Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)
One of the most visited sights in Jaipur, Hawa Mahal is an architectural gem and true fairy-tale icon of India standing at five-storeys high.
Standing tall as one of India's most distinctive sights, the Hawa Mahal is a unique pink sandstone palace that blends in with Jaipur’s “Pink City” accolade. A combination of Hindu and Islamic architecture with domed canopies, fluted pillars and floral patterns, it is said to resemble a honeycomb structure that towers to five storeys. Hawa Mahal literally translates to ‘Palace of Winds’ as essentially it is a high screen but with tiny windows that allow a cool breeze to rush through the building during the warm Indian summers. Its unique structure contains 953 of these small windows, named jharokhas, each decorated with intricate latticework. Created in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it was built so the ladies of the royal family could watch the festivals and processions taking place in the streets below without having to venture into the city. The latticework also meant their faces were covered from the crowds. Whilst it is fair to say the most impressive part of this sight is its exterior, it is worth exploring the inside just so you can people-watch through the tiny shutters yourself. We recommend walking to the top of the building, where you will be greeted with some of the most magnificent views of Jaipur, in particular, Janar Mantar and the City Palace.
Good to know
Entrance to the Hawa Mahal is at the back of the building through an impressive imperial door that is relatively easy to find from the nearby intersection. We recommend visiting between 9am-4.30pm on Sat-Thur as you will also get a chance to look around the on-site museum. Storing miniature paintings and rich relics from the royal Indian families of days passed, you will get more of a feel for this complex's rich history and renowned culture. If you are looking to take a few shots of this stunning building, then the best time to visit is first thing in the morning as the sun rises, bathing the building in a pink hue.