India’s Forgotten Palace: The Amer Fort

McMullen Student Ambassador Arvin Mohapatra, MCAS 2021, reflects on his trip to India over the winter break.

It’s funny how the most unconventional encounters can lead to some of the most meaningful revelations. Behind the scenes, the dynamic duo that is Art and History has been weaving its way to the forefront of contemporary visionaries. Their deeply rooted stories and traditions provide us with some of the strongest foundations imaginable to build modern, more progressive ideologies that are symbolized and expressed through contemporary works of art and literature. When I first learned of the unveiling of the McMullen’s Museum’s Indian Ocean Current exhibit last winter, my first thoughts were, “Finally.”

Why, “Finally,” you may ask? Over the winter break, I traveled to India, specifically to the states of Odisha and Rajasthan, not only to visit family, but to also immerse myself in the country’s profound, yet often understated stories regarding the effects of decolonization on some of the grandest landmarks of India’s rich history. A concept that is highlighted throughout the exhibit. One of these landmarks was the Amer Fort in Rajasthan. 

A view from the Amer Fort
Photo by Arvin Mohapatra

Built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, the fort’s purpose was to house the Rajput Maharajas (the rulers of the state). It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 in order to preserve the remnants of the historically significant fort. 

Photo by Arvin Mohapatra

The developing resurgence of previously colonized countries, like India, had surprisingly masked the significance of ancient markers, including the Amer Fort. For years after decolonization, the fort was cast aside like an old remnant of the past, only to be “rediscovered” relatively recently as a significant feature of India’s ancient, and impactful history.

The exhibit bridges a gap between the sites of decolonization and those who are interested in the seldom-told stories of the phenomenon. The Amer Fort is one of many landmarks that underwent a similar journey, and to see that connection from the Indian state of Rajasthan all the way to our McMullen Museum is nothing short of a miracle. 

Photo by Arvin Mohapatra

Sources Cited:

“Amber Fort Jaipur – History, Architecture, Visit Timings & Facts.” Jaipur – History, Architecture, Visit Timings & Facts, Cultural India, http://www.culturalindia.net/indian-forts/amber-fort.html.

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