Hawa Mahal

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Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal 2011.jpg
Front of the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of the Winds", Jaipur
Hawa Mahal is located in Rajasthan
Hawa Mahal
Location within Rajasthan
General information
Architectural style Rajput Architecture
Town or city Jaipur
Country India
Coordinates 26°55′25″N 75°49′36″E / 26.923611°N 75.826667°E / 26.923611; 75.826667
Completed 1799
Client Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh
Technical details
Structural system Red and pink sand stone
Design and construction
Architect Lal Chand Usta

Hawa Mahal (Hindi: हवा महल, translation: "Palace of Winds" or "Palace of the Breeze"), is a palace in Jaipur, India, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivities while unseen from the outside. Constructed of red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, and extends to the zenana, or women's chambers.

History[edit]

Hawa Mahal and the principal street, c. 1875

The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework.[1] The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey strict "purdah" (face cover). The lattice also allows cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) through the intricate pattern, air conditioning the whole area during the high temperatures in summers.[1][2][3]

In 2006, restoration and renovation works on the Mahal were undertaken, after a gap of 50 years, to give a face lift to the monument at an estimated cost of Rs 4568 million.[4] The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it.[5][dead link]

Architecture[edit]

Detailed view of façade from the main road
Rear view with the two most ornate top storeys

The palace is a five-storey pyramidal shaped monument that rises 50 feet (15 m) from its high base. The top three floors of the structure have a dimension of one room width while the first and second floors have patios in front of them. The front elevation, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb web of a beehive, built with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. It gives the appearance of a mass of semi-octagonal bays, giving the monument its unique façade. The inner face on the back side of the building consists of need-based chambers built with pillars and corridors with minimal ornamentation, and reach up to the top floor. The interior of the Mahal has been described as "having rooms of different coloured marbles, relieved by inlaid panels or gilding; while fountains adorn the centre of the courtyard".[6][7]

Lal Chand Ustad was the architect of this unique structure who also planned Jaipur city, considered then as one of the best-planned cities in India. Built in red and pink coloured sand stone, in keeping with the décor of the other monuments in the city, its colour is a full testimony to the epithet of "Pink City" given to Jaipur. Its façade depicts 953 inches with intricately carved jharokhas (some are made of wood) is a stark contrast to the plain looking rear side of the structure. Its cultural and architectural heritage is a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and the Islamic Mughal architecture; the Rajput style is seen in the form of domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, and the Islamic style as evident in its stone inlay filigree work and arches (as distinguished from its similarity with the Panch Mahal - the palace of winds - at Fatehpur Sikri).[8]

The entry to the Hawa Mahal from the city palace side is through an imperial door. It opens into a large courtyard, which has double storeyed buildings on three sides, with the Hawa Mahal enclosing it on the east side. An archaeological museum is also housed in this courtyard.[9]

Hawa Mahal was also known as the chef-d'œuvre of Maharaja Jai Singh as it was his favourite resort because of the elegance and built-in interior of the Mahal. The cooling effect in the chambers, provided by the breeze passing through the small windows of the façade, was enhanced by the fountains provided at the centre of each of the chambers.[10]

The top two floors of the Hawa Mahal are accessed only through ramps. The Mahal is maintained by the archaeological Department of the Government of Rajasthan.[9]

Visitor information[edit]

The palace, called the "specimen of fanciful architecture",[citation needed] is located to the south of the Jaipur city, at the main road intersection called the Badi Chaupad (big four square). Jaipur city is well connected by road, rail and air links with the rest of the country.[8] Jaipur Railway Station is a central main station on the broad gauge line of the Indian Railways. As well, Jaipur is connected by major highways, and by the International Airport at Sanganer, at a distance of 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the city.

Entry to the Hawa Mahal is not from the front but from a side road to the rear end. Facing the Hawa Mahal, turning right and again to the first right, leads to an archway entry and then to the rear side of the building.[11]

It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise.[2][3]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rai, Vinay; William L. Simon (2007). "Think India: the rise of the world's next superpower and what it means for every American". Hawa Mahal (Dutton). p. 194. ISBN 0-525-95020-6. Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Hawa Mahal". Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Japiur, the Pink City". Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Restoration of Hawa Mahal in Jaipur". Snoop News. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "INTACH Virasat" (pdf). Jaipur. Intach.org. p. 13. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Hawa Mahal – Jaipur". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Sitwell, Sacheverel (1962). "The red chapels of Banteai Srei: and temples in Cambodia, India, Siam, and Nepal". Hawa Mahal (Weidenfeld and Nicolson). p. 174. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Hawa Mahal of Jaipur in Rajasthan, this is wrongIndia". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Hawa Mahal". Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Rousselet, Loius; Charles Randolph Buckle (2005). "India and its native princes: travels in Central India and in the presidencies of Bombay and Bengal". Hawa Mahal (Asian Educational Services). p. 228. ISBN 81-206-1887-4. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Brown, Lindsay; Amelia Thomas (2008). "Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra". Hawa Mahal (Lonely Planet). pp. 157–58. ISBN 1-74104-690-4. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 

References[edit]

  • Tillotson, G.H.R (1987). The Rajput Palaces - The Development of an Architectural Style (Hardback) (First ed.). New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03738-4. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Hawa Mahal at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 26°55′26″N 75°49′36″E / 26.92389°N 75.82667°E / 26.92389; 75.82667