December 14, 2000
The Fort sits on a mighty rock 400 ft tall. From atop the fort, you have a sweeping view of the valley below. No wonder the maharaja had chosen this location to make his home--from his perch, he has a commanding view of any approaching enemy, and can defend his territory most efficiently. The climb is fairly steep, and at every corner, you can find old women in bright saris sitting under umbrellas offering their wares. Predominantly, they would want to read your palms. Let them, a handful of paises or a couple of rupees may make their day, and you are out of almost nothing. The palaces within are carved from a hard sandstone that have the look and feel of marble. The ivory columns supporting the palaces are inlaid with darker stones, and the sculptors' chisels have carved into the columns remarkably real, dancing figures of birds and flowers, as if the stones were just soap. Everywhere I gasped with admiration at the beautiful handiwork of artists long ago.
One of my favorite places at the Fort is in the lady's quarter. Here, a room has been set aside where the ladies of the palace can look out into the streets to observe festivals, or just everyday life. To prevent the gaze of the curious, the window is covered by a beautiful handcarved block resembling a mesh, where the ladies can observe without being seen themselves. The ceilings of this room has been intricately carved, and covered with remnants of semi-precious stones. My friend told me that after the maharaja became weak in the 18th century, looters invaded many forts and palaces and removed many of the stones. Otherwise, the forts would have been even more gorgeous, although how that can be possible I can't even begin to imagine.
From journal Step into the magic of India