Hawa Mahal

Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark, the ‘Palace of Winds’, is built in Jaipur pink stone. Book a holiday package to Hawa Mahal.

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Hawa Mahal

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Hawa Mahal

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Location

Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India- 302002

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The Palace with Soothing Breezes: Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, popularly known as the ‘Palace of Winds’ is located in the heart of the beautiful Pink City in Rajasthan, India. It is also built in famed Jaipur pink stone and is an epitome of pink-painted honeycombed hive structure that rises up to a dazzling five storeys. The palace is encrusted with fine trelliswork windows or niches that are total of 953 in number. The breeze (or Hawa in Hindi) circulates through these fenestrations giving the palace its name.

This palace was constructed at the south-eastern corner of the sarahad in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh of the Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty. Sawai Pratap Singh was an enthusiastic patron of art, literature, paintings and architecture. He had designated Lal Chand Ustad as the designer for this remarkable architectural masterpiece. Basically, this palace was an extension of the Zenana (women) chamber. This intended the ladies of the royal household to witness the ceremonial events of the most public thoroughfare busy street from the court itself. This is the main element on which the builders of this palace lavished most of the attention. Further, the terrace offers stunning views of the majestic Jantar Mantar and the City Palace complex in one direction and over Sireh Deori Bazaar in the other.

The main entrance of the Mahal opens into a court that is double storied on three sides and three storied high on the eastern side is just one room wide. The diverse chambers of the palace are plain in interior facades and merely look like the mass of pillars & passages leading to the above stories. Surprisingly, there are no stairs to lead to the top, rather only ramps are the connection to reach the upper floors of the magnanimous palace. The pyramidal outline and repetition of a pattern seem to be inspired by the reminiscent Chandra Mahal of the City Palace complex in some respects. Also, the small screened niches, balconies and arched roofs with overhanging cornices enhance the overall outlook of the palace. Thus, palace looks like a series of pierced niches placed in tiers to overlook the street activities below.  

Though often it is described as merely a lattice screen work, the palace is in fact built around two courtyards with residential ranges, but with a rather vast-screen like bizarre facade on the east, the structure is not more than a series of corridors with fenestrations overlooking the street. This palace is greatly admired by many for its breathtaking eccentricity, it is also been remarked to be disconnected from any serious purpose. Amidst seemingly confusion and jumble of varied morphology, on careful scrutiny, one can decipher the architect’s vision to devise a composition regulated by a strict and well defined calculated order. On a concluding note, as an example of the Vastu Vidya practice, this palace is worth analyzing in some detail.

 

Glossary:

Zenana: The part of a residence for the seclusion of women.

Fenestration: The arrangement of windows in a building or structure.

Trelliswork: Interlacing strips of wood or metal forming a trellis or lattice.

Eccentricity: Deviation of a curve or orbit from circularity.

Bizarre: Very strange or unusual.

Vastu vidya: It is a traditional Hindu system of study which literally translates to "science of architecture." These are texts found on the Indian subcontinent that describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry. 

 

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