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Hawa Mahal – A complete travel guide to the Palace of Winds

Jaipur

Never having failed to catch the eyes in the pink city – the delightful honey brown facade of the Hawa Mahal is what I’d take you around for a virtual tour this time.

While a lot has been praised and sung about the honeycombed Mahal, there’s more to know and understand about this beautiful place before you pack your bags.

So here’s everything starting from the tuk-tuk ride till the palace to what lies within the tiny Rajput styled 953 windows.

 

Location

At an easily accessible distance from the main city of Jaipur, lies the tallest building in the world without a foundation, Hawa Mahal.

Anyone approaching the Badi Choupad in Jaipur will be shown to the Hawa Mahal road instantly. It’s with such pride that the city holds this magnificent tour de force of Maharaja Jai Singh.

The former resort of the royalty is now maintained and preserved by the archaeological department of the Rajasthan Government.

 

How to reach

Jaipur is a city that welcomes an influx of tourists round the year, and every year is an attempt to develop the industry further by making the city a lot more welcoming.

The roads are well-connected and are maintained in good condition. Which makes it a piece of cake for those who prefer to take a ride down to Hawa Mahal.

Distance from Ajmer – 137 km

Distance from Alwar- 146 km

Distance from Kota – 253 km

Distance from Bikaner – 335 km

Distance from Udaipur – 399 km

Other options include the Jaipur Junction railway station and the International airport. Both these assembly points are barely a 30-minute drive from Hawa Mahal.

The pink sandstone carved railway station is a view in its own, warmly bringing in visitors from many major cities of India. It’s located at a distance of around 6 km from the Mahal and can be reached via a taxi, tuk-tuk or a minibus. The bus to Badi Choupad is of two types – the air-con and non-aircon. Based on your budget and preference you can opt for any of these options which would directly lead you to your destination.

Meanwhile, the airport is located farther than the railway station at a distance of 12 km. There are occasional domestic flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Udaipur and so on.

 

Best time to visit

Fluctuating seasons are not much of a factor affecting those visiting the Mahal alone, as the place offers a chilling Venturi effect throughout the year.

But keeping the weather conditions of the entire city in mind, October-March is the most favoured period. Summers can get really hot and humid in Rajasthan.

The best time to visit the Mahal would be in the early morning hours. Watching the golden strings of sunlight illuminate the entire palace is a mesmerising sight.

It is also the perfect time to explore the royal architecture from every nook and corner.

Opening hours: Everyday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Entry fees: An individual ticket to the Palace can be taken at the cost of Rs 50 for Indians and Rs 200 for Foreign citizens.

You can club your visit to nearby attractions and take a composite ticket worth Rs 300 for Indians and Rs 1000 for Foreign citizens.

Camera charges – Additional Rs 10 for Indians and Rs 30 for nationals from other countries.

Entry to the Hawa Mahal is free on four days of the year – Rajasthan Diwas (30 March), International Museum Day (18 May), World Heritage Day (18 April), and World Tourism Day (27 September).

 

History

Dusting back its history to the year 1799, the structure was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, grandson of the founder of Jaipur.

Designed intricately on the edge of City Palace, the Palace has a very interesting story lying behind its walls.

The “Purdah” rules of the Rajasthani’s forbade the women from making public appearances without covering their faces.

Extensive latticework on traditionally known Jharokhas (Rajput style balconies), were specially made for the royal ladies to watch the daily life and celebrations without being looked at.

Walking from the imperial door of the City Palace to the courtyard leading to the Hawa Mahal, you get to witness the Rajput lifestyle unblemished.

 

Top things to do

1)   Chills of the Jharokhas

jharokhas

Beautifully blending the Rajputana and Mughal style of architecture is the 953 windows of the Hawa Mahal. Giving one of the most picturesque views of the complex, along with a chilling breeze of air.

The view moves ahead from the large emerald courtyard, ornamental fountains, arched roofs to the pure brilliance of craftsmanship.

Here you’d forget the time ticking by, and lose count on the number of pictures that’d get clicked.

 

2)   Kaleidoscopic effect of Ratan Mandir

ratan mandir

Named after the multi-coloured glass interiors, Ratan Mandir can make your eyes glitter in shades of the most precious gems.

Walking through the ramps, it’d be apt enough to say that the Ratan Mandir along with the Prakash Mandir (fourth level) is quite lit.

The dark corners lead to the sun rays painting a colourful surprise along with the heavenly feeling around the Prakash Mandir.

 

3)   Watch Jaipur from the Palace of Wind

jaipur view

The vantage point of the Mahal and the spot that earned it it’s name – Hawa Mandir.

With the prettiest of all views, watch the beautiful day in Jaipur unfurl from here. Just as pretty as the mornings are the nights here when the entire palace lights up along with the city.

Watching this all happen from the highest point of Hawa Mahal is a sight that could steal your breath away.

 

4)   Historical touch to exploring the Rajput culture

rajput culture

Within the complex, there’s a small museum for all the history buffs to know the place a little better. Open on all days between Saturday to Thursday, the museum is a gem to the decorative crown of Hawa Mahal.

Giving a glimpse into the rich culture of the royalty in Rajasthan are the exhibits of miniature paintings, terracotta antiquities, swords, ceremonial armour and similar belongings of the Maharajas of Jaipur.

The relics have preserved the past and is surely a sight that’d leave you awestruck.

 

5)   Take home a piece of Rajasthan

Jaipur Market

A tourist experience is never complete without a little too much shopping here and there. The Hawa Mahal road is exactly the place you’d go to while you’re at it. At small edges and curves, are elaborately set shops of Rajasthani colours.

Amidst the usual chaos of people shopping, you’ll find yourself being welcomed to the shops by a bunch of shopkeepers folding their hands in the ever-lovely gesture of “Namaste”.

Purchase the exquisitely handcrafted Rajasthani souvenirs or textiles and bid your goodbyes to this beautiful city.

There are also many things to do nearby Hawa Mahal like visit Ram Nivas Garden, Jantar Mantar & City Palace.

 

Tips

  • The pavilions and balconies inside the Mahal are low-walled and you may have to maintain caution and a safe distance while walking around it.
  • The corridors can get a little narrow, especially when it’s crammed with tourists. In case you’re claustrophobic, it’d be better to travel with a mini torch and a companion/guide.
  • Shopping around Hawa Mahal can get really expensive, so the best option around here is to be street smart and do your share of bargaining.

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