Though Juliet had asked Romeo why he was Romeo ( Wherefore art thou Romeo? (I. ii.)) its been often mosquoted as “Where art thou, Romeo?”
And while Juliet was on a balcony, its the erroneous line that always comes to my whenever I see a jharokha.
A Jharokha unique feature of Indian architecture has its root in Rajasthan. This overhanging stone enclosed balcony, can be likened to French oriel windows which protrude from the outer walls supported by pillars and balustrade. (image 4)
It would be decorated by carved pillars and architeaves as in image 1 from Bagore ki Haveli in Udaipur or minakari, mirrors and tiles as in the balcony in the famous mor chowk of Udaipur’s City Palace ( image 2&3)
These Jharokhas were decorative and provided light and fresh air.
If equipped with jaalis or stone lattices they provided a viewing platform for ladies who coupd see what was events happening outside. They provided shade to the lower floors.
In the Arab world where purdah was prevalent there were ‘mashrabiyas’. (image 5)
These had jaalis or even stained glass . Furnished with cushions and carpets they were a comfortable way of enjoying the air & external view plus used for storage to keep water jars cool.
A more important function was the tradition of jharokha darshan that was later adopted by the Mughal Emperors.
This was the practice of appearing before the subjects at dawn.
So whether you give darshan or ibserve the view, a jharokha is always a beautiful addition to any building.
City Palace, Udaipur
An Arabic Mashrabiya
A French Windo