In this hundred and fourty-third archive story by Kristian Bertel, we are visiting the Hawa Mahal palace in the city of Jaipur, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Built in red and pink colored sand stone, in keeping with the décor of the other monuments in the city, the color of the Hawa Mahal is a full testimony to the epithet of the 'Pink City' given to Jaipur. This five storey high red sandstone structure with over 950 windows had a purpose to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.
Built in red and pink colored sand stone, in keeping with the décor of the other monuments in the city, the color of the Hawa Mahal is a full testimony to the epithet of the 'Pink City' given to Jaipur. This five storey high red sandstone structure with over 950 windows had a purpose to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

Hawa Mahal in India

The Hawa Mahal is a palace in the city of Jaipur, India. It is on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur and extends to the 'Zenana' or women's chambers. Made of red and pink sandstone, Jaipur's signature palace of unusual architecture is a stunning example of local artistry and the top of the Hawa Mahal offers an excellent view over the city. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Singh as part of the City Palace.

Why is Hawa Mahal called the 'Palace of the Winds'?

This palace was named 'Hawa Mahal' because it is quite windy. Its architecture and design incorporates so many windows, 'Jharokhas' and latticework make it well ventilated and add to the free flow of wind. The wind or 'Hawa' in Hindi circulates through these windows, giving the palace its name.


Inspired by an unique structure
The 'Palace of the Winds' was built in 1799 by the Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the founder of the city of Jaipur, India. It was so inspired by the unique structure of Khetri Mahal that he built this grand and historical palace and it was designed by Lal Chand Ustad. Its facade with 953 small windows with intricately carved 'Jharokhas' some are made of wood is a stark contrast to the plain-looking rear side of the structure. 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 to appear in public without face coverings and this architectural feature also allowed cool air from the 'Venturi effect' 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 it is the back. The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and 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 and the monument also has delicately modelled hanging cornices.

Monument in Jaipur in India
This palace is a five-story pyramidal shaped monument that rises to about 15 meters and the top three floors of the structure have the width of a single room, while the first and second floors have patios in front of them. The front elevation, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, finials and domes and it gives the appearance of a mass of semi-octagonal bays, giving the monument its unique facade as Kristian Bertel | Photography has photographed. The inner face on the back side of the building consists of chambers built with pillars and corridors with minimal ornamentation and reach up to the top floor. The interior of the palace has been described as having rooms of different colored marbles, relieved by inlaid panels or gilding, while fountains adorn the centre of the courtyard.

Its cultural and architectural heritage is a reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and Islamic Mughal architecture and 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 as distinguished from its similarity with the Panch Mahal at Fatehpur Sikri.




"The entry to the Hawa Mahal from the city palace side is through an imperial door. It opens into a large courtyard, which has double-storeyed buildings on three sides, with the Hawa Mahal enclosing it on the east side. An archaeological museum is also housed in this courtyard"




The masterpiece of Maharaja Jai Singh
Hawa Mahal was also known as the masterpiece of Maharaja Jai Singh as it was his favourite resort because of the elegance and built-in interior of the Mahal. The cooling effect in the chambers, provided by the wind passing through the small windows of the facade, was enhanced by the fountains provided at the centre of each of the chambers. The top two floors of the Hawa Mahal are accessed only through ramps.

The place is actually called an 'Ancient air conditioner' of the town and it was build to keep the city palace, which is located behind Hawa Mahal cool. The water use to flow alongwith the windows so the the air passing the windows will generate cool air. The photographer had a nice time taking photographs from this Mahal. It's purpose was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

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More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.