Friday 2 December 2016

A Tale Of Three Old Havelis of Punjab (Haveli Bara Dari of Sardar Gurmukh Singh Ji)

As it often happens we sometime make unintended discoveries. Similarly while roaming about in rural Punjab in search of old battlefields, graves of forgotten warriors, abandoned gurdwaras and temples and tombs of people lost in history, I made some interesting discoveries. 

One of those are three beautiful havelis which I found during my different expeditions. I don't know much about their history. But hopefully some reader will add to our knowledge.

The first haveli was discovered by me on 23 August, 2015, near Mandi Bahauddin. I was going to Chillianwala and due to a wrong turn I came on this road. Monsoon season was on its peak and there was just one colour all around and that was green. While enjoying beautiful scenes (but suffering horrible humidity in my rickety a quarter century old car), this haveli just beside the road, caught my eyes. We met a young man near the haveli and he told us that the real owners were not living in it and they were just caretakers. He happily allowed us to enter the haveli, which is nearly abandoned and in poor condition. He did not know anything about the history of this haveli. But the style of the construction shows that it was built in the early decades of the 20th century. The most beautiful thing about the haveli is its location, which is situated in open fields and gives an impressive look. It is located near Chak Basawa, at  32°34'35.79"N,  73°34'9.87"E. 

A view of the haveli. 23.08.2015.
(Haveli Bara Dari of Sardar Gurmukh Singh ji)

Another view. 23.08.2015.
(Haveli Bara Dari of Sardar Gurmukh Singh ji)

Upper floor of the haveli. 23.08.2015.

 2nd floor. 23.08.2015.

A big room on the first floor. 23.08.2015.

Fireplace in the room. 23.08.2015.

Beautiful fields around the haveli. 23.08.2015.

Front yard of the haveli. My darling car is also visible. 23.08.2015.

The top floor of the haveli. 23.08.2015.

A side view of the haveli. 23.08.2015.

A very old well near the haveli. 23.08.2015.

Well near the haveli. 23.08.2015.

View of the haveli from the location of the well. 23.08.2015.
(Haveli Bara Dari of Sardar Gurmukh Singh ji)

Update: (15.09.2020.)

Exactly five years after my visit to this haveli, a Facebook friend Mr Colonel (Rtd.) Harjeet Singh Lamba, currently residing in Chandigarh, Punjab, India, mentioned of a haveli near Mandi Bahauddin. His ancestors were Sardars of neaby Qilla Attar Singh and later moved to this haveli. I recalled visiting such a haveli near Chak Basawa and provided the link to colonel sahib. He immediately recognized his ancestral home and provided more details to me. This was the first time in 73 years that they saw their home, because they had no pictures of this home. It was a great moment for him and his family and to me as well. He also writes a blog and wrote the following post about this discovery:

Sardar Harkrishan Singh Lamba-Founder of The Haveli Bara Dari.

Colonel (Rtd.) Harjeet Singh Lamba. 

The same day, I visited another beautiful old house in Dinga. To be frank it was not totally an accidental discovery, but I did not have much information about its location. This is haveli of a rich Hindu merchant Sunder Das. The main building is in a good condition, at least from the outside. We could not enter the building, because the gardener working in the lawn informed us that the owner does not like to be disturbed during his afternoon siesta. But the old spacious garden around the haveli is almost totally destroyed. As the different portions have been sold, in this thickly populated locality. We took a few pictures and ran to our next target. This haveli is located at  32°38'1.80"N,  73°43'14.87"E. 

Luckily I found a video uploaded on a facebook page of Save Historical Places of Pakistan. According the video the current owner of this beautiful small palace is Rao Sajid Iqbal, who's grandfather migrated from Delhi. It was built by Rai Bahadur Sunder Das Chopra a rich Hindu businessman in 1918. Who was a contractor abd supplier working for the British Army. The total area of the haveli was 40 kanals (5 acres) and it was surrounded by gardens, including two guest houses.  You can see the video at the following link:

Sunder Mahal, Dinga. 23.08.2016.

A passage to Sunder haveli, Dinga. 23.08.2016.

An entrance to the haveli. 23.08.2016.

A side view. 23.08.2016. 

Sunder Mahal. 23.08.2016.

Beautiful garden of the haveli. 23.08.2016.

View of another side. 23.08.2016.

Old guest house of the haveli. 23.08.2016.

Last of the these three havelis is in a Small village of Mukhiana. This too was most probably built about a century ago. While in Kheiwa, looking for the mosque of Mirza Sahiban, our "guide" noticed my interest and offered to guide us to an old haveli. It is situated in a village called Mukhiana, 5 kilometers off the Jhang - Chiniot road, at  31°23'12.86"N,  72°27'48.41"E.

Front view of the haveli in Mukhiana. 22.03.2016.

Full view of the haveli, and its lawns. 22.03.2016.

 West wing of the haveli. 22.03.2016.

Old entrance of the haveli. 22.03.2016.

View from the east side of the haveli. 

Backside of the haveli. Our guide told us that visiting British officers were received and welcomed at this place. 22.03.2016.

Another view of the stage. 22.03.2016.

A room in the haveli. 22.03.2016.

Another view of a big room. 22.03.2016.

Veranda in front of the haveli. 22.03.2016.

Beautiful wooden ceiling of the main room. 22.03.2016.

Roof used to be high, to keep the air cool. 22.03.2016.

Another section of the haveli. 22.03.2016.

It seems that there used to be many doors in every room. Perhaps to keep the airy and cool. 22.03.2016.

On the roof of the ground floor. 22.03.2016.

A narrow veranda in front of rooms on the first floor. 22.03.2016.

A beautiful room on the first floor. 22.03.2016.

Beautifully painted walls. 22.03.2016.

View from the roof of the first floor. 22.03.2016.

It is a very beautiful structures and rooms are big and airy. With lots of doors, windows and openings for ventilation. I was informed that this haveli belongs to Bharwana family.They are big landlords and their newly constructed mansions are situated nearby. 

That's all I could find about these havelis. Again I extend my invitation to all my readers to share their knowledge, pertaining to these above mentioned places. 

Tariq Amir

December 2, 2016.

Doha - Qatar.