My Jaipur Trip #2: Hawa Mahal

Hello Everyone! I hope you all are fine.

So today I am here with the 2nd part of my Jaipur Trip.

The second place we visited was Hawa Mahal.

Hawa Mahal (English translation: “The Palace of Winds” or “The Palace of Breeze”) is a palace in Jaipur, India approximately 300 kilometers from the capital city of Delhi. Built from red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the Zenana, or women’s chambers.

The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, who was the founder of Jaipur. He was so inspired by the unique structure of Khetri Mahal that he built this grand and historical palace. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad. Its five floor exterior is akin to honeycomb with its 953 small windows called Jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey the strict rules of “purdah”, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings. This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer. Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but it is the back.

In 2006, renovation works on the Mahal were undertaken, after a gap of 50 years, to give a facelift to the monument at an estimated cost of Rs 4.568 million. The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it. The palace is an extended part of a huge complex. The stone-carved screens, small casements, and arched roofs are some of the features of this popular tourist spot. The monument also has delicately modeled hanging cornices.

Architecture

Close View

This palace is a five-story pyramidal shaped monument that rises to about 50 feet (15 m). The top three floors of the structure have the width of a single room, while the first and second floors have patios in front of them. The front elevation, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. It gives the appearance of a mass of semi-octagonal bays, giving the monument its unique façade. The inner face on the back side of the building consists of chambers built with pillars and corridors with minimal ornamentation, and reach up to the top floor. The interior of the palace has been described as “having rooms of different coloured marbles, relieved by inlaid panels or gilding; while fountains adorn the centre of the courtyard”.

Lal Chand Usta was the architect. Built-in red and pink colored sandstone, in keeping with the décor of the other monuments in the city, its color is a full testimony to the epithet of “Pink City” given to Jaipur. Its façade with 953 niches with intricately carved jharokhas (some are made of wood) is a stark contrast to the plain-looking rear side of the structure. Its cultural and architectural heritage is a reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and Islamic Mughal architecture; the Rajput style is seen in the form of domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus, and floral patterns, and the Islamic style as evident in its stone inlay filigree work and arches (as distinguished from its similarity with the Panch Mahal at Fatehpur Sikri).

The entry to the Hawa Mahal from the city palace side is through an imperial door. It opens into a large courtyard, which has double-storeyed buildings on three sides, with the Hawa Mahal enclosing it on the east side. An archaeological museum is also housed in this courtyard.

Hawa Mahal was also known as the chef-d’œuvre of Maharaja Jai Singh as it was his favourite resort because of the elegance and built-in interior of the Mahal. The cooling effect in the chambers, provided by the breeze passing through the small windows of the façade, was enhanced by the fountains provided at the center of each of the chambers.

The top two floors of the Hawa Mahal are accessed only through ramps. The Mahal is maintained by the archaeological department of the Government of Rajasthan.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Our Trip

First, we clicked some photos outside Hawa Mahal.

We got our tickets and went inside. We clicked some photos around the fountain. I had always wanted to see a live rainbow, and my wish came true. I saw a rainbow in the water of the fountain. It was beautiful.

We also saw the coloured glasses. They were beautiful!

Then, we headed towards Jantar Mantar.

Stay tuned for a detailed post on Jantar Mantar.


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My Jaipur Trip #1: City Palace

Hi! I hope you all are fine. So, here I am with the first part of my Jaipur Trip.

The first place we visited was the City Palace, the residence of the Jaipur Royal Family.

So first let’s have an overview of this beautiful palace.

History

The palace complex lies in the heart of Jaipur city, to the northeast of the very centre, located at 26.9255°N 75.8236°E. The site for the palace was located on the site of a royal hunting lodge on a plain land encircled by a rocky hill range, five miles south of Amber (city). The history of the city palace is closely linked with the history of Jaipur city and its rulers, starting with Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699 to 1744. He is credited with initiating construction of the city complex by building the outer wall of the complex spreading over many acres. Initially, he ruled from his capital at Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur. He shifted his capital from Amber to Jaipur in 1727 because of an increase in population and increasing water shortage. He planned Jaipur city in six blocks separated by broad avenues, on the classical basis of principals of Vastushastra and another similar classical treatise under the architectural guidance of Vidyadar Bhattacharya, a Bengali architect from Naihati of present-day West Bengal who was initially an accounts-clerk in the Amber treasury and later promoted to the office of Chief Architect by the King.

