Being born and brought up in Lucknow means from the childhood I learnt to appreciate about the Mughal-style of architecture around my city and used to consider it to be the best in the country. Little did I know back then that what Jaipur had in store for me! At first glance of Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, I felt dizzy in awe and excitement. Before that, I have seen only the pictures of Hawa Mahal. But nothing prepared me for the magnificence of this beautiful five-storied palace.
When we (my travel buddies and I) entered to the premise of Hawa Mahal, it was sharp 9 AM. Though Hawa Mahal remains open from 10AM till 5 PM, but it was our desire to visit it early in the morning. Initially we didn’t realize how to enter to the mahal but later few locals showed us the way which led to the backdoor entry to Hawa Mahal.
Though the ticket fares cost us mere Rs.10 per person (it’s Rs.50 for foreigners including cameras), we decided to shell out another whopping Rs.200 to hire a guide. Though I had done little research on the history of Hawa Mahal beforehand, all my travel buddies seemed too keen to hire a guide.
Built around 1799 by Maharana Sawai Pratap Singh in order to provide royal women with the chance to peek through outside, the Hawa Mahal may look like a beehive’s honeycomb from outside, but inside it’s only one room building with walkways. I tried to imagine how the women must have felt to live within boundaries, but later I shrugged off the disturbing thought.
The top of Hawa Mahal gives out a stunning view to City Palace of Jaipur and Jantar Mantar, which literally took our collective breath away.
Being an ardent student of Environment Engineering, it was not entirely possible for me to understand the intricacies and thoughts that went behind the architecture of Hawa Mahal. But before we stepped out of the palace, I bowed a little to the memory of Lal Chand Ustad- who was the royal court-appointed designer of this wonderfully breezy palace of India.