Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hawa Mahal - Jaipur, India

Built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh the 'Hawa Mahal', Palace of the Wind, is a classic incidence of Rajput artistry. It is a part of the City Palace, an extension of the Zenana (women's chambers) standing away from the main complex. This awesome five storey building was designed by Lal Chand Ustad and is made of made of red and pink sand stone, intricately outlined with white borders and motif's painted with quick lime. The monument was originally designed to enable the royal ladies to watch the everyday life and royal processions in the city without being seen by others.
The Structure: From the road side, the Hawa Mahal looks more like a screen and less of a palace. This imposing pyramidal structure has tier after tier of 953 small casements, each with tiny lattice worked pink windows, small balconies and arched roofs with immaculate hanging cornices. These small windows circulate cool air even in the hottest summer months. Access to this structure is gained from the City Palace side, through a stately door which opens into a spacious courtyard.
Hawa Mahal
The courtyard has a double story building on three sides. There is a small archaeological museum here. Only the eastern wing has three more stories above. The building stands over a high podium. It is a 50ft high thin shield, not even a foot in thickness, with small intimate chambers, which give the unique frontage to the building. There are no regular stairs to reach the upper floors, but only ramps.

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