Following Jai Singh’s death in 1744, there were internecine wars among the Rajput kings of the region but cordial relations were maintained with the British Raj. Maharaja Ram Singh sided with the British in the Sepoy Mutiny or Uprising of 1857 and established himself with the Imperial rulers. It is to his credit that the city of Jaipur including all of its monuments (including the City Palace) are stucco painted ‘Pink’ and since then the city has been called the “Pink City”.The change in the colour scheme was as an honor of hospitality extended to the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII) on his visit. This color scheme has since then become a trademark of the Jaipur city.

Man Singh II, the adopted son of Maharaja Madho Singh II, was the last Maharaja of Jaipur to rule from the Chandra Mahal palace, in Jaipur. This palace, however, continued to be a residence of the royal family even after the Jaipur kingdom merged with the Indian Union in 1949 (after Indian independence in August 1947) along with other Rajput states of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Jaipur became the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan and Man Singh II had the distinction of becoming the Rajapramukh (present-day Governor of the state) for a time and later was the Ambassador of India to Spain.

While the Jaipur maharanis observed pardah, they enjoyed considerable power and agency. Queens – often the senior-most (Pat-Rani) had a say in the governance of the kingdom or estate in the absence of the ruler. Two queens wielding full authority were Raja Man Singh of Dhoondhar’s Bhati clan wife, and Maharaja Rai Singh of Bikaner’s wife, Rani Ganga Bai. Wives and mothers of Rajput kings and chiefs also took upon themselves the role of counseling the men over issues they felt transgressed warrior codes of behavior and action.

Women from ruling groups or warrior castes held property in their own names, with full rights over those lands. Many warrior clan women got lands for their maintenance as personal jagirs and haath-kharch ki jagir (personal spending from the province) from both, their natal families, and the families they married into, and administered such lands through personal administrative agents (kamdars, amils, and dewans). From within zenanas, these women remained fully informed about their individual jagirs. Details about crops, law, and order, social problems, appeals from the peasantry, came to them through their stewards or agents, who took instructions directly from the women and were answerable only to them. The women used the revenues from their estates solely as they wished.

Architecture

The City Palace is in the central-northeast part of the Jaipur city, which is laid in a unique pattern with wide avenues. It is a unique and special complex of several courtyards, buildings, pavilions, gardens, and temples. The most prominent and most visited structures in the complex are the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple, and the City Palace Museum.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Our Trip

We reached City Palace by cab, around 11am. We got our tickets and hired a guide to tell us about the palace in detail.

First, we visited the place where the large jars, in which Maharaj Madho Singh II of Jaipur used to keep the Ganga Jal he ordered from Haridwar, were kept.

Jars in which King Madho Singh II kept Ganga Jal

The next place we visited was the museum where all the clothes, weapons and possessions of the Royal Family were kept. Photography is prohibited inside the museum.

The next place we visited was Diwan-E-Aam and Diwan-E-Khas. Photography is prohibited there.

Diwan-E-Aam is a place where the king used to listen to the problems of the common people.

Diwan-E-Khas is a place where the king used to meet his nobles and other important people.

Next, we visited the Art Center. We bought some things from there.

The Art Center is a great place. You can see various artistic works there. There are paintings, perfumes, shawls and much more. It’s a must visit.

Next, the guide showed us the different gates. They were so beautiful!

After that, we headed for Hawa Mahal.

It was a very nice experience!

Stay Tuned for my post on Hawa Mahal.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to like, share and follow my blog.

My Jaipur Trip

Hello Everyone! I hope you all are doing great!

Today I am here with the introduction of a series of posts on my experience of exploring the Pink City, Jaipur.

Jaipur is my hometown, and I have been there so many times, but still, I didn’t know much about it till I had a tour of the city. So, in the following posts, you will get an overview of the places I have visited in Jaipur.

So, first let’s know more about this beautiful city.

History:

Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur

The city of Jaipur was founded by King of Amer, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II on 18 November 1727, who ruled from 1699 to 1743. He planned to shift his capital from Amer, 11 kilometres (7 mi) to Jaipur to accommodate the growing population and increasing scarcity of water. Jai Singh consulted several books on architecture and architects while planning the layout of Jaipur. Under the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, Jaipur was planned based on the principles of Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra. The construction of the city began in 1726 and took four years to complete the major roads, offices, and palaces. The city was divided into nine blocks, two of which contained the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge ramparts were built, pierced by seven fortified gates.

During the rule of Sawai Ram Singh I, the city was painted pink to welcome HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII, Emperor of India), in 1876. Many of the avenues still remain painted in pink, giving Jaipur a distinctive appearance and the epithet Pink city.

