Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Place : Jaipur, Rajasthan
Highlight : Its peculiar Architecture
Best time to visit : October to February
Timings : Open 0900 - 17 hrs.
Built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh the 'Hawa Mahal', Palace of the Wind, is one of the major landmarks of Jaipur. It is an integral part of the City Palace, an extension of the Zenana (women's chambers) standing away from the main complex. This five storey building of unusual architecture designed by Lal Chand Usta, is a stunning example of Rajput artistry made of red and pink sand stone, beautifully outlined with white borders and motif's painted with quick lime. The monument with a spectacular view of Jaipur city with road avenues, intersections and colourful crowds in the market, was originally conceived with the aim of enabling ladies of the royal household to watch the everyday life and royal processions in the city without being seen by others.
Its facade from the road side makes Hawa Mahal look more like a delicate screen than a palace. This five-story, pyramid-shaped structure has tier after tier of 953 small casements, each with tiny lattice worked (Jali) pink windows, small balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled and carved. These small windows circulate cool air (Hawa) even in hot months. The pyramidal outline is even throughout by cramming and multiplying casements; and uses repetition of motifs to enhance its beauty.
The entrance to Hawa Mahal is from the City Palace side, through a stately door which opens into a spacious courtyard. The courtyard has a double storeyed building on three sides. There is a small archeological museum here. Only the eastern wing has three more storeys above, which are just a single room thick. The building, standing on a high podium, is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, with small intimate chambers , which give this palace its unique facade. There are no regular stairs to reach the upper floors, but only ramps.
Hawa Mahal which is currently under the supervision of the State archeological department provides the visitor with excellent views of the city. The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when sunlight through the latticed windows gives it a wonderful glow.
Airways : Jaipur is connected to Delhi Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Calcutta and Varanasi by domestic flights.
Railways : Jaipur is well connected to all the major parts of the country.
Roadways : Bus services are available that connects all the major places in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Mumbai.