few days prior to the Bomb blast that shattered the beauty of one of India’s
rarest heritage sites Hawa Mahal; we had the pleasure of shooting Bibi Russell
– a Bangladeshi icon- who tirelessly works to save tradition through weaving
in new trends with the weavers of Rajasthan.
Mahal or Palace of the winds was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh (in 1799)
to afford privacy to Royal Rajput Woman -who observed strict purdah in that
era- as they had the pleasure of observing everyday life and royal processions
on the streets of Jaipur.
Designed by Lal Chand Usta; its an ingenious adaptation of Mogul style by the
Rajputs; Hindu elements like chhatris-small domed canopies are set off majestic
fluted pillars. Lotus and floral patterns, sprinkled with subtle elements resonating
with Pieta Dura (stone inlay) influences and finesse of Mogul filigreeing techniques.
The‘jharokhas’ - elegant trellis balconies- bathed in the glow of
a sundowner, deep pink sand stone beautifully outlined by white borders and
motifs painted with quick lime, invoking a feeling of delicate screens. Setting
off this five-storey structure is a dome representing ‘mukut’ (crown)
of Lord Krishna.