Monday, 25 February 2019

Hawa Mahal, The Palace of the Winds


Just when you thought Indian architecture couldn't get any more beautiful, feast your eyes on this!


Rising 50 feet above the streets of Jaipur, you'll find the city's most distinctive landmark, the spectacular pink-painted honeycombed hive that is the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds. Built in 1799 by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh, the Mahal was an extension of the City Palace, enabling the women of the royal household to watch city life through the 953 (yes, really!) windows without being seen by the public, thus remaining in purdah.

Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh

More incredible doorways!


The pink and red Hawa Mahal is the tallest building in the world not to have foundations, managing to stay upright because of both its curved shape and the 87° angle at which it is built. Mughal architecture is not only beautiful, it's mind-bendingly clever, too.



There's a small museum inside the Hawa Mahal with miniature paintings and ceremonial armour on display.  


The top three floors (known as Vichitra Mandir, Prakash Mandir and Hawa Mandirare just a single room wide.  The narrow corridors can get extremely crowded, claustrophobics beware! 


Despite the Hawa Mahal being five storeys tall there are no steps to the upper floors, instead you'll find ramps which allowed for the royal ladies to be transported by palanquins (similar to a sedan chair).


Ratan Mandir, on the second floor, has the most beautifully coloured glass windows, they've got an 1960s vibe to them despite them being installed in 1799. 




Each of the casement windows have miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, finials and domes, giving the appearance of a mass of semi-octagonal bays, giving the Mahal its unique façade and offering a tantalising glimpse of life outside the palace to both the royal ladies of the Eighteenth century, and us commoners.



The nine-hundred and fifty-three windows allow for a cool breeze to blow through the Mahal (which explains why it's called the Palace of the Winds), keeping it cool and airy and perfect for Jaipur's sizzling Summer temperature.


After a gap of fifty years, renovation work on Hawa Mahal took place in 2006, at an estimated cost of Rs 4568 million (£49 million) which was shared between the Indian government and corporate business.


The palace's architectural heritage is a fusion of Hindu Rajput and Islamic Mughal; the Rajput style is seen in the form of domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, and the Islamic style as evident in its stone inlay filigree work and arches (similar to those seen at Fatehpur Sikri).


Maharajah Pratap Singh used to worship Lord Krishna on this storey, known as Vichitra Mandir, and wrote poems in devotion. The shape of Hawa Mahal is built to resemble Krishna's crown.





The perfect spot for a selfie.


Look at this regal beauty! Her family requested that we pose for pictures so we asked for a photo of their little princess in return.


Another fabulous doorway.




Hawa Mahal is a hugely popular tourist attraction so get there early.

Open daily from 9am - 5.30 pm
Indian/Foreigner admission price:  50 rupees/200 rupees 

44 comments:

  1. Great post - we were there in 1988 and it is fantastic to see the restoration work that has been done. Keep the posts coming!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kiwiangela - sounds like we timed our visit well! isn't Jaipur beautiful? xx

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  2. What a breathtaking building! As you say, could Indian architecture get any better that what you've already shown us and it can! It is a superb building; everything about is lovely.

    I'm just trying to imagine what it might be like to have look out at the life going on out of those windows and to have get a lift by palanquin up and down a ramp - why couldn't they walk I want to know? I wonder if the women of the Royal Household were happy? I suppose though, that's all they knew as women of their time and class; unimaginable to us.

    Hope you're enjoying our lovely February sunny weather!
    xxxxx

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    1. I wondered the same about the women. I suppose, as most came from wealthy families, it was the life they'd always known but I can't imagine living a life behind a screen. I wonder if they envied the common women they could see from those windows and were ever tempted to escape.
      I'm loving this weather, long may it last! xxx

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  3. I am amazed! What an astonishing building! It is utterly exquisite. It quite takes my breath away (Palace of the winds and all that!). What a privilege to see it. I can totally see why it is like Krishna's headdress!!

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    1. Isn't it wonderful? I'd seen it in books but the reality was astonishing. I love the name, palace of the Winds, too - it's like something from the Arabian Nights! xx

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  4. Absolutely breathtaking buildings....and the colours are just stunning.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. Incredible, aren't they? It really is a fairy tale building. xxx

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  5. Another beautiful piece of architecture! Love the coloured glass bits.

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  6. I am really enjoying your holiday, thank you for taking us all along. India is beautiful, hope to get there one day, maybe on my last trip (74 yrs young!)

