Hawa Mahal is a palace in Jaipur, India. It is constructed of red and pink sandstone. The palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the zenana, or women's chambers.
The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. He was so inspired by the unique structure of Khetri Mahal that he built this grand and historical palace. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad. Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey the strict rules of "purdah", which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings.
This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer. Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but in reality it is the back of that structure. In 2006, renovation works on the Mahal were undertaken, after a gap of 50 years, to give a face lift to the monument at an estimated cost of Rs 4568 million. The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it. The palace is an extended part of a huge complex. The stone-carved screens, small casements and arched roofs are some of the features of this popular tourist spot. The monument also has delicately modeled hanging cornices.
Part of Jaipur history - Maharaji Jai Singh IIJaipur history dated back to 18th century. Jaipur, the current capital of Rajasthan, was built in 1727 AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Maharaja Bishan Singh was demised and his son Jai Singh came to power at the age of 11. The Kachwaha Rajput faced with the rivalry with Sisodia, ruler of Mewar, he allied with the Mughals. With the help of he Mughals, Jai Singh had secured his throne and the kingdom flourished in his reign.
Jai Singh first had the capital in Amber, which is 11km away from Jaipur. As the city grew, water supply became a problem in Amber. Finally he decided to move the capital to Jaipur. Jai Singh was a talented ruler. When he moved the capital, he appointed Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, an architect from Bengal to make a complete city plan according to Shilpa Shastra, the science of Indian architecture. From residential area, parks, markets, palaces to roads, water system and fortification of boundary, everything was meticulously planned. It took four years to plan and it was said that Jai Singh actually laid down the foundation of the city himself in 1727. He continued to monitor the construction of the city to make sure it followed the traditional Rajput architectural design. Thus, Jaipur has the privilege being the first planned city in India. The Royal City Palace was also built in this period with the Hawa Mahal as a continuation by the later ruler.
Architecture & Design of Hawa Mahal
The architect of this unique five-storied pyramidal palace with a height of 15 m from its elevated base was Lal Chand Ustad. The design of the building showcases an excellent blend of Hindu Rajput architecture with that of the Islamic Mughal architecture. The former style is palpable from the fluted pillars, floral patterns and domed canopies while the arches and stone inlay filigree work are manifestations of the latter style.
Keeping in line with other famous landmarks of the city, which is aptly tagged as the ‘Pink City’, this monument was built with red and pink sandstones. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh’s devotion towards Lord Krishna is manifested from the design of the structure of the palace that resembles the crown of the Lord. Although not exactly a palace, it looks like one from the street. The façade of the building intricately carved with beautiful motifs is cognate to that of the honeycomb of a beehive. Several potholes of the structure each having small lattice windows, chiselled sandstone grill and decorated domes give the building a look of a mass of semi-octagonal bays. There are a total of 953 elaborately carved jharokhas or windows, some of which are made of wood. These jharokhas were build in such a manner that air circulates naturally through them creating Venturi effect (doctor breeze) thus air conditioning the entire structure during the hot summers. Each jharokha has a small chamber where one can sit and view the street. Fountains at the middle of each chamber complimented well with the light wind flowing through the jharokhas thus enhancing the cooling effect of the chambers.