HAWA MAHAL

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HAWA MAHAL

 

Hawa Mahal is a palace in Jaipur, India. It is constructed of red and pink sandstone. The palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the zenana, or women’s chambers.

The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. He was so inspired by the unique structure of Khetri Mahal that he built this grand and historical palace. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad. Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework.The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey the strict rules of “purdah”, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings. This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer. Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but in reality it is the back of that structure.

In 2006, renovation works on the Mahal were undertaken, after a gap of 50 years, to give a face lift to the monument at an estimated cost of Rs 4568 million. The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it. The palace is an extended part of a huge complex. The stone-carved screens, small casements and arched roofs are some of the features of this popular tourist spot. The monument also has delicately modeled hanging cornices.

History & Later Developments:-

Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, grandson of the great Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh who built Jaipur, constructed the Hawa Mahal in 1799. He was so impressed with the Khetri Mahal built by Maharaja Bhopal Singh in the town of Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan that he embarked on constructing the Hawa Mahal that today stands as a remarkable gem of Rajput style of architecture. It was built as an extension of the Royal City Palace and leads to the zenana or women’s chambers. One of the main reasons of constructing this beautiful mahal decorated with fine lattice windows and screened balconies was to facilitate the royal Rajput women, who otherwise followed the strict Purdah system and refrained from appearing in public, in  getting a glimpse of the daily events, royal processions and festivals taking place on the streets. This way they could enjoy their sense of freedom while maintaining their customs. 

Architecture & Design of Hawa Mahal:-

The architect of this unique five-storied pyramidal palace with a height of 15 m from its elevated base was Lal Chand Ustad. The design of the building showcases an excellent blend of Hindu Rajput architecture with that of the Islamic Mughal architecture. The former style is palpable from the fluted pillars, floral patterns and domed canopies while the arches and stone inlay filigree work are manifestations of the latter style.

Keeping in line with other famous landmarks of the city, which is aptly tagged as the ‘Pink City’, this monument was built with red and pink sandstones. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh’s devotion towards Lord Krishna is manifested from the design of the structure of the palace that resembles the crown of the Lord. Although not exactly a palace, it looks like one from the street. The façade of the building intricately carved with beautiful motifs is cognate to that of the honeycomb of a beehive. Several potholes of the structure each having small lattice windows, chiselled sandstone grill and decorated domes give the building a look of a mass of semi-octagonal bays. There are a total of 953 elaborately carved jharokhas or windows, some of which are made of wood. These jharokhas were build in such a manner that air circulates naturally through them creating Venturi effect (doctor breeze) thus air conditioning the entire structure during the hot summers. Each jharokha has a small chamber where one can sit and view the street. Fountains at the middle of each chamber complimented well with the light wind flowing through the jharokhas thus enhancing the cooling effect of the chambers.

 

Reference:

  1. https://www.culturalindia.net/monuments/hawa-mahal.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawa_Mahal
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