Since lakecity Udaipur is a place where every kind of beauty is available, let us also talk about the beautiful havelis it has been boasting of since years and will continue to do the same in many more years to come. These concrete structural beauties make my senses go numb every time I see them even in pictures. I feel a connection with all these beautiful architectural pieces the moment I step into them(well most of them). As if my soul belongs in these havelis right from my previous births, I feel surrounded by the sounds and feelings of ancient tradition and culture. I have had a fascination for havelis and forts since my childhood.
There are too many to havelis to mention. Amet Haveli, Kankarwa Haveli, Bagore ki Haveli and a lot others which are still used as residences and not as hotels. Bagore ki Haveli has cultural importance since it has been converted into a museum. Jagat Haveli, Kankarwa Haveli, Karohi Haveli, Amet Haveli are functioning well as hotels providing traditional accommodations to the tourists and which are a fascination for all.
Then there are some which are still used as residences wherein Rajput families live in the same old structures since every corner of the havelis were built keeping in mind the right usage of sunlight and proper passage for fresh air. Also these havelis still maintain separate guest rooms for ladies and gents respectively keeping in view the purdah pratha followed in ancient times. I have had the chance to visit one such haveli in the Bhattiyani Chohatta area of Udaipur. This haveli is known as Mamaji Ki Haveli. The entry to the haveli is through a huge door with two extremely heavy and sturdy wooden door panels. The main entry door looks very much protective in the sense that it holds a small door entry on one of the panels which was an ancient system to prevent enemy from barging into the haveli. Also it restricted animals from entering the premises. The most difficult part for a newcomer or a rare visitor to the haveli is the staircase. Still in its extremely old fashioned state, the staircase actually calls for attention. Each step has now become really shiny due to regular use since ages, it is also very slippery and you need effort to reach up as each step is just double the size of a normal step that we see now. But the beauty lies in old look which has still been maintained.
Other havelis or almost haveli like structures are also occupied by some Jain families who are said to have been converted to Jainism whose ancestors belonged to Rajpoot families. Their life style and culture also resembles that of Rajpoots. The love for Haveli seems to be in blood, generation after generation none wants to part with the heritage look of the buildings. For some selling the building is out of question as they want the tradition of passing on the property in the family as security to be maintained as is.
The Havelis with huge life size windows may send a chill up your spine if you have kids running around in your own house. The thought of your child in these havelis sometimes becomes scary. Also since too many stories have been rolling on the net regarding some old Havelis and forts being haunted, your imaginations can start running high.
The only thought here is that during those times, the people were too intelligent in building such structures as each of these have a different look and the architectural beauty is amazing enough to make anyone think really hard. Some buildings may look simple on the outside but the interior is breathtakingly beautiful. Carvings, paintings, mind boggling structures for water preservation, kitchen chimneys, wash corners and partitions in the open areas known as ‘chowk’ where ladies and gents could enjoy the winter sun in their own privacy speak for themselves.
These structural beauties need to be preserved to create another history for the generations to come as apart from books, only these buildings will live to tell tales.