Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hawa Mahal – Jaipur’s landmark

Our Jaipur journey began with the landmark of the city, the Hawa Mahal , an imposing structure. The name literally means Palace of winds or Palace of the Breeze.

Built 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta it depicts the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. The pyramidal shape combined with the numerous screened windows makes the structure look like a giant honeycomb.

This 5 storied stunning semi-octagonal monument has 953 small windows called jharokhas, decorated with intrinsic lattice work and is a fine piece of Rajput architecture. The latticed windows allowed the royal ladies to view the everyday life in the street below from the palace without being seen.

The beauty of the Hawa Mahal lies in its fragile appearance, which belies its strength.

The interiors are connected by ramps and there are no stairs to reach the upper floors. A unique feature of the building is that it remains cool even during the harsh summers. This is due to the excellent ventilation that allows cool air to freely flow throughout the building.

Situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre, in the middle of the bustling Johari Bazaar, near the Badi Chaupad (the big square), this palace rises to a height of 50 feet. It is built of red and pink sandstone and forms a part of the City Palace, which was our next stop.

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