The Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the Winds, is a palace located in the city of Jaipur, in India. There, all the historic buildings are salmon pink, the lucky color of the region. And built with red and pink sandstone, the Hawa Mahal is one of the most representative buildings of this Indian pink 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 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. Rajput architecture and Islamic Mughal architecture were exquisitely blended in its design. 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 ones. Remember a crown. This would be Krishna’s crown, since Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh worshiped him and was very devoted to this Hindu god.
But if there is something that identifies this beautiful palace like nothing else, it is its windows. The Hawa Mahal has no less than 953 windows or “jharokhas” decorated with intricate designs and of varying sizes.
It is precisely the wind that circulated through these small windows that gave the palace its name. A wind brought freshness to the premises even during the hottest months of summer.
Why was the Hawa Mahal built?
At the time the palace was built, the women of the harem could not go outside. They were 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 many windows. It was his only contact with the outside world.
For this same reason, the Hawa Mahal is not surrounded by gardens, as is usual in Indian palaces. It is on one of the main streets of the city, to provide the women of the harem with the most real experience possible.
This magnificent building was built as an extension of the Royal Palace of the city. For this reason, access will have to be done through the back of the Jaipur Palace complex. However, at present, little more of the facade is preserved. Even so, it has become the symbol of Jaipur.
How to get to the Palace of 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. They endow the palace with unmatched beauty and elegance.
The entrance is not free: foreign tourists will have to pay 200 rupees, a symbolic price. It is equivalent to 2.50 euros. Visiting time is usually approximately 1 hour.
Not only will you be able to visit what remains of the building, there is also a small museum in which various ancient objects are preserved. These objects will give us a glimpse into the richness of the past and the culture and exuberant way of life of the Rajputs.
As for the best time to visit Jaipur and the Hawal Mahal, keep in mind that summers in the region are very hot. For this reason, it is more advisable to leave the trip for less stressful times, that is, between the months of October and March.
India is full of amazing places and the Hawa Mahal is one of them. If you are lucky enough to visit Jaipur, be sure to stop by the Palace of Winds.