Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal (meaning: The Palace of Winds or The Palace of Breeze) is an iconic palace situated in Bari Chaupar in Jaipur, India. It is a five-storey pyramid-shaped monument with 953 small casements with screened windows called Jharokhas (Devashish, 2011). It forms part of the east wall of the City Palace Complex. Today, the Hawa Mahal has become one of the most recognizable monuments in Jaipur city.

This palace building was constructed in 1799 by Swai Pratap Singh, a Kachwaha ruler of Jaipur from 1778 to 1803 (Devashish, 2011; Hoskote, 2020; Taknet, 2016; Tillotson, 2006). He was the grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (1699-1743 A.D.), the founder of Jaipur. Hawa Mahal was built as a majestic facade and designed so that the wind blowing from the west blew through all five storeys of the structure (Taknet, 2016). Lal Chand Usta, the chief architect of Hawa Mahal was awarded a Jagir (a large grant) for this magnificent work (Taknet, 2016). Gopal Swami Khetanchi, a popular artist at the time is said to have painted the structure (Taknet, 2016).

Located on the periphery of the palace compound, on the boundary between the royal and public space, the palace has been exclusively designed for the royal queens who could watch proceedings, fairs, festivals, and everyday life on the road through the Jharokhas (Devashish, 2011; Hoskote, 2020; Tillotson, 2006). As it is connected to Zenana (women's chambers) through long screened latticed tunnels, loyal ladies could ensure their privacy since they had to obey the strict rules of Purdah, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings (Taknet, 2016).
The palace building
Built at an elevated location as compared to its neighbouring buildings, this pink sandstone five-storey palace building resembles a honeycomb structure (Devashish, 2011; Tillotson, 2006). It is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices. The top three storeys are just a room deep while the base floors are connected to the rooms and courtyards of the City Palace (Devashish, 2011). There are no stairs to reach the upper floors but ramps. The front section of the building has no ornamentation but the back, the section that faces the public space, has many elaborate and decorative elements.

The first storey of this building is called Sharad Mandir and the autumn celebrations are said to have been conducted here. The second storey is called Ratan Mandir because of the dazzling glasswork on its walls. The third which is known as Vichitra Mandir is said to have been used by the Maharaja to worship his deity. The fourth and fifth stories of this building are called Prakash Mandir and Hawa Mandir respectively.

Part of this palace building has now been converted into a museum.
1) Devashish, D., 2011. Tourism marketing. Pearson Education India. p.5.
2) Hoskote, A., 2020. Heirloom Treasures: The Cultural Tapestry of India: A compilation of selected articles from India Beckons: Volume 1. Notion Press. ISBN: 9781648996900. pp.23-
3) Taknet, D.K., 2016. Jaipur: Gem of India. Lustra Print Process Private Limited, New Delhi. pp.198-203.
4) Tillotson, G.H.R., 2006. Jaipur Nama: Tales from the Pink City. Penguin Books India. pp.68-69.
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This page was last updated on 1 August 2022
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