Hawa Mahal is synonymous with Jaipur like Eiffel Tower is with Paris. It’s an iconic monument and a major tourist attraction in Jaipur. Along with Amer Fort, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions 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 façade dominates Sirehdyodi Bazar on the eastern perimeter of City Palace. This Hawa Mahal travel blog explores in detail.
What Makes Hawa Mahal Such A Unique Architecture?
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.
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.
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 the architecture of this building. Some think 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 post – Why you must visit and explore Hawa Mahal in Jaipur
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, the literal translation in english. Hawa Mahal was designed in a way to allow air to pass through the lattices and small windows.
A view of the road from the Hawa Mahal window from inside.
Hawa Mahal Travel Blog Guide
I entered this iconic Jaipur tourist attraction through the Anandpoli gate which leads to a courtyard.
At the other end is the Chandrapoli gate adorned with five Hindu Gods and deities along with 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 the north, east and west sides.
Hawa Mahal History
It was built in 1799 AD by Lal Chand Ustad 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 Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II’s grandson, the founder of Jaipur city. His term was marked with the constant attacks from Marathas. It’s an irony, a ruler patronizing all art forms & literature was constantly worried about Maratha attacks. Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh was the only successor of Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II to give an impetus to architecture. In the history of Jaipur, 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.
Architecture Inside Hawa Mahal
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 the South are called Pratap Mandir, a private area of Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh, its founder. The rooms towards the North is Bhojanshala or the kitchen.
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. The autumn season was celebrated at Sharad Mandir on the ground floor; Sharad means autumn in Hindi.
After checking out Sharad Mandir, it was the turn of Ratan mandir on the first floor. Ratan Mandir has colored glasswork, resembling the colors of precious and semi-precious stones with which Jaipur is closely associated.
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.
Hawa Mandir has a screen towards east direction & it is open from rest three sides. It is on the topmost floor. The name of the Hawa Mahal is derived from the Hawa Mandir section.
The access to top floors is through the ramp. There are no stairs to reach these floors.
As per popular legend, using ramp instead of a staircase was 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 Purdah. Ghaghras and Odhnis, 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. Of course, this is just a legend. There are many old buildings in the city which have a similar arrangement to access higher floors. Of course, these too were commissioned by the royalty.
The lattices in the Hawa Mahal allowed royal women to witness the streets of Jaipur from the confines of City Palace.
To serve this purpose, Hawa Mahal was connected to the section housing queens and women of the City Palace – Zenana Dyodi.
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.
There is an annexure with a courtyard and rooms.
Ain’t this beautiful?
Design elements of Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal is a symbol of the 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 the 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 the 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.
Hawa Mahal is open for visitors between 9 AM to 5.30 PM.
When to visit?
Good time to visit Hawa Mahal is either in the morning or evenings.
Another popular place to click pictures of Hawa Mahal is from the Tattoo Cafe opposite Hawa Mahal.
Hawa Mahal overlooks Sirehdyodi Bazar near Johari Bazar, Jaipur. The entrance to the 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.