Tour the Havelis of Old Delhi

Haveli in Old Delhi

The Havelis of Old Delhi are crumbling

The Havelis of Old Delhi are fascinating but time is taking its toll on them. 

Due to utter neglect and successive division of ancestral property, these Haveli’s are in ruins. The large houses of Old Delhi have been steadily divided as they are handed down from one generation to another. The haveli’s in old Delhi look nothing like the well preserved havelis in Rajasthan. Many of the havelis were destroyed in the Indian revolt of 1857, which led to the siege and plunder of Old Delhi

What is a Haveli?

A haveli is a mansion. In Persian, this word means Enclosed Space. 

 

They are inverted palaces where the gardens and the public spaces are in the middle of the building. The private areas are deeper inside in the building. The open courtyard in the middle of the haveli provided its own microclimate and was cooler in the summer than the outside of the house.. The Havelis also had a place for each household activity. 

 

List of 9 havelis in Old Delhi or Chandni Chowk

  • Begum Samru’s Palace: A young prostitute’s mansion
  • Chunnamal ki Haveli: A merchant’s mansion still mostly intact.
  • Haveli Haider Quli: A large mansion now completely divided into shops and homes for many
  • Haveli of Zeenat Mahal: An empress’ mansion in Old Delhi now a school
  • Haveli of Mirza Ghalib: A famous writer’s home – small and nondescript
  • Haveli Naharwali: Mansion of the PM of Pakistan who attacked India 
  • Namak Haram Ki Haveli – The mansion of a traitor
  • Haveli Dharampura: A politician’s recreation of a haveli – historically inaccurate
  • The Naughara Havelis: Well maintained mansions owned by the Jain community

Why see the havelis of Old Delhi?

I don’t think you need to go to old Delhi just to see the mansions. The havelis should be seen as a part of walking tour of Delhi which should include other sights, food and shopping. This can be done in a half day or a full day tour of Delhi

The havelis speak to the grandeur of that age. The late 1700s when a lot of these came into existence. 

 

How to see the havelis in Chandni Chowk

Most of the havelis are really easy to miss in the chaotic alleys of Chandni Chowk. These are best seen on a walking tour of the old city. 

If you want to do this yourself, you call follow the map in my post on the ultimate walk of Old Delhi

You can also take a rickshaw to make this walk easier for you. There are many markets, sights and food stalls in this area that have been marked on the map. Enjoy. Write to me if you want to do this popular tour with us. I customise each tour for my guests.

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