In the 19th century, the city grew rapidly and by 1900 it had a population of 160,000. The wide boulevards were paved and its chief industries were the working of metals and marble, fostered by a school of art founded in 1868. The city had three colleges, including a Sanskrit college (1865) and a girls’ school (1867) opened during the reign of the Maharaja Ram Singh II.

Large areas of the city including the airport were flooded in August 1981, resulting in the death of eight people and much damage to the city’s Dravyavati River. The floods were caused by three days of cloud burst that produced more rain than the annual average.

Geography:

Climate

Jaipur has a monsoon-influenced hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh) with long, extremely hot summers and short, mild to warm winters. Annual precipitation is over 63 cm, falling mostly in July and August due to monsoon, causing the average temperatures in these two months to be lower compared to drier May and June. During the monsoon, there are frequent, heavy rains and thunderstorms, but flooding is not common. The highest temperature ever recorded was 48.5 °C (119.3 °F), in May. The city’s average temperature remains below 20 °C or 68 °F between December and February. These months are mild, dry, and pleasant, sometimes chilly. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −2.2 °C (28.0 °F). Jaipur, like many other major cities of the world, is a significant urban heat island zone with surrounding rural temperatures occasionally falling below freezing in winters.

Demographics:

According to provisional report of 2011 census, Jaipur city had a population of 3,073,350. The overall literacy rate for the city is 84.34%. 90.61% males and 77.41% females were literate. The sex ratio was 898 females per 1,000 males & the child sex ratio was recorded 854. However, the population of the city is expected to grow up to around 39.1 lakhs (3.91 million). According to the 2011 census, Hindus form the majority religious group accounting for 77.9% of the city’s population, followed by Muslims (18.6%), Jains (2.4%) and others (1.2%).

Tourism:

Jaipur is a major tourist destination in India forming a part of the Golden Triangle. In the 2008 Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Survey, Jaipur was ranked the 7th best place to visit in Asia. According to TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveller’s Choice Awards for Destination, Jaipur ranked 1st among the Indian destinations for the year. The Presidential Suite at the Raj Palace Hotel, billed at US$45,000 per night, was listed in second place on CNN’s World’s 15 most expensive hotel suites in 2012.

Jaipur Exhibition & Convention Centre (JECC) is Rajasthan’s biggest convention and exhibition centre. It is famous for organising events such as Vastara, Jaipur Jewellery Show, Stonemart 2015 and Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit 2015.

Visitor attractions include the Birla Auditorium, Albert Hall Museum, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, City Palace, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Birla Mandir, Galtaji, Govind Dev Ji Temple, Garh Ganesh Temple, Moti Dungri Ganesh Temple, Sanghiji Jain temple and the Jaipur Zoo. The Jantar Mantar observatory (The Jantar Mantar is a collection of 19 astronomical instruments remarkable at their time.) and Amer Fort are one of the World Heritage Sites. Hawa Mahal is a five-storey pyramidal shaped monument with 953 windows that rises 15 metres (50 ft) from its high base. Sisodiya Rani Bagh and Kanak Vrindavan are the major parks in Jaipur. Raj Mandir is a notable cinema hall in Jaipur.

Culture:

Jaipur has many cultural sites like Jawahar Kala Kendra formed by Architect Charles Correa and Ravindra Manch. Government Central Museum hosts several arts and antiquities. There is a government museum at Hawa Mahal and an art gallery at Viratnagar. There are statues depicting Rajasthani culture around the city. Jaipur has many traditional shops selling antiques and handicrafts, as well as contemporary brands reviving traditional techniques, such as Anokhi. The prior rulers of Jaipur patronised a number of arts and crafts. They invited skilled artisans, artists and craftsmen from India and abroad who settled in the city. Some of the crafts include bandhani, block printing, stone carving and sculpture, tarkashi, zari, gota-patti, kinari and zardozi, silver jewellery, gems, kundan, meenakari and jewellery, Lakh ki Chudiya, miniature paintings, blue pottery, ivory carving, shellac work and leather ware.

Jaipur has its own performing arts. The Jaipur Gharana for Kathak is one of the three gharanas of the major north Indian classical dance form of Kathak. The Jaipur Gharana of Kathak is known for its rapid intricate dance forms, vivacious body movements and subtle Abhinaya. The Ghoomar is a popular folk dance style. Tamasha is an art form where Kathputli puppet dance is shown in play form. Major festivals celebrated in Jaipur include Elephant Festival, Gangaur, Makar Sankranti, Holi, Diwali, Vijayadashami, Teej, Eid, Mahavir Jayanti and Christmas. Jaipur is also famous for the Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literature festival in which authors, writers and literature lovers from all over the country participate.

Courtesy: Wikipedia