Hawa Mahal is a magnificent architectural monument in the pink city – Jaipur. It was built in 1799 by the architect Lal Chand Ustad for Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. The inspiration for the structure comes from the Khetri Mahal in Jhunjhunu. Hawa Mahal means the palace of breeze.
The Hawa Mahal is on one side of the courtyard in the Palace, the three other sides having their own wings of the palace. The inner side of the structure is relatively plain. The exterior of the structure which is visible from the road is actually the rear side of the palace. It resembles a honeycomb structure for all the little lattice-worked windows, 953 to be precise. These windows or the jharokhas were meant to for the ladies of the royal family to be able to view the daily life on the road or processions that passed by without being seen, This was the time when women had to follow the purdah system, by keeping their faces covered in front of strangers.
Each of this jharokha is a very fine piece of masonry, a combination of Rajput and Moghul style of architecture, the Rajput style reflected in the dome and the floral patterns and the Moghul style in the fine latticework. Each jharokha is covered with a small dome like structure. A common person can sit in these windows and imagine what luxury it must have been for the royal ladies.
The structure is five stories tall and the windows allow the breeze to pass through thus producing a cooling effect. This is enhanced by small fountains in each of the chambers. Maharaja Jai Singh used it as his favourite resort.
The entire structure of the Hawa Mahal is made of red and pink sandstone, a signature feature in Rajput architecture. This is for it to match with the other similar structures in Rajasthan and particularly Jaipur giving it the epithet of being the ‘Pink City’.
Hawa Mahal belongs to the elegant pieces of architecture that many cities of India boast of.