Wind Palace of Jaipur India, Jaipur Wind Palace, Hawa Mahal in Jaipur Rajasthan
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Rajasthan Tours Travel  »  Architectural Treasures  »  Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal)

Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal)

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Past Perfect
Hawa Mahal, JaipurThe Maharajahs of Rajasthan have always been famous for their chivalry and for being fiercely protective of their queens. A monument to their regard for this precious sentiment can be found in the form of the Hawa Mahal. The palace was built in 1799 by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh. An integral part of the City Palace it was an extension of the Zenana quarters.

Constructed at a time when royal ladies observed very strict purdah (covering the faces), it is widely believed that this interesting palace, with its screened balconies, provided the ladies of the royal household an opportunity to watch processions and other activities on the streets below without being observed themselves. The openings here are almost like peep-holes partially blocked by fine lattice work in lime and plaster. This fragile palace was built especially for the delicate women of the royal household who were brought here in palanquins carried by servants to enjoy the sights of the city in comfort and style.

Marvel of Architecture
At first glance it looks rather whimsical in design. From the roadside, where most visitors view Hawa Mahal for the first time, it looks a mere façade. But there is much more than meets the eye. The beauty of the Hawa Mahal lies in its fragile appearance. Its delicate structure belies its strength and makes it no less a work of art than the more imposing forts and palaces of this regal city. This five-storey, pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modelled and carved. Its façade makes Hawa Mahal look more like a screen than a palace. Its top three stories are just a single room thick but at the base are two courtyards. It is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, but has over 900 niches and a mass of semi-octagonal bays, carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. This multi layered structure is an interplay of red and pink sandstone carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. The designer of this magnificent artifice Lal Chand Usta was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and Radha. This design is his homage to Lord Krishna and is believed to resemble the crown on Krishna's forehead. This unique design is also comparable to the a giant Chinese screen, a befitting comparison since the most important use for this palace was to screen the women of the royal household from prying eyes.

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Views From The Hawa Mahal
A vantage point from which the queens of yesteryears looked out has to be strategic and you won't be disappointed when you peep out from any of its 900 niches to see the city of Jaipur in all its grandeur, with straight, wide roads, intersections and teeming crowds in the market. Women in the marketplace dressed in hues of all colours. Men dressed in white dhoti and shirts carry huge magnificent turbans - mostly pink, red and yellow. The landscape a burnished ochre and the city painted pink. A smorgasbord of colour and truly a feast for the eyes.

Many of the cities' key monuments can also be sighted from this palace. The Jantar Mantar resembles a collection of mystifying masonry instruments. The all-important City Palace stands apart, surrounded by a maze of courtyards. The imposing Nahargarh Fort, perched upon the hill, keeps its vigil over the city and looks spectacular. The best time to witness this view is said to be early morning when the first rays of the sun turn the ochre colours into gold and lend the landscape its mystical, magical feel.

Weather Watch
Jai Mahal Palace, JaipurJaipur has an extreme climate , with hot and humid summers and chilly winters. In the peak summer months (April to July) the temperature can go up to a high of 45 degree C. The winter months (October to March) are the best time to soak in the sights, sounds , smells of this regal city. The winter weather offering pleasantly sunny days and cool nights makes exploration a complete delight.

Soak in the Surroundings
Hawa Mahal is only one of the many jewels in the walled city of Jaipur. Its other attractions include many majestic forts and palaces. The Amer Palace and Fort, Rambhag palace, The City palace, Bissau Palace, Samode, Sanganer, Gaitor, Jaigarh Fort, Jaimahal Palace, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, Narain Niwas, Rajmahal palace and the Birla temple.

Getting There
Jaipur is well connected by Air and land transport. Travellers would be spoilt for choice. Take your pick from any of these.

Air : The Sanganer Airport in Jaipur is just 11kms from the city center. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways are two domestic carriers that operate regular flights to and from Jaipur. There are direct flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, as well as some other cities.

Rail : The Jaipur Station is well connected with trains plying to and fro from all the major towns and cities. There are direct connections to Jaipur are from Delhi, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta.

Road : Jaipur is well connected by many national highways, the NH8 (from Delhi); NH11 (from Agra); NH12 (from Bhopal) are some of the finest motorable roads in the country.

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Shopping Spree
When in Jaipur do not forget to pick up the exquisite jewellery that it is famous for. Be it silver trinkets, intricate Meenakari work on gold or the precious and semi precious stones sold here by the dozen. A big hub of handicrafts the city has earmarked several sectors exclusively for artisans and traders. Some of the coveted items include the famous bhandej (tie and dye) and block print fabrics, lacquered brass work, blue pottery, skilfully carved wooden ornaments, beautifully embroidered jutis (hand crafted foot wear) made of camel skin and of course the famous Jaipuri quilts.

The main markets are along Jauhari Bazar, Bapu bazaar, Nehru bazaar, Chaura Rasta, Tripolia bazaar and M.I. Road. Shops specialising in precious and semi precious stones, ornaments and jewellery are to be found on and along Jauhari bazaar.

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