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The Architectural Marvel Called Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal is synonymous with Jaipur in a way Eiffel Tower is with Paris. It’s an iconic monument and a major tourist attraction in Jaipur. It is no surprise that Hawa Mahal is the most photographed tourist attraction in Jaipur as well as one of the top places to click Instagram worthy pictures in Jaipur! Its facade dominates Sirehdyodi Bazar on the eastern perimeter of City Palace. It follows the principle of the repetitive pattern of windows & domed pavilions stacked together to resemble a honeycomb design.  This is what makes it a unique structure. This blog explores Hawa Mahal in detail.

Despite living in Jaipur for years, I couldn’t explore this beautiful building until recently. I visited this tourist site soon after the famous or infamous Demonetization of high-value Indian currency notes in 2016. Expecting a low turnout due to the ongoing currency shortage during the demonetization, I was proved wrong. There were many tourists. It took me merely five minutes and Rs 50 to get an entry ticket.

Hawa Mahal picture
Hawa Mahal is shaped like a crown; inspired by the Mukut or crown of Lord Krishna.

For most foreign tourists, Hawa Mahal is something straight out of a fairy tale and for others, it is an exotic building.  Many travelers and tourists find it hard to describe its architecture. Some of them think that Hawa Mahal follows an eccentric design pattern without any specific purpose. In reality, it follows a certain order and pattern. The concept of symmetry.

This is part 2 of my previous postWhy you must visit and explore Hawa Mahal in Jaipur

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The iconic Hawa Mahal with 953 windows!

Hawa Mahal Facts

Hawa Mahal when literally translated into English means Palace of Winds. It is named so because its top floor is called Hawa Mandir or Temple of wind.  Hawa Mahal was designed in a way to allow air to pass through the lattices and small windows.

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Peeping through to get a glimpse of Sirehdyodi Bazaar.

Also read: Why you must visit and explore Hawa Mahal in Jaipur

I entered this iconic Jaipur tourist attraction through Anandpoli gate which leads to a courtyard.

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Anandpoli gate

 

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Another view of Anandpoli gate
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Chandrapoli Gate

At the other end is Chandrapoli gate adorned with five Hindu Gods and deities along with Dwarpal on either side.

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Chandrapoli Gate is adorned with five Deities & two Dwarpal on either side.

Lord Ganesha, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva, and Kalki grace this Pol or entrance gate. This gate leads to the main courtyard with the fountain in its center and single-story building on north, east and west sides.

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Tourists at Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal History

Build in 1799 AD by Lal Chand Usta and commissioned by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh, the combination of Jharokas, lattice-work, and windows make Hawa Mahal a unique structure. It is 87 feet high with a unique blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural style and shaped like a Mukut or crown of Lord Krishna.

Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh was the grandson of Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur city. His term was marked with the constant attacks from Marathas. In many ways, it’s unfortunate that a great lover of art forms, literature, painting, and architecture was constantly worried. Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh was the only successor to give an impetus to architecture. In Jaipur’s history, only three rulers have contributed significantly towards built heritage, art and culture – Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II, Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh, and Maharajah Ram Singh II.

 

Hawa Mahal Information

A five stories structure towards the East is what we know as Hawa Mahal. All these five story or levels have unique names – Sharad Mandir, Ratan Mandir, Vichitra Mandir, Prakash Mandir, and Hawa Mandir. Rooms towards South are called Pratap Mandir, a private area of Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh, its founder. The rooms towards North is Bhojanshala or the kitchen.

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Notice the change of color- From terracotta pink to pastel yellow/ ochre.
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Overlooking Chandrapoli and main courtyard. A shot clicked from Ratan Mandir

Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh was a great lover of architecture and art forms like poetry, literature, painting, dance, and singing. Hawa Mahal was his personal retreat to engage in his love for these art forms. He worshipped Lord Krishna at Vichitra Mandir being his ardent devotee.  Autumn season was celebrated at Sharad mandir on the ground floor; Sharad means autumn in Hindi.

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The beautiful gate of Sharad Mandir

 

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Sharad Mandir. Simple but captivating!

After checking out Sharad Mandir, it was the turn of Ratan mandir on the first floor. Ratan Mandir has colored glass work, resembling the colors of precious and semi-precious stones with which Jaipur is closely associated.

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Exploring Jharokha of Hawa Mahal in Ratan Mandir
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Colored glass work at Ratan Mandir

Prakash Mandir is open to the sky. It has two screens in the east and west direction. Because it is lit well due to Prakash or sunlight, it is called Prakash Mandir.

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Prakash Mandir is about light. Prakash means light in Hindi

Hawa Mandir has a screen towards east direction & it is open from rest three sides. It is the topmost floor. The name of Hawa Mahal is derived from Hawa Mandir section.

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Hawa Mahal is named after Hawa Mandir.
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Tourists at Hawa Mandir.

The access to top floors is through the ramp. There are no stairs to reach these floors.

