Looking down from the walls of Amber Fort onto the scene in the photo made me chuckle – I had never seen an ‘elephant jam’ before. Visitors to the fort can walk up (as we did) or take an elephant ride. Many go for the latter option. However, these enormous animals have to pass through several gates and one in particular, roughly half-way up, is only just wide enough for a single elephant. At peak times the two-way flow – of elephants on their way to the top and others returning ‘empty’ – clearly causes hold-ups at this bottleneck and sizable queues build up in both directions.
Below is a shot of the fort itself. (It is sometimes also referred to as the Amer Fort, i.e. without the ‘b’ in the middle, probably as a result of different transliterations of the Hindi name. There seem to be several theories about the name’s origins, but none has anything to do with precious stones.) The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The third photo shows some of the elephants in the fort’s main courtyard, just after they have dropped off their payload. It can’t be a very exciting life for them, but the mahouts seemed to treat them well.