A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to make my way to the Hawa Mahal – an iconic monument in Jaipur that had been on my bucket list for a long time. While being genuinely impressed by one of the most recognized monuments in India, I find it quite difficult to write about such a popular subject. However, below you’ll find some questions and answers I’ve put together for the first timers or anyone who’s curious 🙂
When was the palace built? The magnificent structure was constructed of red and pink sandstone in 1799 during the reign of Sawai Pratap Singh, a Kachwaha ruler of Jaipur.
Who designed the palace? Shaped like a huge Lord Krishna’s crown, Hawa Mahal is the result of creative ideas of the talented architect Lal Chand Ustav.
What was the purpose of this structure? It allowed the ladies of the palace to observe the street life without being noticed by passers-by. The royal women had 953 (!) tiny windows at their disposal to choose the most comfortable location in order to watch parades, processions and random drama on the streets. With myriads of windows and overhanging enclosed balconies, the Hawa Mahal’s facade resembles a honeycomb of a beehive.
Why is it called the palace of Winds? The structure is located at the edge of the huge City Palace complex. Its countless windows allowed the air to pass through, providing some relief during the hottest time of the year. The width of the palace’s top floors is no more than a single room, which makes it’s easier for the wind to reach the area behind. Generally speaking, the Hawa Mahal is an enormous ornamental screen decorated with astounding latticework.
Are the Hawa Mahal’s interiors as beautiful as the facade? It’s a matter of personal preference, of course, but I found the chambers of the Hawa Mahal rather simple compared to the interiors of the City Palace of Jaipur and many other royal residences I’ve visited throughout India. The main attraction of the Palace of Winds lies within its striking exterior. However, the chambers do have some lovely columns, arches, and stained glass windows that let the sunlight fall through in beautiful hues. Another interesting feature of the Hawa Mahal’s interior is the use of ramps instead of stairs. It seems the royal ladies’ outfits and jewelry were so heavy that it was almost impossible to walk, so they had to be wheeled around.
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What is the best time to visit the Hawa Mahal? I would suggest avoiding the weekends in order to ditch the crowds. The number of people was rather intimidating when I visited the monument and it took a great deal of patience to take some “deserted” pictures. Also, the air temperature is on your side if you make a trip to Jaipur between November and February. Do come early in the morning to see the golden rays of the sun creating interesting color effects on the Hawa Mahal’s gorgeous ren-and-pink façade. The monument is open from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm in all days, and the ticket price is Rs 50 for Indians and Rs 200 for foreign visitors.
And now I’m letting the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!