|Opening Times||:||9am – 4:30pm every day|
|Entry Price||:||– Indian: 10 Rupees |
– Foreigners: 50 Rupees (approx. £0.55/$0.75)
|Location||:||Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002|
The entrance to the building can be accessed via a courtyard to the rear. When standing directly in front of the pink façade of the Hawa Mahal, turn left, walk to the intersection and follow the road round to the right. You will see a big blue sign which points to the entrance via a wide but short side road. The ticket window is signposted on the right.
The Hawa Mahal, Palace of Wind
The Hawa Mahal (which translates to wind palace), sits at the rear of the City Palace within the walls of Jaipur’s Pink city. People often think the pink sandstone façade, which features 953 windows, is the front of the building, but they are mistaken, this is the rear.
The intricate lattice work was created to allow the women of the royal court to watch the festivals and general goings-on in the streets below without being seen by the public. The women of the royal court were not allowed to be seen without a face covering, so this design permitted them to move freely through the building.
Science at Work
One of the effects that the honeycomb structure of the façade allows can be likened to air conditioning. The repeated patterns and the size of the latticed windows make conditions perfect for the Venturi Effect to transpire. Wind is compressed through the varying windows, allowing a cool breeze to penetrate the inner rooms.
A Blend of Styles
The 5-story high structure of the Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 having been commissioned by the Maharaja at the time, Sawai Pratap Singh. The architecture is a mixture of Hindu (which is reflected in the floral décor and domed canopies) and Mughal (with the typical arches throughout the building).
In the Palace
Inside the building feels like a maze (a feeling which is assisted by the structure of the windows, reminiscent of a honeycomb). Rooms lead off rooms, and courtyards from courtyards. The top 3 storeys are just a single room wide, and the ramps that lead up can be quite claustrophobic. If you are one of the vertically gifted, watch your head. At 6’3”, Matt had to bend a bit to avoid knocking himself out. Those who weren’t planted in manure as a child and therefore achieved a relatively average height will be mostly fine but may have to lower your head at some points. Be sure to climb all the way to the top if you want spectacular views over Jaipur.
For just 50 rupees, The Hawa Mahal is definitely worth a visit whilst in Jaipur. (In hindsight, we would have been happy paying a little more if prices were higher).
Have you been to the Hawa Mahal? What was your favourite bit?