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February 18, 2003

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What is there to do in Jaipur besides eat spicy curry, dress in colorful clothes, and shop for trinkets? I must keep Jill away from the bazaars, so we visit a famous fortress, Amber, to discover where the Indians stand in the world of fort building.

The Amber fort once served as the capital of the Jaipur state. It blends Hindu and Mughal architecture which makes for a lot of pointy arches and flying cupola thingies (those are the technical terms for interesting shapes you'd normally only see in a Disney movie).
Any good fortress visit begins with a climb. In this case, you can ride on an elephant to reach the Amber Fort's gates. You may need to share your lunch. You'll be okay so long as you remember not to stand behind the elephant after you feed him.
Above all, a fort visit should be a cultural experience. What other castle can you see where the other tourists wear turbans?
Any world class fort should provide a spectacular view.
So how does the Amber Fort rank in the world? Well, it has historical significance, grand architectural style, tremendous views, and elephants - an impressive list. However, it lacks a Baskin Robbins outlet (or some other ice cream shop equivalent) and we must say that this is a fatal flaw.