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About Hawa Mahal
The Hawa Mahal Jaipur translated into English means the Palace of the Winds and this name is in reference to the clever cooling system which propagates a gentle breezes through the inner rooms even during the intense Rajasthan summers. This ingenious design has been completely lost after a recent renovation in which windows were installed behind each of the lattice openings, so today the palace of winds has no wind.
In 1799, the Kachhwaha Rajput ruler, Sawai Pratap Singh, grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh ordered Lal Chand Usta to construct an extension to the Royal City Palace. The Purdah system at the time was strictly followed. Rajput royal ladies should not be seen by strangers or appear in any public area. The construction of Hawa Mahal allows the royal ladies to enjoy from every day street scenes to royal processions on the street without being seen.
The palace was constructed from pink sandstone but in 1876 the exterior walls were painted with a calcium oxide paint that gives Jaipur its distinct pink colour. The palace was designed in 1799 by architect Lalchand Usta under the guidance of Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh Marah as an extension of the zenana (woman’s chambers) part of the maharaja’s harem of the City Palace. The building’s original function was to allow women to observe the daily life of the city whilst staying unseen from the street and commoner level.
Architecture of Hawa Mahal
The small lattice windows were angled to over look the city’s main market and central boulevard. Along this boulevard royal processions or religious ceremonies would pass within sight of the women hidden behind the beautiful lattice windows. In later years the rooms of the Palace of the Wind found favour with the Royal family of Jaipur, as the rooms were always considerably cooler than the main bulk of the City Palace due to the constant air flow through the windows.
This forced separation of the maharaja’s many wives and concubines from the outside world is called purdah and the origins of the word mean curtain. The Hawa Mahal did not contain curtains but intricate marble grills that covered each of the small windows on the balconies called jharokhas. The stunning lattice work is best appreciated from inside the palace where it is possible to view close at hand the skilled craftsmanship of the builders.
The five-stores palace was built in the form of Krishna’s crown because Sarai Pratap Singh was devoted to Krishna, the Hindu god.
The mahal has a total of 953 small casements each with small lattice worked pink window, balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices. This allows cool breeze blow through the mahal and keep it cool and airy in summer. Despite the large number of windows, each of them are size of a peep hole such that the royal ladies were not to be seen by the public.
The top three storeys are a single room thick, namely Vichitra Mandir, Prakash Mandir and Hawa Mandir. The Maharaja worshipped the Krishna at the Vichitra Mandir. while the Prakash Mandir provides an open terrace to both sides. Worth noting is that there are no steps to the upper floors but ramps. They are for the palanquin of the royal ladies.
The autumn celebrations took place on the Sharad Mandir on the first floor. Don’t miss out on the colourful glassworks on Ratan Mandir on the second floor. Contrast to the rich decoration of the exterior, the interiors of the mahal is much simpler. But it is also where you will find the best view of the city of Jaipur.
Best time to visit the Hawa Mahal
The best time to visit Hawa Mahal is in the early morning when the sun enters the rooms from the windows. The mahal is illuminated with golden sun lights.
How to Reach Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal is located at Badi Choupad, Pink City, Jaipur. It’s right at the intersection called Badi Choupad or Badi Chaupad where mini-buses and hotels’ tourist buses drop off passengers so getting there is quite conveniently.
From Jaipur Airport at Sanganer
Jaipur is well connected by roads and railway, though the easiest way is by taxi. It’s about 12km to the Hawa Mahal and takes about 28 minutes.
From Jaipur Railway Station
If you arrive at the Jaipur railway station. You can either take a taxi or catch a mini-bus to Badi Choupad for Hawa Mahal. The ride takes about 12 minutes depends on road traffic.
From Amber Palace
A taxi ride from the Amber Palace/Amer Fort takes about 26 minutes.
From Albert Hall Museum
Walk for about 11 minutes from Albert Hall Museum to Ram Niwas Garden Parking on MI Road, then take the mini-bus #12.
your hotel tourist bus service.
Hawa Mahal Opening Hours and Entry Fees
Hawa Mahal opens daily. It does not close on public holidays or Sunday.
Time open: 9:00a.m. – 4:30p.m. daily
Local Indians: Rs. 50
Foreigners: Rs. 200
*Composite Tourist Ticket is available such that you can visit seven different monuments including Hawa Mahal.
There are many hotels and guests houses around Hawa Mahal. The closest one is probably the Umaid Vilas, one of the heritage style Umaid Residency. The location is unbeatable and they are the Travellers’ Choice from Tripadvisor in 2011 and 2012. Read on for more hotels near Hawa Mahal.
Jaipur has many palaces and big mansion and a lot of them are converted to hotels. One of them is the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel which belongs to the Taj Group. Situated in the 18 acres Mughal style Garden of Natani, the palace was converted to a hotel in 1955. It provides true luxury and it’s the most authentic palace adaptation of the kind. Also great venue for weddings or corporate events .
More on the luxury side, the magnificent Rambagh Palace Hotel and Samode Haveli Hotel are the other choices.
If you are not looking for surprises and just want something safe and reliable then you will probably want to turn to one of these international hotel groups which you know they reach certain standard.
- Hilton Jaipur
- Holiday Inn Jaipur City Centre
- iBis Jaipur
- Ramada Jaipur Hotel
- Travel on tight budget
If you are travelling in tight budget, you may try Pink Turban, Hotel H.R. Palace, Shahar Palace Hotel or Madhav Guesthouse.