The Kachhawahas ruled form Amber, 11 km from Jaipur, for seven centuries. With a history so old, it is not unexpected that there is a lot of the past that can be traced in its archaeological history. While many of the very early structures have either disappeared or been ruined, those dating from the 16th century on are in a remarkable state of preservation. Amber as it exists now is the handiwork of three of the kingdom’s rulers that include Man Singh and Jai Singh I and II. Approached from a steep ramp, visitors ride up on elephant back, entering through the grand Singh Pol gateway and continuing to Jaleb Chowk, the courtyard where they disembark from the pachyderm. From here, they are faced with two flight of steps, one leading to the Shila Mata complex with its enshrined image of the goddess, and the other to the main palace complex. Within the complex, Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with images of the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha, takes pride of place. Also a part of the complex is the Diwan-I-Am or hall of public audience with its spectacular display of pillars. The typical merging of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is captured in the Sukh Niwas and Jas Mandir Apartments, and the Charbagh garden with its perfectly proportioned landscaping. A highlight is the pierced screen windows which offer views from points of vantage, as well as the shimmering mirrors encrusting the wall of the Sheesh Mahal. Several other gardens and pavilions within the sprawling spread of the ramparts offer enough scope for investigating medieval lifestyles at leisure. Beyond the ramparts, the old city, once the abode of the aristocracy, has a wonderfully medieval flavour, though it has few buildings of majestic proportion that are still extinct. However, a walk though the rambling lanes will reap rich reward for the curious. Besides a large number of temples, there are also stepwells, memorials and townhouses.