking through a historical monument, especially one like the Amer fort is similar to walking through a web of history, culture and magic. One truly understands, and more importantly feels the history of Rajasthan while also connecting, communicating, with the spirituality of nature. For me, the Amer Fort reinvented the way I perceived Indian history as I started looking at it as an abstract, animated painting, rather than a shrivelled, dried-up brush.