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There is a logic for constructing ramp instead of staircase in Hawa Mahal. Hawa Mahal was built and designed in a way to enable the royal women to witness the street processions without being seen by the public. In those days women were not permitted to step out of the royal abode – City Palace without PurdahGhaghras and Odhns, a dress worn by these women were quite heavy and required the help of maids. Ramp facilitated for easy movement of the royal women dressed in this heavy attire. The lattices in Hawa Mahal allowed royal women to witness the streets of Jaipur from the confines of City Palace.

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Peeping through the window of Hawa Mahal.

To serve this purpose, Hawa Mahal was connected to the section housing queens and women of the City Palace – Zenana Dyodi.

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Entrance from Zenana Dyodi
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Beautiful Chhatris and Jharokas of Hawa Mahal

Also read: Why you must visit and explore Hawa Mahal in Jaipur

You can enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the top floor of this iconic tourist attraction. It is unlikely that you will get to see this view from any tourist attraction in Jaipur.

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Stunning views of Jantar Mantar and City Palace.
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Another view from Hawa Mandir.

 

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As seen from the window of Vichitra Mandir.

There is an annexure with a courtyard and rooms.

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Beautiful Araiash work on white panels inside Hawa Mahal’s Pratap Mandir. A private area of Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh.

 

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Ain’t this beautiful?

 

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Design elements of Hawa Mahal
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A sectional view of the most iconic tourist attraction of Jaipur as seen from Ratan Mandir.

 

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Behind the facade!

Hawa Mahal is a symbol of grandeur and epitome of Rajput architecture. It is not merely an exotic structure meant for the depiction of skills and workmanship which Rajput architecture attained. Hawa Mahal has been in use for more than 200 years. In a way, it has become an emblem of the pink city! It has enthralled visitors and travelers with its magnificent architecture ever since it was built!

If you love art, history, and architecture, there is every reason for you to visit Hawa Mahal. Its one of the most accessible tourist attractions of Jaipur since it is located next to the famous bazaar of Jaipur – Johari Bazar.  I’m glad that I visited Hawa Mahal. TIP: Although very few tourists venture inside Hawa Mahal, it gets crowded since its a small building. Choose odd hours to avoid the rush during the tourist season.

Also read: Why you must visit and explore Hawa Mahal in Jaipur

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Hawa Mahal Timing: Hawa Mahal is open for visitors between 9 AM to 5 PM.

Hawa Mahal Address – Hawa Mahal is in Sirehdyodi bazar near Johari Bazar, Jaipur. Entrance to Hawa Mahal is through the gate in Tripolia Bazaar near Badi Chaupar. Another option to visit Hawa Mahal is through the Goverdhan Nath Ji Temple entrance in Sirehdyodi Bazar.

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96 thoughts on “The Architectural Marvel Called Hawa Mahal

  1. Symmetry is what attracts me to it every time I see it in pics. I am glad you stuck to your promise of coming out with a detailed post on this iconic building ☺️

    Btw, I would have thought the entrance would be some sort of a huge and heavy gate like they normally used to have at that time. This looks like a quite stealth way to get in.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think symmetry is one of the key elements of attraction. As per survey and study, most attractive people have symmetrical faces.
      Generally, it is assumed that such buildings have a huge gate. This one too has a huge gate but now it’s not operational and is at entrance of the compound. I didn’t post its picture because it is open and is not a great capture.
      Thanks for sharing your views, Alok. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

    1. hank you Sidran! This building doesn’t have foundation…that’s what I get to hear. It’s one of the finest examples of workmanship. I’m not sure why people find it hard to replicate….is it because of design or motivation…I don’t know. But a valid question, indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Only because I read it in your post Arv…I am surprised it is still standing unless they have started building a little below ground or used a method unknown to most..Interesting I will have to google it..It is one very beautiful building though 🙂

        Like

  2. Superb post Arv!! Very details and it’s like being there!
    Having said that, my next vacation should be Jaipur along with other Rajasthan key POIs. I feel I would take something like a week of time in Rajasthan. So can you suggest must-do activities in Rajasthan? Alos the best time to visit. I prefer the cooler temperatures. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj. A week’s time in Rajasthan is too short! What I will suggest is you pick a sector and utilize it to the fullest. I can suggest you places and things to do in that circuit. This is a great weather to explore Rajasthan! Let’s connect via PM on twitter/ Instagram or FB! lots of info to be shared 🙂
      Thanks for appreciating; happy to hear you liked it, Raj! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sure I will do, that’s a good idea. In Rajasthan I have only seen the Jaipur that too in a day trip… I now Rajasthan will be a heaven for my interests, I will keep you informed buddy. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful photographs! I’ve been to Hawa Mahal twice – I love the architecture and imagining what it would have been like, to witness processions from behind those latticed screens. Enjoyed reading some of the history behind the construction and architecture!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Shinjini! Like Taj Mahal, Hawa Mahal is one of its kind. Glad to know you have explored this beautiful place twice. Appreciate your visit and comment. 🙂

      Like

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