July 8, 2008
Built in 1799, the Hawa Mahal (the palace of Winds) is one of the Jaipur’s major Landmarks, although it is actually little more than a facade. This five – storey building, which looks out over the main street of the buzzing old city , is a stunning example of Rajput artistry with its pink, delicately honeycombed sandstone windows, of which there are 953. It was originally built to enable the women of the royal household to watch the everyday life and processions of the cit. The palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh and is a part of the city palace complex.
Since the Hawa Mahal was built at a time when women of the royal families had to observe strict purdah, many believe that the Hawa Mahal was built, just so these ladies could watch the processions and various activities taking place on the streets. This does explain why Hawa Mahal has such tiny windows and many screened balconies. The royal ladies could look below at the people without showing themselves and thus enjoy a sense of freedom.
The Hawa Mahal is a popular place among visitors to Rajasthan because of the amazing view it offers of the city and particularly Jantar Mantar (another tourist attraction). Many insist that the best time to visit Hawa Mahal is in the early morning, right when the sun is rising. As the palace bathes in the golden light of the sun, it looks like a fantastic image conjured up by the mind in a trance. The palace glows like an impalpable dream, which makes you feel that even if you dare blink your eyes, it will quickly dissolve into thin air.
Most of the people come her to see the beautiful facade, but you can also climb the top for a view of the city below; peer through the latticed windows to experience the fascinating interplay of gazes set up by the structure. The entrance is from the rear of the building.
Time: 9:00 A.M.- 4:00 P.M.(Daily)