Hawa Mahal, a fine example of social distancing from the past

Jaipur walled city now a world heritage site | Shutterstock

Hawa Mahal, one of the most popular tourist attractions in India, acquires special significance during these times of COVID-19 pandemic. History says that the palace, situated in Rajasthan, is an excellent example of social distancing practised by royal ladies in the past.

The unique architecture of Hawa Mahal, which translates as 'palace of winds,' has earned it a place in UNESCO's world heritage list. The 220-year-old palace is located in Rajasthan's capital Jaipur, which came to be known as 'Pink City' after being given a coat of pink paint in 1876 by Maharaja Ram Singh to welcome the Prince of Wales.

From the street, Hawa Mahal resembles a crown of flowers.

The palace has 953 tiny windows that allow a person inside the building to enjoy a good view of the street below while remaining hidden from those outside. The purpose of building Hawa Mahal was to enable royal ladies to watch the festivals celebrated on the street as well as everyday life there while being invisible to passers-by. In other words, the women of the palace were practising social distancing, which is an effective method in the present day to prevent contacting COVID-19.

The palace has five floors, named Sarat Mandir, Ratna Mandir, Vichitra Mandir, Prakash Mandir, and Hawa Mandir, each of which is connected by stairs. Cross ventilation is a unique feature of the entire building, making the interiors cool even during summer. The palace is elaborately decorated and Belgium mirrors are the biggest attraction.

A panoramic view of the entire Jaipur city could be enjoyed from the top of Hawa Mahal, behind which is located Jantar Mantar, another UNESCO world heritage site.

Built without a foundation, Hawa Mahal is a fine blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. It is also considered the world's tallest building without a foundation.

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