Close your eyes and for a moment imagine feeling the cool breeze against your skin. The sun is bathing you with warmth, and you can hear the chiming of bells dancing in your ears. The rich earthiness of turmeric and black pepper mixing with the freshness of cardamom and the sweet and spicy aromas of cinnamon are being carried in with the wind. You breathe in deeply, wishing this moment could be frozen in time, shared and experienced by others. As you open your eyes, you realize that this is, in fact, a reality. A moment that has truly been shared by all throughout the passing of time. For the glorious Palace of the Winds will always welcome visitors through her doors with open arms, graciously tempting them to fall in love with her colorful spirit, charm, and the rich history this palace has to offer.
A brief history of Hawa Mahal
Located in the heart of Jaipur, and beloved by many, the rich architecture of this palace is sure to capture your heart as well. There are 953 tiny windows built into Hawa Mahal, all of which are decorated with intricate latticework. Inside, you’ll find that beautiful colors shine from the several stained glass windows. Built in 1799 by Maharaja (King) Sawai Pratap Singh, the royal women of Jaipur during those times were not allowed to associate with or appear before the public. Instead, they used these 953 windows, referred to as “jharokhas” to peer through, allowing them to view the daily activities of others, or the many festivals that would occur in the streets. These women were very strong individuals, and some of you may be wondering, “Well, why didn’t they just go out?” Unfortunately, during that time in history, it just was not safe for them.
Feel the breeze through the palace windows
The architect in charge of designing Hawa Mahal was Lal Chand Usta. Red and pink colored sandstone was the material that was used to build this incredible edifice, which stands 50 feet (15.2m) tall. There are many people who do not know this, but the exterior of Hawa Mahal represents the crown of Lord Krishna (Hindu God), and is stacked with the intentions of resembling a peacock feather design. You will be amazed to learn that even though the palace is such a large structure, the walls are less than a foot thick. The name Hawa Mahal, meaning Palace of the Winds, was given due to the wind that always seems to flow through the tiny windows, keeping it cool during the extreme heat during the summer.
Cool off and admire the views
Stepping inside, it is almost as if time has frozen as you gaze up the 5-story premises. There is a large fountain display in the center of the ground floor, with many benches to rest upon. You’ll also notice a small snack stand located here where you can buy a cold bottle of water for no more than 1 USD. As you make your way up each of the 5 stories, there will be many balconies and patios where you can look out and enjoy the views of the city, complete with a mountainous background.
When to visit and the cost of admission
You may remember seeing Hawa Mahal in many of the photographs showing life in Jaipur, known as the Pink City. However, to get the best photo of this palace, it is recommended to cross the street, where you’ll encounter a wide variety of shops. The shop owners are used to tourists wishing to take the perfect photo, and may even lead you up a set of stairs where you’ll find a great place for photography of not only the palace, but of the marketplace surrounding the area as well. Visiting hours are from 9:30am until 4:30pm daily, and if you are finished with your tour before 5:30pm, the City Palace is located only one street over, taking no longer than 10 minutes by foot. The price to gain entrance to Hawa Mahal is close to being free, as you’ll only have to pay 50 INR (0.73 USD) for foreigners, 25 INR (0.37 USD) for foreign students, and for Indian citizens, it will only cost 10 INR (0.15 USD), or 5 INR (0.07 USD) if you are a student.
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