One of the major attractions of capital city Delhi are its large number of havelis, which are an important part of the historical and cultural heritage of Delhi. Delhi was ruled by a series of muslim dynasties, each of whom imparted a different artistic style to the city – Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyeds and Lodhis. During the Mughal and English tenure, Delhi was in fact a city of havelis that have now been converted into commercial buildings and offices.
The major havelis include Seth Chhunnamal ki Haveli, Hakeem Ahsanullah Khan ki Haveli, Haksar ki Haveli where Pt Jawaharlal Nehru got married to Kamala Nehru, Namak Haram ki Haveli named after a traitor Bhuwani Shankar in Chandni Chawk, Haveli Zeenat Mahal, Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli, Haveli Hissamuddin Haider. Except Chunnamal Id Haveli, most of the havelis are on the point of ruin.
Begum Samru’s Kothi :
It is a large, elegant building near Chandni Chowk, today popularly known as Bhaghirath Palace. This Haveli was built in the classical style and owned by Begum Samru. It was a very beautifully decorated building, and used to have marble baths inside.
Namak Haram Ki Haveli ( The Traitor’s Mansion ) :
Namak Haram Ki Havel was owned by Bhawani Shankar, one of the most trusted companions of Jaswant Rao a great Maratha warrior. Bhawani Shankar later deserted him and went over to the British side. Thus he was called a traitor and hence, the strange name for his haveli.
Haider Quli Ki Haveli :
The Mansion Of Haider Quli is spread over many square feet near the Fatehpuri Mosque. Haider Quli was the Commander-of-Artillery in the court of the Mughal Emperor, Mohammad Shah Rangila. But today his haveli has been replaced by houses.
Haveli Of Hakeem Ashanullah Khan :
Hakeem Ashanullah Khan was a personal physician of the emperor Bahdur Shah Zafar. His Haveli was a fortress for those who were able to hide themselves here in the ‘ghadar’- the Sepoy Mutiny time. The mansion is spread over 2, 000-square-yards. It was because of the orders of the Hakeem that Ghalib was given the scholarship to write the history of the Mughal dynasty.
Haveli Of Zeenat Mahal :
Zeenat Mahal was the wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar. The Haveli of Zeenat Mahal today is a mansion in disarray. Today it is occupied by has mundane shops. and is occupied by a grinder factory for spices, a girls’ school, a milk shop, a nursery for children and some houses. It used to be a massive mansion spread over almost four acres.
Ghalib’s Hakimon Ki Haveli :
Ghalib lived in this Haveli for almost all his life after he came from Agra. Ghalib’s Hakimon ki Haveli at Gali Qasimjan in Ballimaran is in shambles today. Living in this Haveli he wrote his Urdu and Persian ‘diwans’.