A few years ago I travelled the Golden Triangle of northern India: New Delhi in the National Capital Territory, Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur in Rajasthan. I also made a side trip to Ranthambore National Park. The sights were amazing ranging from bustling cities, desert terrain and wild forest. The architecture of India really stood out in each of these places.
The first palace I visited in Jaipur, The Pink City was the beautiful Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). This palace was built from red and pink sandstone in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the then ruler of Rajasthan.
Hawa Mahal has some 953 stone latticed windows (“Jharokhas“) which were said to have been designed to allow the royal ladies to watch events outside the palace such as processions and everyday life without being seen. They were under the strict observance of purdah, which did not allow men to see them.
The palace is actually mostly a façade as the top three floors are literally only one room deep. The bottom two stories have courtyards. The windows allow a free flow of air to keep the interior courtyards and so forth cool in the hot Indian air, hence the Palace of the Winds title.
It was extremely hot when I was in Jaipur (around 47 Celsius / 117 Fahrenheit everyday!) so I can attest to the successful design of these windows. The palace is a must see if you are in Rajasthan.