21 May 2010

Hawa Mahal....an intricate jewel in Indian architecture!!!

Most of us, me included might never have heard of 'Hawa Mahal', a beautiful & delicate architectural wonder situated in Jaipur, India. I came across it while searching for some other information & the detailing of the building just caught my eye!!!

Also called as the 'Wind Palace', because of its numerous windows which allows wind (hawa) to pass through, it was constructed under the reign of Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh & designed by Lal Chand Ustad in 1799. A symbol of fanciful architecture, it was in the form of the Hindu God, Lord Krishna’s crown or mukuta.

It consists of 5 stories of small semi-octagonal overhanging windows covered with lattice screens meant for a purpose!!! An extension of the royal city palace, the building was used to house the ladies of the harem who could view the old city below through these windows, while remaining hidden from public view. The building construction is so delicate, that the building acts like an architectural veil, a thin screen with many niches, carved grills & domes & lots of filigree work giving the building a honeycomb appearance & its inbuilt uniqueness. It was made of red & pink sandstone & combined both the Hindu & Muslim architectural heritage, domed canopies, fluted pillars, floral patterns etc
The palace affords a panoramic view of most of Jaipur, its deserts & market places & can be easily located due to its pinkness which stands testimony to the epithet given to Jaipur, that of being a ‘Pink City’

The beauty of the palace, shines through even in photographs & the vision of its ruler is embodied in this architectural marvel that reflects a profound contradiction, that of being delicate yet strong enough to stand the test of time!!!

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