Meggan and I ended our stay in Jaipur with a visit to the Amber (also known as Amer) Fort. This is a spectacularly ornate structure perched on a ridge overlooking the pink city of Jaipur. One thing that we were not anticipating by visiting the sight is how you approach the building up the hill. Once you purchase tickets, you have to stand in a line to get picked up via elephant to shuttle you to the top. This made for an exotic sight with the painted elephants driven by men in brightly colored turbans, but this was definitely not an enjoyable experience for us.
In retrospect, we should have insisted on walking to the top (I don't even know if that was an option). After the totally unnecessary elephant ride, we felt awful about it. If we come back to Jaipur, we definitely won't make the mistake of riding the elephants again. We have seen elephants in the wild and can appreciate what an amazing animal they are. It kills us to see how these elephants were treated.
I just don't think that elephants shuttling tourist all day to the top of the hill while being beat really adds anything to viewing the fort. If the elephants were not there, people would still come to see this beautiful sight. We have since visited a rescued elephant reserve in Thailand and learned much more about working elephants and their treatment in many places. This post will be going up within a couple of weeks. We would urge all of you reading this to not support riding elephants in captivity. Going on a game drive in the wild or going to a elephant reserve is the best way to experience the majestic elephant.
The Elephant ride was terrible, but the Amber Fort itself was stunning. The architecture is gorgeous. Everywhere you turn there is a detail like a molding, a mirror or an archway to appreciate. We were there for over two hours into the late afternoon.
The Indian tourists and the staff of the fort all wore traditional clothing of beautiful colors. I know I've said this in every post from India, but what an amazing place to take photos! If you love photography, a trip to India will not disappoint.