An icon of Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal has been a longstanding must-see on many India itineraries. Learn more about this breathtaking palace as we break down the history, incredible architecture and significance of this Indian structure…
Built in 1799, the Hawa Mahal was constructed as an extension of the Royal City Palace. A truly spectacular construction of red and pink sandstone, the building also known as the “Palace of the Winds” was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh.
Approach the Hawa Mahal and you will be mesmerised by a façade of pink and red sandstone. The intricate honeycomb network of small windows shaped in the crown of Lord Krishna served both a devotional and practical purpose. Whilst the structure was dedicated to the deity, the palace was intended as a place for the ladies of the court.
The name “Palace of the Winds” comes from the English translation of Hawa Mahal. The original design of the palace allowed for a cool breeze to blow from the 953 jharokhas (windows) through the halls and passageways. This design allowed the royal women to keep cool during summer. Due to recent renovations, this cooling system unfortunately no longer exists.
However, there is more to the Hawa Mahal than just its stunning dusky pink sandstone frontage! Venture inside and you can explore the five levels and two courtyards of this stunning palace. Admire beautiful stained glasswork on the second story and climb to the third story to see where the Maharaja worshipped Lord Krishna daily. Adorned with intricate decorative work, sculptures, and some of the best views in the city, this palace is an absolute must see!
The jharokhas were more than just a cooling system. Able to see into the outside world, these tiny windows allowed women observing purdah to witness festivals and street life below. Purdah is the practice of women screening themselves from men and strangers. Tiny windows prevented those on the street from looking in, whilst still allowing the women inside to look out.
Now that we’ve convinced you this is one site you absolutely can’t miss, when is the best time to visit? Open from 9AM – 4:30PM daily, there is plenty of time to visit this beautiful palace. However, we recommend visiting early in the morning. There’s nothing that quite compares to watching the sun’s rays catch on the pink and red sandstone as it rises over the city. Visiting in the morning also allows you to escape the worst of the heat. Similarly, the best times to visit are during October and March. Housed inside the palace is also an archaeological museum.
The Hawal Mahal is not only a striking structure, but also a historical and intriguing one. A truly unique palace, this iconic building should be an absolute must-do for anyone visiting Jaipur.