Monday, March 21, 2011

Mystery Photo 6: Palace of the Winds, Jaipur, India. And other photos.

     Yah, this one was a tough one. Unless you have actually been there, or maybe by some chance recognize the Moghul architecture, you wouldn't have known this one. Someone thought this one was too difficult.

                                                    Wind Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India

     Jaipur, also called the "Pink City" because of the pink sandstone that is used to build many of its buildings, was planned and built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the ruler of Rajasthan from the Kachwaha clan. The city was built in 1727. But it was this ruler's grandson, Sawai Pratap Singh who built the Palace of the Winds, Hawa Mahal in 1799 as an extension to the Royal City Palace. This Wind Palace is not a complete building but rather a 5 story facade. It is only one narrow room deep with lots of lattice work covered windows on both sides. It is connected to the Women's Quarters of the Palace where the royal harem lived. It was built right on the central square of Jaipur City so that the royal women who had to always remain covered (purdah) in public, could stroll from their quarters to this building and observe life in the city, and royal processions and other events without going into the public and having to cover up. Also due to its windows on both sides and small fountains in the middle of some of the chambers, it tended to be a cooler relief during the Rajasthani summers. The designer of Hawa Mahal intended the structure to resemble the headgear of the Hindu god, Krishna, who was a favorite of Pratap Singh. The white sandstone lattices covering the windows each carved from a single plate of sandstone are very characteristic of many Moghul palaces and buildings. Again they were intended to let in light and air but not allow people outside to see who was behind the lattice work.
     The photography in this city was absolutely phenomenal. It was a gorgeous clear day with bright blue sky. And the colors of the buildings with their sandstone, and painted stucco provide just the perfect color combinations. Also there are such nice Indian scenes.


     The city of Jaipur has many other interesting structures to see. Below are two photos from our hotel which was an architectural delight in and of itself. It is part of the Taj series of hotels and resorts. Notice the life size chesspieces in the gardens below our suite.

       On a hill overlooking the valley containing Jaipur is a large fort connected to a lengthy wall that winds up and down over the ridges, reminding me of the Great Wall of China. It is called the Jaigarh Fort named after the hill it sits on. Below that more primitive fort is the Amber Fort and Palace. This is a beautiful structure with many beautiful rooms, and gardens.  
     Inside the Amber Fort are wonderful courtyards, mixing the Rajasthani art work with the Moghul architecture. The Public Audience hall with all its arches, the Hall of Mirrors, and wonderful gardens all with other landmarks in the backround in these hills around the city of Jaipur.

Below is the Nahargarh Fort, also called the Tiger Fort on a hill overlooking Jaipur.

     Below is a view of part of the city of Jaipur from the Amber Fort. And below that is the Jal Mahal or Water Palace which is planted in the middle of a beautiful little lake in the middle of this arid location, located on the way out of the hills where the Forts are located.

                                                  Hindu Temple on way down to Jaipur from Amber Fort. 

In the city of Jaipur is City Royal Palace, of which one extension is the Palace of the Winds. The royal family still occupies some of this City Palace (the multiple story pale yellow portion in the photo above). Also the City Palace grounds contain the Jantar Mantar, a large outdoor observatory that has a multitude of stone and metal structures that tell the time like very large and complex sundials. This was a favorite occupation of the Maharaja who built Jaipur. He was quite interested in the sun and the moon and the workings of the heavens. It is quite interesting to walk among these structure and observe with what precision the time is represented by sunlight and shadow. The photos below are of Jantar Mantar, the largest stone observatory in the world.