Photographer's Note

A view of the Palace of the Winds or Hawa Mahal in Jaipur.

The following courtesy of Rajasthan Tours Travel (

“The Maharajahs of Rajasthan have always been famous for their chivalry and for being fiercely protective of their queens. A monument to their regard for this precious sentiment can be found in the form of the Hawa Mahal. The palace was built in 1799 by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh. An integral part of the City Palace it was an extension of the Zenana quarters.

Constructed 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 royal household an opportunity to watch processions and other activities on the streets below without being observed themselves. The openings here are almost like peep-holes partially blocked by fine lattice work in lime and plaster. This fragile palace was built especially for the delicate women of the royal household who were brought here in palanquins carried by servants to enjoy the sights of the city in comfort and style.

At first glance it looks rather whimsical in design. From the roadside, where most visitors view Hawa Mahal for the first time, it looks a mere façade. But there is much more than meets the eye. The beauty of the Hawa Mahal lies in its fragile appearance. Its delicate structure belies its strength and makes it no less a work of art than the more imposing forts and palaces of this regal city. This five-storey, pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modelled and carved. Its façade makes Hawa Mahal look more like a screen than a palace. Its top three stories are just a single room thick but at the base are two courtyards. It is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, but has over 900 niches and a mass of semi-octagonal bays, carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. This multi layered structure is an interplay of red and pink sandstone carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. The designer of this magnificent artifice Lal Chand Usta was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and Radha. This design is his homage to Lord Krishna and is believed to resemble the crown on Krishna's forehead. This unique design is also comparable to the a giant Chinese screen, a befitting comparison since the most important use for this palace was to screen the women of the royal household from prying eyes. “

Apologies for the very close framing but the palace stands on a busy commercial street.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10630 W: 63 N: 29874] (130967)
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