Havelis of Delhi


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 But today his haveli has been replaced by houses.

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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’.


3 thoughts on “Havelis of Delhi

  1. Masterji Kee Haveli is located at the border line of Old Delhi and New Delhi. The Haveli is a fine edifice that has been built on the lines of traditional Mughal architecture. Any onlooker is sure to be impressed with the carved pillars, the open terraces and other features of the Old Delhi traditional surroundings with a view of Jama Masjid from the terrace. It is an old-style 4-storied home with a central courtyard flanked by rooms with 58 doors.

  2. Masterji Kee Haveli organises a a Food Trail of Delhi – whic is a Bazar Walking Tour with a Haveli Visiting Tour

    Will take you you through the charming quarter of Old Delhi, experiencing the variety of food and Haveli (old-style 4-storied home with a central courtyard flanked by rooms with 58 doors)..

    Before visiting the Haveli, you will take a walk through a local bazaar. Sitaram Bazaar area has colourful and interesting street food and is crowned with the oldest shops with many world originated delicacies. The best of the best chat can be had here offering Chat Papri, Laccha Tokri, Desi Ghee Tikki, Moong Pakori,Kulche Chole, Dahi Bhalla, Bedwee Aloo and Kachori Alu are just lip smacking. Apart from that you can also have Samudra Kee Chat, Brown & White fresh milk cake, Kulfi, Ice creams, Hot Kadai Milk, Halwa Nangori etc. You can choose to taste some of it if you wish. The area is also home to several small temples and shrines. Cows wander the streets, small dharamshalas (rest-houses) and pyaus (water-stations) attest to the pious contributions of local merchants.

    The Flavors of Delhi tour is a guided experience, in English, which lasts about 3 ½ wonderful hours.

    Flavors of Delhi patrons will be met at the designated Metro Station of Chawari Bazar where you will be greeted and take you on your tour. Specific instructions regarding the meeting point will be sent to you along with your tour confirmation on the site masterjikeehaveli.com

    In this tour, we will take you to a Hindu home in Old Delhi, for a demonstration and tasting of traditional home-style North Indian cooking.

    Our discoveries while wandering the streets of Sitaram Bazar inspires you to feel more hungry that we call Flavors of Delhi.

    After the walk, you will visit the Haveli which is a fine edifice that has been built on the lines of traditional Mughal architecture. Any onlooker is sure to be impressed with the carved pillars where a meal will be served to you.

    You can choose to participate in the cooking, or merely watch and learn. The haveli has a terrace from where, there are views of Old Delhi in all its higgledy-piggledy chaos with a view of spectacular Jama Masjid.

    The family is Hindu vegetarian; they are old time residents of Shahjahanabad; and this is one of the few homes that hasn’t been broken down or divided into pieces and sold to multiple people. It is a chance to visit a traditional home and see what life is really like in this narrow crowded part of Old Delhi, where adjacent houses share a common wall and everyone knows everyone else!


    Cost and Inclusions

    Rs 2000 per person 1-4 number of guests
    Rs 1750 per person 5-8 number of guests
    Rs 1500 per person 9-16 number of guests

    The price includes the following:

    Food oriented bazaar walk, some street food tasting for those who feel adventurous, all ingredients, visit to haveli, interactive cooking session, breakfast/lunch/dinner and bottled water.

  3. Very informative article and even the comments were good.

    I have also lived in Delhi for 4 years but never heard and read about this dimension of Havelis anywhere.

    Thank you for sharing this. Will explore it next time i go there

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