Monday, March 18, 2013

Jaipur, Hawa Mahal - Rajasthan

Event date: 2nd July 2009

Hawa Mahal is a Palace of the Winds, an intricate and fascinating of it's facade is probably Jaipur's most recognized building. It was constructed in 1799 with 5 levels/floors that contain rows of small windows and screens. Wind used to flow through the openings, giving the palace its name. At present, the wind has now gone from the Palace of the Wind with further modern developments happening in the city. Legend has it that the palace, which overlooks the main street of Jaipur's lively Old City, was built for the women of the royal household to watch the streets below without being observed. A panoramic view can be had from the top of the building. 

For those who wishes to take a peek behind the facade of the Hawa Mahal can pay Rs50/foreigner and Rs10/locals which open daily from 9am to 4.30pm. I was just taking few photos of Hawa Mahal and the evidence of me and the palace from the busy street. 

Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh is the person behind it's construction. He engaged a local designer, Lal Chand Ustad who designed it in the form of the crown of the Hindu God, Krishna. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called, jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework. 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 observe strict "purdah" (face cover) like a Muslim. The Palace being built with red and pink sandstone, situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. It forms part of the City palace which extends to the Zenana @ women's chambers, the chambers of the harem. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise.

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, which I did not went to see. Sigh. The top 2 floors of the Hawa Mahal are accessed only through ramps. The Mahal is maintained by the archaeological Department of the Rajasthan State Government.

Adjacent shops were built with the same characteristics of Hawa Mahal in the effort to maintain it's cultural and architectural heritage of 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, whilst the Islamic style is evident in its stone inlay work and arches (as distinguished from its similarity with the Panch Mahal from the palace of winds, click here at Fatehpur Sikri.

The surrounding place is very much lively at present day. For those who wishes to spend more times, shopping and enjoying a daily locals life in the city can do so after touring the behind view of Hawa Mahal.

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