Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
A study of Rajput monuments shows that it was strongly influenced by Mughal architecture. However, the Rajputs adapted and used Mughals styles so tastefully in their buildings that it led to the development of a distinct architectural style of great sophistication and imaginative invention. The Rajput style, on one hand, has traditional Hindu elements like the chhatris (small domed canopies, supported by pillars), fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, etc., and, on the other hand, it has elements like stone inlay work and arches, which are reflective of the Islamic style of architecture.
About Hawa Mahal
This five-story, pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled 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, which give this palace its unique façade.
The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze. The royal ladies not only enjoyed the view but also did so in great comfort and style. Today, Hawa Mahal provides the visitor with some excellent views of the city and a bird’s eye view of the Jantar Mantar (a medieval observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur). The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and is bathed in its golden light making it glow like a gem. The entrance to this strange building is on the rear side.