The most famous landmark of Jaipur, the palace of winds built in 1799 by Sawai Pratap Singh was actually planned for the royal household to have a look at every day life of the city. The palace has tier upon tier of curved arch surmounting fairy casements with "jali" - latticework screens. Famous for it's Beehive like structure, the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds is made of red and pink sand stone, beautifully outlined with white borders and motif's painted with quick lime. It is currently under the supervision of the state's Archeological Department. This Mahal is a fantasia of 953 ornate windows set in a rose-colored five-storey facade. From the latticework, the ladies of the court could look out at festive processions without jeopardizing their modest seclusion. The entrance to this strange building is on the rear side. It is an excellent example of Rajput artistry. Once on top of the Hawa Mahal its a breathtaking view of the pink city. In fact, Hawa Mahal symbolizes Jaipur today. The beauty of the Hawa Mahal lies in its fragile appearance. It is the most romantic and delicate examples of solid architecture. The Hawa Mahal is a beautiful multi-layered palace, which comprises of a large number of stone screens and windows and would surely enchant the viewers.
Hawa Mahal provides the visitor with excellent views of the city and a bird’s eye view of the Jantar Mantar. The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and glows like a gem.
Despite their time-consuming preoccupation with war, the Rajputs, have always been patrons of art and architecture. They were great builders. Their forts and palaces, built for reasons of security, residence and leisure of the Maharajas and their women, are both impressive and important part of Rajasthani culture. The love for decoration was not only confined to the royal houses but also filtered down to the common man.
This pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled and carved. Its facade makes Hawa Mahal look more like a screen than a palace. It is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness.
Lal Chand Usta – designer of Hawa Mahal had dedicated it to Lord Krishna and Radha but its fanciful structure appealed to the Maharaja who found it ideal for the seraglio. Sawai Pratap Singh was also a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Its intricate exterior wall looks like a mukut (crown), adorning Lord Krishna's head. This was built at a time when royal ladies observed very strict purdah system (covering the faces). This interesting palace, with its screened balconies, provided the ladies of royal household an opportunity to watch processions and other activities on the streets below without being observed themselves. The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name, when, as you climb up to the balconies, you are almost swept away by the cool breeze. It is visited by millions of domestic and foreign tourists and is a place of high tourist interest.
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