History of Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal was built in the year 1799. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh desired its construction. His inspiration behind the setting up of the structure was the unique structure of Khetri Mahal.
Architectural Design of Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal is also called the ‘specimen of fanciful architecture’. More specifically, it is a fine representation of the Rajputana style of architecture as well as the Islamic Mughal architecture. Typical features of the Rajput style of architecture are the domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, whereas the typical features of the Islamic style of architecture are the stone inlay filigree work and arches. This Mahal has been designed by an architect called Lal Chand Ustad. It is constructed using sandstone. More specifically, red and pink colored sandstone has been used to build Hawa Mahal. The color of this Mahal justifies the epithet of ‘Pink City’ given to Jaipur. The decor of this palace is based on the same line as the decor of the other monuments in the city. This Mahal is a five-storied monument and is pyramidal in shape. It has a height of about 50 feet (15 m).
The entry to the Hawa Mahal from the city palace side is through an imperial door. It opens into a large courtyard. On three sides of the courtyard there are double storied buildings. The Hawa Mahal also stands to enclose the courtyard on the east side. A fountain will be evident to the visitors at the centre of the courtyard. This courtyard is a home to an archaeological museum. The Mahal has a facade with about 953 niches. These niches are adorned with intricately carved jharokhas or windows. The jharokhas are bedecked with intricate latticework. Some of the jharokhas are made of wood. These jharokhas are the distinctive feature of Hawa Mahal. Due to these Jharokhas free circulation of air within the structure is possible. This facade stands in sharp contrast to the plain looking rear side of the palace structure. More specifically, there is a total lack of ornamentation on the inner face of the building.
The top three floors of the structure have a thickness of one room. The top two floors of this Mahal are accessible only through ramps. The first and second floors have patios in front of them. The front part of the Mahal is reminiscent of a honeycomb web of a beehive, constructed with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. There are chambers in the inner face on the back side of the building. They are provided with pillars and corridors and are minimally decorated. These chambers rise up to the top floor of the palace structure. These chambers are blessed with the cooling effect, also called the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) that is created by the small windows of the facade. These chambers are bedecked with fountains at the centre of each of the respective chambers. Apart from the above mentioned architectural features, this palace is an ideal historical site for exploration due to stone-carved screens, small casements, arched roofs and the delicately modeled hanging cornices. It has been noted that this palace is particularly eye-catching when viewed early in the morning, brightened up with the golden light of the sun.
Tourism of Hawa Mahal
The architectural features of Hawa Mahal have made it a popular tourist centre. Hawa Mahal provides the visitor with some excellent views of the city and a bird's eye view of the Jantar Mantar (a medieval observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur). The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze. Hawa Mahal can therefore be called a tourism product of Rajasthan.
Revamp of Hawa Mahal
Restoration and renovation work of Hawa Mahal commenced in the year 2006. This restoration work was undertaken after a time gap of about 50 years. The cost estimated for the restoration work was Rs 4568 million.
The city of Jaipur has good transport availability. The Jaipur Airport is located in Sanganer. The domestic terminal of this airport is located at a distance of about 7 km, whereas its international terminal is located at a distance of about 10 km from the main city. Jaipur is well connected to other major parts of India as well as some of the major overseas countries via this airport. Jaipur Railway Station is the main station on the broad gauge line of the Indian Railways. Jaipur is well connected to all the major cities of India through a network of National Highways. Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) operated bus services connecting Jaipur to Delhi. Non-AC as well as AC Volvo buses will be available to the tourists to reach Jaipur. It is important to note that the entry to the Hawa Mahal is not from the front but from a side road to its rear end.
Monuments in Jaipur, Rajasthan
Monuments of Rajasthan
Indian Regional Monuments
Forts in India