A beautiful jail for the women of the harem of the Maharaja. Only from the almost one thousand windows of this palace could they see what was happening beyond its walls.
The Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the Winds, is a palace located in the city of Jaipur in India. There, all historical buildings are salmon pink, the color of the region’s fate. And built with red and pink sandstone, the Hawa Mahal is one of the most representative buildings of this pink Indian city.
The Palace of the Winds: the greatest exponent of Rajput architecture
As we indicated, Hawa Mahal means “Palace of the Winds.” This beautiful five-story building was built in 1799 under the orders of the Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh with red and pink sandstone. Located in the old town of Jaipur, it is considered the greatest exponent of Rajput architecture.
The architect who carried out this ambitious and beautiful project was Lal Chand Ustad. In its design, the Rajput architecture and the Mughal Islamic architecture were exquisitely mixed. The result was a masterpiece that has become the symbol of the city.
The structure of the palace is pyramidal in shape: the upper two floors are narrower than the lower. Remember a crown. This would be Krishna’s crown since the Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh adored him and was very devoted to this Hindu god.
But if there is something that identifies this beautiful palace as nothing else, it is its windows. The Hawa Mahal has no less than 953 windows or “jharokhas” decorated with intricate designs and different sizes.
Precisely, it is the wind that circulated through these small windows gave a name to the palace. A wind gave freshness to the enclosure even during the hottest summer months.
Why was the Hawa Mahal built?
At the time the palace was built, the women of the harem could not go outside. It was forbidden to make public appearances. That is why it was decided to build the Hawa Mahal, to give them views of the street and the day-to-day life of the city through the numerous windows. It was his only contact with the outside.
For this same reason, the Hawa Mahal is not surrounded by gardens, as is usual in Indian palaces. It is in one of the main streets of the city, to provide the harem women with the most realistic experience possible.
This magnificent building was built as an extension of the city’s Royal Palace. For this reason, to access you will have to do it through the back of the Jaipur Palace complex. However, today, little more of the facade is preserved. Even so, it has become the symbol of Jaipur.
How to get to the Palace of the Winds and when to visit Jaipur
Today, the Hawa Mahal attracts both national and international tourists. The palace is located in the southern part of Jaipur, specifically on Hawa Mahal Street, in Badi Choupad.
It can be visited every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Even so, it is preferable to go early in the morning, when the sun’s rays fall directly on the building. The palace is endowed with unparalleled beauty and elegance.
Admission is not free: foreign tourists will have to pay 200 rupees, a symbolic price. It is equivalent to 2.50 Euros. The visit time is usually about 1 hour.
Not only will you be able to tour what is left of the building, but there is also a small museum in which various ancient objects are preserved. These objects will allow us to take a look at the richness of the past and the culture and exuberant lifestyle of the Rajputs.
As for the best time to visit in Jaipur and the Hawa Mahal, you have to keep in mind that the summers of the zone are very warm. For this cause, it is more reasonable to leave the trip for less stressful times, that is, between the months of October and March.
India is full of amazing places and Hawa Mahal is one of them. If you are lucky enough to visit Jaipur, be sure to stop by the Palace of the Winds.