Published On: Mon, Feb 5th, 2018

Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, India

India’s palaces and forts of yesteryear have always been witness to the royal processions and splendor of the past. Today they are just monuments reminding us of the glorious years.

World Famous Tourist Attraction of Jaipur

The most outstanding building in the walled city of Jaipur is the signature building Hawa Mahal. Situated in the heart of the city, Hawa Mahal is an integral part of the City Palace, and an extension of the Zenana (women’s chambers) standing away from the main complex. It is a major landmark and world famous tourist attraction of Rajasthan state because of its unique architectural style.

Known as ‘Palace of Winds’ or Pink Palace

Hawa Mahal is also called ‘Palace of Winds’ or the Pink Palace. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799, and the unusual architecture was designed by Lal Chand Usta. It overlooks the main street and lies sandwiched between many prosaic buildings.

Unique Architecture of Hawa Mahal

The beauty of the Hawa Mahal is in its fragile appearance. It is the most romantic and delicate solid architecture and is a great example of Rajputana architecture, which was strongly influenced by Mughal style. Though the perfect blend of Rajputana and Mughal style makes it different from others, the Rajputana architecture in Hawa Mahal still speaks of the glory of the royal family. The intricate exterior wall looks like the crown which adorns Lord Krishna’s head. It is said that Sawai Pratap Singh was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, and he dedicated this ‘mahal’ to the Lord.

Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, India

The Hawa Mahal is a pyramid-shaped, five-storied building, which is fifty-foot high and less than a foot in thickness with small intimate chambers. It has over 953 pigeonhole like windows, arched roofs with hanging cornices which are exceptionally modeled and carved. These pink sandstone windows known as ‘Jharokhas’ are constructed in such a style, that it looks like a giant honeycomb.

Famous for this beehive structure, the palace is interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. The air circulation through windows represents the marvelous touch of Mughal designing, which keeps the palace always cool. Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze.

The entrance to Hawa Mahal is from the City Palace side, through a stately door which opens into a spacious courtyard. The courtyard has a double storied building on three sides. The eastern wing has three more storeys.

Grandstand View From Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal was certainly not built for residential purposes. This can be seen from the unusual structure on the rear side. There is lack of ornamentation on the inner face of the building. The chambers are plain and with pillars and passages leading to the top.

What is more interesting is the use of ramp rather than regular stairs to reach upper floors. It was done to facilitate movement of palanquins carried by servants. This was found to be less tiresome, as the ramp ascended lazily to the top.

Hawa Mahal was built at a time when women of the royal families had to observe strict purdah. As a matter of fact, Hawa Mahal was originally conceived with the aim of enabling women of the royal household to watch from the small-latticed windows and screened balconies the hustle bustle of the city life, royal processions and various activities taking place on the streets below in the city without being observed by the common man. It provided a concealed grandstand view, and the women could enjoy a sense of freedom without showing themselves. And this does explain why Hawa Mahal has such tiny windows and many screened balconies.

Bird’s View From Hawa Mahal Palace

Hawa Mahal has a spectacular view of Jaipur city. It has a bird’s eye view of the Jantar Mantar – a medieval observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur.

When to Visit Hawa Mahal

The best time to view Hawa Mahal is at sunrise from October to March.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at knowledgeherald@gmail.com

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