Saturday , December 9 2023

Hawa Mahal: How India’s stunning ‘palace of winds’ was ahead of its time

India launched the National Smart Cities Mission in 2015, an ambitious plan that aimed to make 100 urban centers more livable and sustainable through innovative and all-inclusive solutions.

Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital of the northwestern desert, was one of the 100 cities chosen.

However, despite the fact that the idea behind the Smart City project was to modernize India, historians contend that Jaipur’s “smart” credentials have been ahead of the game for centuries.

Presently acclaimed for its memorable pink structures, it was the first “arranged city” of Ruler Sawai Jai Singh, a stargazer who involved planetary situations as his aide while settling on the direction and places of the designs. He moved his realm’s capital from the close by town of Amer to Jaipur in 1727.
The kings of Rajasthan, including Sawai Pratap Singh, a descendant, continued to give money to the arts and architecture in the years that followed.

He was a builder with a creative side. His love of art can be seen in many pieces on the old palatial city walls of Jaipur. However, Hawa Mahal, with its stunning architecture and lessons in sustainable construction, is the best example of this passion.

Finished in 1799, today’s perhaps of India’s most conspicuous symbol and a well known vacation destination. According to the monument’s Indian administrators, approximately one million people visit annually.

A building famed for its back

The Hawa Mahal is a massive building that rises five floors above the chaos, past the city’s fractal pink walls and the bustle of the old city market.

It’s a sight to behold with 953 ornate louvered windows and a staggering height of 87 feet. Yet, few understand that what you see from the road is basically the back of the structure.

Sanjay Sharma, who has been guiding visitors through Hawa Mahal for more than two decades, states, “It is very unusual for a building to be known for its back rather than its front.”
“Travellers marvel at what they see from the main road, pose in front of it for a classic picture of Jaipur, and then move on. Few people enter; The interiors are simple, and only curious minds would realize that there is much more to the blushing facade than meets the eye.

As per Dr. Mahendra Khadgawat, head of Rajasthan’s State Gallery and Paleohistory Division, Lord Sawai Pratap Singh was a vigorous lover of Hindu divinity Krishna and dispatched engineer Lal Chand Usta to build a crown-formed structure that looked like Krishna’s crown. The result was Hawa Mahal.

“The main role of the structure was to permit the regal women to appreciate ordinary road scenes and parades without being seen attributable to the purdah framework,” he expresses, alluding to a social practice in middle age India where ladies, especially from the privileged societies, were expected to cover themselves and stay segregated from general visibility.

A clever feat of engineering

According to conservation and heritage specialist architect Kavita Jain, Hawa Mahal also served other purposes.

“The rear elevation on the east side that faces the roadside is a visual treat for city dwellers; for the lord himself, an unbelievable construction that ages will recall him for; she states, “a way for the royal ladies to connect with the common people and their celebrations without appearing in public.”

“However, for those with a keen eye, it is a clever feat of engineering, where aesthetically pleasing elements were used to create a microclimate that was comfortable enough for the queens to enjoy their outing,” the statement reads.

Today, the structure exemplifies a sophisticated comprehension of the laws of thermodynamics and serves as a prime example of the role climate played in India’s historic designs.

The name, which means “wind” and “palace” in Hindi, couldn’t be more appropriate.
“The direction of the structure is on the east-west pivot, lined up with the bearing of the normal progression of the breeze around here,” says Jaipur-based modeler Shyam Thakkar.

Through a series of open grounds, the wind enters the palace from the west. Using the principle of convection currents, it takes in moisture from the water body that was thoughtfully placed in the courtyard; The warm air rises, while the cool air falls.

It doesn’t end there. According to Thakkar, the moist wind then moves toward the 953 windows (jharokha) and cools the air thanks to the Venturi effect, in which air flows through a narrow passage, increasing wind velocity while decreasing pressure.

“To ensure that there are no hotspots, the intricate lattices (jaalis) on the windows break up and distribute the air flow evenly; Additionally, it regulates sunlight’s direct glare,” he adds.

As a final flourish, lime (chuna) is used as a lattice material. Chuna can direct temperature innately.”
As indicated by guide Sharma, the floors have likewise been isolated by the seasons.

According to him, “the number and size of the openings vary accordingly on each floor.” A few stories take care of windows with stained glass, and some open jaalis. The Hawa Mahal is a very climate-responsive structure because the proportion of open space left on each floor is determined by its season of use, which are pre-winter, spring, summer, and winter.

Inspired by the past

During most of the year, Jaipur is hot and dry. It can reach over 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) during the peak summer months.

Now that India is the world’s most crowded country, with a multiplying working class, conveniences that were once an extravagance have turned into a need. Also, that incorporates cooling.

The world will add an estimated 1 billion air conditioners before the end of the decade, according to IEA data updated in October 2022.

In the end, this will result in more carbon emissions. With India representing 17.7% of the world’s all out populace, a worldwide effect is unavoidable.
Numerous architects are looking to the past for guidance in light of the pressing need for greener, more sustainable buildings.

“We can take an example or two from the customary Indian design that developed to give agreeable conditions by saddling powers like daylight and wind,” says Thakkar.

“In a recent project for a city restaurant, as a climate-conscious architect, I used the colonnaded arcade with a water body, which significantly reduced the amount of air conditioning required in the building. In another instance, we use lime mortar for courtyards and small fenestrations in our hotel project. The end result was a stunning, naturally cool structure.”

In another example, New York-based engineer Diana Kellogg really utilized the “Venturi impact” to make an honor winning school project in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan – the Rajkumari Ratnavati Young ladies’ School.

When to visit Hawa Mahal

Head inside the City Palace in Jaipur to see Hawa Mahal, which is on the edge of the palace grounds, to see how cool it is. There is a small admission fee for visitors.

The best opportunity to respect its brilliant shine is at the crack of dawn, however the actual castle is just open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.. A couple of little bistros on the contrary road are open for those needing to snap photographs of the Hawa Mahal in the early morning light.

While the present new designs may be all the more mechanically progressed, legacy structures, for example, the Hawa Mahal are unmatched in their capacity to amazement, closes modeler Jain.

“They are timeless,” she says. ” I can’t imagine people 200 years from now remembering a faceless glass skyscraper in a concrete jungle like the Hawa Mahal.

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