Tourist’s guide to Hawa Mahal, Palace of Winds in Jaipur

Hawa Mahal or the Palace of the Winds is one of the most ambitious and impressive buildings in Jaipur. This is the most unusual and visited attraction of the city, erected at the end of the XVIII century.

View of the Palace of the Winds

General information

The palace is located in the north-eastern part of Jaipur. Every day, this amazing building is visited by hundreds of tourists, because Hawa Mahal is considered the most famous monument of Rajput architecture.

The main feature of the palace is its windows: there is not a single opening that would be larger than a human head. This is explained by the fact that the local maharaja kept his harem here, and did not want anyone to see the girls.

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Interestingly, the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur was originally created as the temple of the god Krishna, so some details (for example, roofs and bastions) are similar to the headdress that adorns the head of God.

In addition to its unusual appearance, the palace is known for a well-thought-out ventilation system, and thanks to special holes in the walls, a natural coolness is created in all rooms (which is very important in such a hot climate).

Windows of the Palace of the Winds

Interestingly, local residents often compare the palace with a casket in which precious stones are stored.

Short story

The exact year of construction of the palace is unknown, but historians claim that the building appeared on the map of Jaipur no later than 1799. The building was erected for the concubines of Maharaja Sawaya Pratap Singh – the girls occupied all the rooms of the palace, and had no right to leave it.

Interestingly, simple concubines lived on the lower floors, but their beloved wives lived only on the upper tiers.

The building itself resembles a theater – this was done so that all the girls living in the house could watch the colorful processions and celebrations that were periodically arranged by maharajas on the street. At the same time, thanks to the small and richly decorated windows, no one saw their faces.

Palace of the Winds in Jaipur

Now Hawa Mahal works exclusively for tourists. In addition to beautiful rooms and halls, it is worth visiting the local museum.

Architecture

Hawa Palace is the most famous monument of Rajput architecture. Externally, the building looks like an incredible theater or, as local people think, a large jewelry box.

The Hawa Mahal façade in Jaipur is decorated with numerous loopholes and balconies, decorated with oriental domes and pink sandstone lace.

Particular attention was paid to the windows – there are as many as 953 in the palace! In addition to their direct function, they also served as fans, thanks to which the rooms were never stuffy.

Interestingly, the hotter it was on the street, the stronger the wind blew in the rooms.

Facade of the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur

In addition to the windows, in the facade of the building you can see special slots of different diameters, which also contributed to maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the building.

What’s inside?

Inside, the Palace of the Winds (or Hawa Mahal) is even more beautiful and unusual than outside. The building has the following features:

  1. Firstly, the building does not have a single staircase. Instead of comfortably climbing the upper floors, the concubines were forced to wear special shoes and walk up the slippery marble ramps. This was a rather dangerous occupation, and historians still cannot understand why the Indian prince abandoned the stairs.
  2. Secondly, the palace is built in such a way that, rising higher and higher, tourists will see more and more beautiful rooms. The pinnacle of grace is the Moroccan-style hall: high snow-white arches, colorful stained-glass windows and expensive carpets.
  3. Thirdly, you can get to the Hawa Palace only from the courtyard, which is much less elegant and beautiful than the front part of the building.
  4. Fourth, a breathtaking view of Jaipur, which can hardly be seen from neighboring buildings, opens from the top of the palace.
Hall of the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur

It is interesting that tourists who visit the palace often say that the building plays its own tune – the winds that penetrate all the cracks and windows constantly whistle something.

Being in the palace, you must:

  1. Visit the small balconies from which the girls watched the colorful processions in front of the palace.
  2. Climb to the upper floors. Here are the most beautiful and expensive halls with stained glass windows, high arches in the Moroccan style and unusual exhibits (for example, huge golden vases and jewelry with precious stones).

Interestingly, in recent decades, the Palace of Winds in India has become a favorite place of Shaivites – one of the areas of Hinduism. Here they like to smoke hashish and “behold God over Jaipur.”

This is the only place in the city where you can use illegal substances. Local authorities do not want to have problems with religious communities, so they turn a blind eye to this. This means that in the palace you can easily find cannabis – in the walls, window openings and even under the baseboard. In total, several kg of drugs are stored in the building.

Upper Halls of the Palace of the Winds

It is interesting that in the left part of the palace is closed for visiting – here is the current apartment of the descendants of Maharaja, who occasionally come here. When this happens, an Indian flag is hung over their windows.

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Practical information

  1. Location: Hawa Mahal Tripolia Bazaar Road | Badi Choupad, Jaipur 302002, India.
  2. Opening hours: 9.00 – 16.30.
  3. The cost of visiting: 50 rupees – for adults, students (subject to availability of an international student card) and children – 25. The price of a complex ticket (other attractions and museums of Jaipur are included) is 350 rupees for adults and 175 for children.

Prices and timetables on the page are for September 2019.

Useful Tips

Palace of the Winds early morning in Jaipur
  1. Experienced travelers recommend coming to the Palace of the Winds in the early morning – in the rays of the rising sun, the attraction looks fabulously beautiful.
  2. If you want to see the cobra tamer, come to the Hawa Palace – in other parts of Jaipur you will not find such entertainment.
  3. Tourists do not recommend taking an audio guide in English – you won’t get a lot of interesting information, but spend the money. It is better to come to the palace with a competent guide, or to independently study the history of this place.
  4. At the entrance to the Palace of the Winds, be prepared to meet with numerous souvenir dealers and photographers.
  5. The official language of the inhabitants of Jaipur is Hindi and Rajasthani, but many speak English well.
  6. The most suitable months for visiting Jaipur are November, December, January, February and March. From April to July, the column does not fall below the +30 mark, and in the beginning of autumn heavy torrential rains and winds begin.
  7. If you go to the market – be sure to bargain. Prices are always overstated by 2, or even 3 times.
  8. Before negotiating a taxi, always negotiate the final price with the driver.

Hawa Mahal is the symbol and main attraction of Jaipur, which is definitely worth a visit to history buffs.

Visiting the observation deck of the Palace of the Winds:



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