A Look at Havelis And Mahals of Delhi For The Travel Buffs

These old havelis and palaces of Delhi will take you down the memory lane and fill you with both nostalgia and wonder.

Published: January 6, 2022 3:53 PM IST

By Nivedita R

A Look at Havelis And Mahals of Delhi For The Travel Buffs
A Look at Havelis And Mahals of Delhi For The Travel Buffs (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

New Delhi: The old world charm of Delhi, distant from the urbane side of the city, is what attracts many travel buffs to this capital. The old havelis and palaces of Delhi, which belong to a bygone era, will not only take you down the memory lane but will also fill you with both nostalgia and wonder. A city rich in culture, history, architecture, food and many more, Delhi has numerous ancient relics and architecture that attract travellers from all across the globe.

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From elaborate archways, unending corridors, quintessential look and feel, to awe-inspiring architecture, these old palaces and havelis are the true treasures of the city that you can explore on your next trip to Delhi. Check them out.


A Look at Havelis And Palaces of Delhi For The Travel Buffs

1. Zafar Mahal

Situated in South Delhi’s Mehrauli village, Zafar Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Akbar Shah II in the early 19th century, is considered the last monumental structure built as a summer palace during the fading years of the Mughal era. The complex from the bygone era houses a beautiful white marble Moti Masjid and several royal graves, including that of several emperors such as Shah Alam I and Shah Alam II. There’s even an empty grave for Bahadur Shah Zafar, who was exiled and buried in Myanmar after the 1857 rebellion. Moreover, the place is also home to several interesting tombs in the area, most notably that of Adham Khan and Chaumachi Khan.

2. Zeenat Mahal

This long forgotten structure in the back lanes of Chandni Chowk is in such a dilapidated state that restoration is an uphill task. Zeenat Mahal or Shahjahanabad as it was once known is situated in Lal Kuan Bazaar, famous for its kite shops. The palace used to have fountains and waterways which doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a former glory which has now become a forgotten story. Beghum Zeenat Mahal was one of the four and apparently the favorite wives of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.

3. Jahaz Mahal

Located next to Hauz-i-Shamsi in Mehrauli, Jahaz Mahal is built during the Lodi period. The popular legend has it that the 13th-century Delhi sultan Iltutmish dreamt that Prophet Mohammad visited him on a horse and told him to build a reservoir on that very spot. When Iltutmish went to examine the area the next day, he discovered a horse’s hoof print on the soil and built Hauz-i-Shamsi in 1229-30. Jahaz Mahal houses a beautifully-carved sandstone pillars, colourful tile work on its roof and fine chhatris. Did you know this historic monument is also the venue for the annual Phoolwalon ki Sair festival held after the monsoon season? During this flowers are offered to the Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki dargah and Yogamaya temple in the neighbourhood.

4. Mirza Ghalib’s Haveli

This 300-year-old ancient relic, situated in Gali Qasim Jan in Baliimaran, Chandni Chowk, has housed one of India’s most profound poets – Mirza Asadullah Khan, better known as Ghalib. This is an old dilapidated structure with a semi-circular brick arch as its entrance, which was presented to this celebrated Urdu poet by a hakim (traditional physician) who was an ardent fan of his poetry. It was here that Ghalib wrote some of his finest ghazals and recited them to a huge audience every evening.

5. Begum Samru’s Haveli

Begum Samru’s haveli in Chandni Chowk’s Bhagirath Palace area was an architectural marvel during the reign of King Akbar Shah. The magnificent haveli was once a palatial four-storeyed structure of stone and marble built using a stunning confluence of Greek, Roman and Mughal architectural styles which had winding staircases and sprawling terraces. This ancient structure from the bygone era that stands tall with contemporary buildings is one of the biggest examples of neglect and the sheer apathy that us mortal beings have for structures bearing any historical significance.

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Published Date: January 6, 2022 3:53 PM IST