Thanjavur Palace, TN - Saarja Madi, a fine example of ''Jharokha''

 Jharokha. Thanjavur palace, Saarjah Madi

Thanjavur palace, Saarjah Madi

Aranmanai Jharoka, Thanjavur, TN

Above images: Jharokhas of  Saarjah Madi Thanjavur palace, East main street, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. Projected balconies supported by decorative bracket right below them.The huge Maratha building called Mangala Vilas on the South main street has a  Jharokha on either side of the  first floor in the facade of the building overlooking the street.................

Originally built by the early Nayak rulers (they took control in 1535), the Thanjavur palace (then called Sivaganga palace)  underwent many architectural modification after the Maratha rulers had taken  over the Tanjore kingdom and its administration.  A part of the palace  is still being used as the official residence of the Thanjavur Maratha ruling class - the Bhonsle family who ruled over the Tanjore region from 1674 to 1855. They are the descendants of the great Maratha warrior  Chatrapathi  Shivaji Maharaj. The family members here, it is said, still have close contacts with the royal families in the Satara and Kolhapur area, Maharashtra. 

 Jharokha. Saarjah Madi Thanjavur palace -

 Saarjah Madi is  a beautiful 5 story structure with roofed projected decorated balconies  is part of the Thanjavur palace complex. Facing the road on the East Main  street close to the entrance to the palace complex, it is a well-known landmark building in this historical locality for its unique architectural stylenot native to this region.  This type of design feature of the building is called  Jharokha.  

A jharokha in Maheshwar Fort, Madhya Pradesh

A partly projected balcony, Museum entrance

A common architectural element in the Classical Indian architecture,  the Jharokha is a stone window projecting from the outer wall face of a building. It is set mostly on an upper floor or floors, overlooking a street, market, court or any other open space. What is unique about Jharokha is  it is supported  by  two or more brackets or corbelling and has invariably  two pillars or pilasters, balustrade and a cupola or pyramidal roof. Generally,  a corbel vault uses this technique to support the superstructure of a building's roof. In most cases  the opening or window is fixed with stone jaali or  latticed stone  or wooden screens so that the inmates - mostly women   can look out or peep through them the events or procession going on down the street.   At the same time the interior part is not visible from outside.  Most common feature in Rajasthani palaces, buildings ot havelis, it is not only a formal design element to enhance the aesthetics of the buildings but also keep the indoors cool and comfortable with better air circulation.   It is more or less similar to the English or French Oriel windows.  Ornamental Jharokha is primarily set in the fa├žade of the building. and ts inclusion in building construction  continued till the end of the 19th century in India.  

This concept of Jharokha is liberally used by the Maratha rulers with the main purpose to improve the look of the front part of the building. The Jharokhas of  Saarjamodi are symbolic of  Rajasthani design and they were  meant  for the purpose of decoration, better air circulation and  observation of street life through the latticed windows.