Hawa Mahal

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Hawa Mahal, located in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, is an iconic palace built from red and pink sandstone. Constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, it stands near the City Palace and extends to the Zenana, the women's chambers. Inspired by the structure of Khetri Mahal, Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh envisioned this grand palace, with Lal Chand Ustad as the architect.

Architectural Features and Intent

The five-story pyramid-shaped palace boasts a honeycomb facade with 953 small windows, known as Jharokhas, adorned with intricate latticework. Originally designed to allow royal ladies to observe street life and festivals while remaining unseen, the lattice design also facilitated a cooling effect through the Venturi effect, making the area more pleasant during summer. Contrary to popular belief, the facade facing the street is the back of the palace.

Renovation and Maintenance

In 2006, after 50 years, the Hawa Mahal underwent renovation works costing approximately Rs 4.568 million. The Unit Trust of India, along with the corporate sector, contributed to the preservation efforts. The palace is part of a vast complex, featuring stone-carved screens, small casements, arched roofs, and delicately modeled hanging cornices.

Architectural Splendor and Fusion

The pyramid-shaped structure rises about 50 feet, with the top three floors having the width of a single room. The facade appears like a mass of semi-octagonal bays, creating its unique appearance. The interior consists of chambers with minimal ornamentation, reaching up to the top floor. Built with red and pink sandstone, the Hawa Mahal perfectly embodies the fusion of Hindu Rajput and Islamic Mughal architectural styles. Its intricate details include domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, and stone inlay filigree work.

Entry and Interior Design

The entry to Hawa Mahal from the City Palace side is through an imperial door, leading into a courtyard enclosed by double-storied buildings and the Hawa Mahal on the east side. The architectural brilliance is complemented by a courtyard fountain. The top two floors of the palace are accessible only through ramps. The Mahal is now maintained by the Archaeological Department of the Government of Rajasthan.

Symbol of Rajasthan and Tourist Attraction

Hawa Mahal, known as the "Palace of Winds," is a symbol of Rajasthan's cultural heritage. Its intricate grillwork, honeycomb facade, and historical significance make it a must-visit destination in Jaipur. The palace offers stunning views of Jantar Mantar, the City Palace, and the Sireh Deori Bazaar. A small museum within the complex provides insights into Hawa Mahal's history through miniature paintings and ceremonial relics.