Built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the Hawa Mahal Palace (Palace
of the Wind , or Pink palace ) is one of the major landmarks of Jaipur (Rajasthan
- India). The structure is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully
and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs.
Jaipur's signature building the Hawa Mahal, a multi layered palace, was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Famous for it's Beehive like structure, the Mahal is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. The palaces and forts of yesteryears which were witness to the royal processions and splendors are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the life-style of the people of the "Pink City".
If one were to select the most outstanding of all buildings in the walled city, or the most unusual, then the Hawa Mahal would easily stand out. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, this remarkable structure adjoins the outside of the City Palace wall. Sawai Pratap Singh was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and he dedicated this mahal to the Lord, its intricate exterior wall looks like a mukut (crown), which adorns Lord Krishna’s head. It overlooks one of the main street and lies sandwiched between more prosaic buildings.
This five-story, pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled and carved. Its top three stories are just a single room thick but at the base are two courtyards. It is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, but has over 900 niches and a mass of semi-octagonal bays, carved sandstone grills, finials and domes, which give this palace its unique fame. There is no definite record as to why Hawa Mahal was built, only conjecture. It certainly was not meant for residential purposes. That becomes clear if one were to view this unusual structure from the rear side. There is a total lack of ornamentation on the inner face of the building. The chambers are plain and more mass of pillars and passages leading to the top story. It does not seem to be part of the same building. The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze. Today, Hawa Mahal provides the visitor with some excellent views of the city and a bird’s eye view of the Jantar Mantar (a medieval observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur). The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and is bathed in its golden light making it glow like a gem. The entrance to this strange building is on the rear side.