The Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, is easily one of Jaipur’s most iconic attractions. This stunning red and pink sandstone structure in the heart of the Pink City features rows of carved screens and more than 900 lattice-worked windows that allow in just the right amount of breeze to keep the 5-story complex cool.
With unusual Rajput architecture often likened to a honeycomb, this structure was artistically built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh as a safe place for royal ladies to watch street scenes unfold without being seen (in those days, royal women were traditionally kept out of the public eye). It’s called palace of winds because of its layout, which allows air to circulate throughout the complex, keeping temperatures cool.
Most group and private tours of Jaipur (including half-day and full-day tours, plus Golden Triangle tours that visit Jaipur and Agra) stop outside for photo opportunities, and a few include tours of the simpler interior, where there are a small museum and unparalleled views from the top. Composite tickets that allow access to a number of sights—including Amber (Amer) Fort, Albert Hall, Nahargarh Fort, and the Jantar Mantar—are available at the ticket counter.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Hawa Mahal is a must for all first-time visitors to Jaipur.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen—the sun can be powerful.
- Comfortable shoes are a must, as there are lots of ramps to climb if you want to visit different sections and floors of the palace.
- Bathrooms are located just outside of the complex, before the ticket gate.
- The Hawa Mahal is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Hawa Mahal is situated in Jaipur’s Pink City, near Tripolia Gate and due north of Badi Chaupar. It’s a few minutes’ walk from here to both the City Palace (the official residence of the royal family) and the Jantar Mantar observatory. Driving, Amber Fort (Amer Fort) is about 30 minutes away.
When to Get There
This popular tourist spot is open 9am to 4:30pm daily; the museum is closed Friday and Saturday. If you’re visiting the palace interior during the hotter months of the year (approximately April through October), come early in the day, when temperatures are lower and gentle sunlight streams into the rooms through the hundreds of windows.
Jaipur is known as the Pink City because of its salmon-hued walls and edifices located in the old part of town. The city center was first painted this hue to impress Prince Albert, who visited India in 1876. The color stuck, so to speak, and to this day local businesses and residences within the walled part of town are required to retain the color.