The old-world charm of Delhi-6 is distinctive and exquisite in its own chaotic and authentic way. Set in one of these lanes is the Heritage Haveli Dharampura.
While many havelis are nestled in the heart of Old Delhi, most of them have been forgotten and ruined with the passage of time. After six years of constant restoration work, Dharampura Haveli is now ready to give connoisseurs a reason to witness a taste of the authentic Mughal lifestyle.
The Haveli dates back to 1887 AD and had a whopping 45 lakh spent on its restoration. It has antique pieces from various parts of the country including jharokhas and old-style lockers called tijoris placed on the mezzanine floor that the haveli’s occupants got constructed.
The restoration has converted a 60 room haveli to 13 rooms with attached bathrooms, 2 huge kitchens, restaurants, handicraft shops, jewelry shops, bookshops and a central courtyard. Set on a high platform above street level, the haveli‘s entrance is grand with arched gateways, a sandstone facade and a wooden doorway leading to the central courtyard.
Each door is named after a gate: Kashmiri, Turkmani, Ajmeri, etc. They lead to the next level of rooms, balconies and little alcoves meant as lounging areas.
The Haveli boasts of two marvellous restaurants. Lakhori, situated on the ground floor offers an exquisite palate of Mughlai cuisine; while the second one is a roof-top restaurant with a splendid 360 degree view of Sis Ganj Gurudwara, Jain Mandir, Jama Masjid and the Red Fort. The place echoes with ghazals and thumris while you get a glimpse of ravishing kathak dancers in balconies.
The sheer effort made in the process of restoration of a dangerous building – as declared by the Municipal Corporation Of Delhi, is evident in its appeal. Apart from contributions from Heritage India foundation, former Rajya Sabha MP, Vijay Goel, has also worked for the revival of the building.
While restoring this haveli, top priority was given to retaining the original character and maintenance of the same. All conservation work followed basic principles such as minimum intervention in the historic fabric and respect for historic evidences adopted in various international charters for the conservation of heritage sites.
He recalls his first impression was utter disappointment. His initial plans only included repainting and replastering, but owing to the deteriorating condition of the Haveli, Vijay Goel had to put in a lot of extra effort in regenerating the charm of real 19th century havelis. Having no reference point, Kapil Aggarwal, the architect of the project, went from haveli to haveli in Chandni Chowk, studying the colours and craftsmanship.
The havelis here are different from the ones you see in Rajasthan, which are far more elaborate and ornate. These are mellow and minimalistic.
It’s a fine example of revitalizing the essence of lost culture and architecture through hard work. There are hundreds of such sites in the capital, each with its own hospitality and conservation opportunity.
This place is a well-deserving nostalgic ride for all of us who crave some time-travelling. Dharampura Haveli is a 2-minute walk from Jama Masjid, nestled in the famous Gali-Guliyan of Chandni Chowk. It’s all set to open on March 3.