LAHORE / PAKISTAN is so well known for its rich heritage and culture and no doubt that it has been an adored seat of power and heart of many writers, painters and poets.

The walled city of Lahore was once the hub of all the laureates and nobles and I can imagine the grandeur of this city at the time, while roaming around in its narrow winding twisting streets.

As you will pass by the antique streets of this city, clustered with people and houses, you will see huge mansions and heritage houses. These were the havelis of the old times and few of them still exist today.

The interesting fact is that there are people living in most of the havelis till now whereas a few have been abandoned and closed due to the conflict of ownership or derelict conditions.

Once the city was loaded with  havelis as the nobles resided there and Hindus and Sikhs built huge mansions, but with passage of time many got looted and burn many and many were turned into commercial markets by demolishing the original structures.

Before coming to the  details of the Havelis, let me brief you on the meaning of this interesting word  "Haveli". It is a mansion with  historical and architectural significance and the word is derived from Arabic, 'Havali" and Persian "hawli", meaning a huge enclosed space".

We cannot say that when exactly the concept of constructing havelis originated but this concept goes back to the primitive times and many Havelis of the  sub-continent were influenced by Islamic, Persian, Turkish, Persian, Sikh and  Hindu architecture.

The structure or building of  a haveli usually has a courtyard, a fountain in the centre, huge rooms and kitchens, balconies and verandas and alley like running galleries.

We do  not    see the concept of attached bath in havelis  and that was due to the cleanliness and hygiene purposes.

Separate rooms for areas for prayer rooms are seen along with huge basements  in the old havelis. In Lahore, we see these structures inside  walled city  and other old areas of Lahore like Mughalpura, Dharapura, Icchra etc, but very few are seen.

This beautiful post on Culture and Traditions and Architecture continues to Part 2. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Tania Querishi.


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