The Hawa Mahal, which adjoins the famous City Palace wall, was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh and has now become one of the major landmarks of Jaipur. The palace is shaped like a pyramid and is a five-storied building, with number of small windows and screens, with arched roofs. As one looks at this building, one realizes that the rear side of the building is comparatively very plain and lacks much of ornamentation. One is rather surprised at the contrast, since in the front there is intricate carving and much attention has been paid to even minute details yet the backside is more a mass of pillars and passages.
Since the Hawa Mahal was built at a time when women of the royal families had to observe strict purdah, many believe that the Hawa Mahal was built, just so these ladies could watch the processions and various activities taking place on the streets. This does explain why Hawa Mahal has such tiny windows and many screened balconies. The royal ladies could look below at the people without showing themselves and thus enjoy a sense of freedom.
The Hawa Mahal, Jaipur Rajasthan, is a great example of the Rajputana architecture, which was strongly influenced by Mughal style of architecture. This particular style of building that we observe in Hawa Mahal, uses the best features of Mughal architecture with other features that could better adapt to the inhospitable weather conditions of Rajasthan.
The Hawa Mahal is a popular place among visitors to Rajasthan because of the amazing view it offers of the city and particularly Jantar Mantar (another tourist attraction). Many insist that the best time to visit Hawa Mahal is in the early morning, right when the sun is rising. As the palace bathes in the golden light of the sun, it looks like a fantastic image conjured up by the mind in a trance. The palace glows like an impalpable dream, which makes you feel that even if you dare blink your eyes, it will quickly dissolve into thin air.