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    1. Hello, Red the Elder!! I'm thrilled to take you along on the trip. I hope you do get to visit India. I've met people in their 80s visiting for the first time. xxx

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  7. Wow, that is incredibly beautiful!

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  8. Not sure once looking at first photo and tenth photo, I have to wonder if there possible bedrooms or fancy jail cell
    Coffee is on

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    1. I suppose it was a jail cell for the women of the harem, never venturing into the streets below. Beautiful place, nevertheless. xxx

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  9. wowww, what a beautiful building! totally in love with the colour and the fascinating carved details! and this fabulous building has not foundations! amazing!!!
    Love to see you posing and looking so fab and happy!
    besos

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    1. It's crazy to think that it doesn't have foundations - I didn't know that fact until I got home. I don't think I'd have been quite so hasty to climb to the top if I'd known! xxx

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  10. The Palace of the Winds is breathtakingly beautiful! The details are exquisite. And quite a feat of engineering too, if it manages to stay upright without any foundations. I agree on Ratan Mandir's coloured glass having a 60s vibe! In spite of its 953 windows, it must have been a gilded cage for those women ... xxx

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    1. Gilded cage indeed! That's a brilliant description. I've read books where princesses have escaped the zenana for another life, I think I'd have been tempted. xxx

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  11. somewhere i have a pic of me, standing in the same place in front of the colored glass window :-D
    when we visited it was not crowded at all - thankfully. only a few indian travelers - of cause - westerners stay at home for x-mas. good for us, we could admire the beautiful building unhurriedly and looked out of (almost) every window....
    xxxxx

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    1. You need to gig those photos out, Beate!
      We only a handful of foreign tourists the whole time we were travelling in the Golden triangle, domestic tourists made up the vast majority - it shows that the two-tiered admission system does its job although the constant for selfies are a bit tiring!!!
      I know where all the foreigners were when you went - Goa! That's why we stopped going to Goa in December. xxx

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  12. That's...a LOT of windows to clean! The coloured glass does have a modern feel to it, and your photos are fab.

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    1. Too right! I wonder who got that job? xxx

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  13. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful building! Only in my dreams, or through your blog could I travel there. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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    1. I'm so glad you came along for the ride, Cynthia! xxx

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  14. Thank you so much for your holiday posts. I love that you share your knowledge and the lovely photo's too. You are a very good writer. Always something interesting.

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    1. Thanks you so much, Caz, that's so kind of you! xxx

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  15. Wow, wow!! No foundations eh? Mind boggling! Your dress is just as beautiful as the architecture. Xx

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    1. Amazing, isn't it? Makes me feel a little better about our house only having foundations of just one brick! xxx

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  16. What a feast for the eyes. Every single photo is so GORGEOUS! X

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    1. Thanks so much, Jess! It's hard to take a bad photo in India, everything is beautiful! xxx

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  17. It's beautiful from the outside, and even the inside but the thought of living a life stuck behind walls is dismal isn't it
    Quite stunning though. xxx

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    1. What an existence, eh? All the riches in the world, surrounded by beauty but imprisoned behind a screen. Rather them than me! xxx

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  18. I watched a documentary about this Palace of the Winds but I also learned a lot from reading this post...What a fascinating place it is! I had no idea that it is the tallest building without a foundation....or that it was build without a foundation in the first place, that's amazing, especially since it is such a tall building. Your photographs are so wonderful, they really do transport one to a spot. Those glass stained windows do make me think of sixties. Look how ahead of time they were.

    A truly beautiful place indeed. If I ever visit India, this will be on my list.

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    1. Do put it on the must-see list, Ivana! After the Taj Mahal the memories will live with you forever. xxx

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  19. Aaah, that is beautiful! It must have been a strange life for the ladies, never participating, always watching. All your photos are making me want to go back to India.

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    1. It was so beautiful, I can think of worse places to be imprisoned! xxx

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  20. Oh my word that pink palace is beautiful. Are you pestered by beggars as you walk around the different places.

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    1. Isn't it just? I wouldn't say we were pestered by beggar very often. Most of the time the needy sit outside places of worship waiting for donations, no real hassle. We give what we can. xxx

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  21. The Palace of the Wind is easily the most beautiful building I've ever seen. The colour, and the little "hives" are amazing. The stained glass windows do look very "Pop Art" despite their age. I love the photo you took of the young lady in yellow - what a lovely subject!

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    1. Isn't The Hawa Mahal absolutely gorgeous? That young girl was such a beauty, she looked like I imagined those 18th century princesses to have done, strikingly beautiful. No wonder they were kept away from the public eye. xxx

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Lots of love, Vix