Hawa Mahal – The palace of winds

It is considered that the pink colour in India is the colour of the hospitality. May be this is why Jaipur – the Indian „Pink city“, is specified for a well-deserved home of Hawa Mahal. A five-storey building in colour of pink salmon, gorgeously decorated with fine floral themes and tracery windows. This is it, the palace of winds, the former place for entertainment of the royal lovers. Behind this most extraordinary, complex and seizing the look facade, the women in the royal palace enjoyed the slight puff of the wind, while they were looking at the state processions or the parade of the everyday life beneath them. A part of the city palace complex, this not symmetrical, exotic mixture of Rajasthan and Mongolian architecture, achievement of masters craftsmen, grabs the eye and leaves you without breath only at a glimpse.

Hawa Mahal

Source: By Manudavb – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikmedia

The palace of the winds or Hawa Mahal was built for maharaja Savai Pratap Singh in year 1799 initially as a temple, and subsequently it changed its statute to a palace. This was the time when the women in the royal family were forced to live in strict isolation. The palace of the winds in fact is an enlargement of the main palace and was constructed in a way, which ensured the opportunity women to observe how life was going on, but simultaneously to remain in complete isolation and hidden from the looks of the passers-by. It is said that Savai Pratap Singh was a dedicated follower of the Hindu deity Krishna, to whom he actually dedicated the palace of the winds. Therefore, it is asserted that the form of Hawa Mahal resembles similarity of the crown, worn by the god. Some people compare the palace like a carved box for jewellery, other compare it with an ant-hill, third with a honey-comb. But everyone unanimously admit that this is a unique building, a pearl of the city in an architectural plan, without doubt one of the symbols of the Pink city of the Rajasthan state.

The palace of the winds has alighted on a high platform, which borders on the city wall and is famous for the most elegant facade in the whole city. With its architecture, Hawa Mahal resembles an enormous wax honey-comb with its symmetrical 15 meter five-storey facade. The palace of the winds was built of red and pink sandstone, which is very characteristic of many buildings in Jaipur. The palace is outlined with white themes, drawn with lime. The facade of Hawa Mahal is arched and is composed of 953 beautiful small windows, each one of which has a neat small balcony and arched roof with a hanging cornice. Typically for the idea the women to remain far from the look of the passers-by, the openings of the windows are with an opening as a spyhole. The top three floors of the palace of the winds represent one and only room, which has an arched entrance from West, which leads towards a yard, of which the three sides are a two-storey building. The fourth wall of the yard is raised up above the rest three by one more floor. An interesting fact in the architecture of the palace of the winds is that there lack stairs, and there are only bent ramps. The lack of decoration in the palace of the winds speaks for the fact that it was built only for observation, and not for dwelling.

Maybe in many people arises the question why the building bears the name „the palace of the winds”. Everything owes the fact that the windows of the palace are not just a decorative element. Actuall, they are a part of a complex ventilation system, as together with the internal pipes and other openings in the building, they constantly create slight traction of the air in the premises. Thanks to this, even on the hottest days in the rooms blows lightly slight fresh wind. Exactly this peculiarity became a reason the palace to bear this name.

The palace of the winds, called “an example for fantastic architecture”, is situated Southwards from city of Jaipur, on the main road crossing, called Badi Chaupad. City of Jaipur is well connected by land, railway and air connections with the rest part of the country. The railway station Jaipur is a central main station from the large-scale line of the Indian railways. Besides, Jaipur is connected with main roads and with the international airport in Sanganur, which is located at distance of 13 kilometers from the city.

The entering in Hawa Mahal is not at the front side, and from a side way to the back side. In front of the visitors is revealed the opportunity to climb to the top, in order to enjoy the views towards the main street of the Old town, which are opening from any of the hundreds windows of Hawa Mahal. It is most beautiful to be seen at the late afternoon light, when the sun beams pour the palace and the variations of pink, orange and rust-colour ensure unique appearance. The 953 windows undoubtedly make Hawa Mahal the most beautiful projection veranda in the world.