Mahal, literally meaning, palace of the winds is an important landmark
of the city of Jaipur - the Pink City of India. Travel to Jaipur is
considered incomplete without a trip to the Hawa Mahal. It is an
interesting building, although it is actually little more than a façade.
Probably, this honeycombed building was originally built to facilitate
the women of the royal household to watch the everyday life and
processions of the city.
is no definite record as to why Hawa Mahal was built, only conjecture.
It certainly was not meant for residential purposes. That becomes clear
if one were to view this unusual structure from the rear side. There is
a total lack of ornamentation on the inner face of the building. The
chambers of Hawa Mahal are plain and mere mass of pillars and passages
leading to the top story. It does not seem to be part of the same
Built at a time when royal ladies observed very
strict purdah (covering the faces), it is widely believed that this
interesting palace, with its screened balconies, provided the ladies of
the zenana (royal household) an opportunity to watch processions and
other activities on the streets below without being observed themselves.
The openings in the Hawa Mahal are almost like peepholes, partially
blocked by fine latticework in lime plaster, and some with plain wooden
windows. The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the
balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze. The royal ladies
not only enjoyed the view but also did so in great comfort and style.
Hawa Mahal provides the travelers in Jaipur with some excellent views of
the city and a bird's eye view of the Jantar Mantar (a medieval
observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur). The best time to
view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and is
bathed in its golden light making it glow like a gem. Strangely, the
entrance to Hawa Mahal is from the rear side. So, the next time you
travel to Jaipur, do fix up a date with Hawa Mahal.