Friday, 1 December 2017

Havelis in the 'Pols' of Old Ahmedabad

A trip to the old capital of Gujrat had meant nothing but visiting its' innumerable step wells, relishing its' famous 'thalis' and moving one's body to the tunes of  'Dandiya Ras'. Ahmedabad's old city with its' 'pols' and 'havelis' was unheard of. Once the real planning for visiting the place had started, I came across various websites and blogs that depicted and spoke about the immense beauty of the "havelis" that couldn't be missed by any one who loves history, architecture and photography.

In an urge to stay in a Heritage Haveli, my family had decided to accommodate ourselves ( only for two days before moving to a fancy hotel:) in Dodhia Haveli that fit into our budget. Situated in the Kalupur area of Old Ahmedabad, it can give a feeling of disappointment at first  as the access road to the haveli (called Relief road that literally gives no relief from traffic) quite a ride. But, once inside the narrow lanes one can feel safe.

The warm and cozy look of the haveli and its' wooden staircase leading to the suites reminded us of our ancestral home back in Karnataka. There are only two suites in this tiny settlement with a kitchen to serve the guests and very hospitable and helpful care taker- Narayanji. In fact it was he who took us on a tour of all the pols, narrow lanes and havelis of the old city.

Dodhia Haveli is a 200 year old haveli bought and restored by a Nairobi based businessman- Chandrkant Dodhia in an effort to bring back the lost glory and splendour of crumbling historic structures of Old Ahmedabad.

Exteriors of Dodhia Haveli...



























Dodhia Haveli- interiors...






































Our 'unofficial' heritage walk (unlike the official one arranged by the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Corporation- AMC) on the following day was guided by our haveli's caretaker. The first place we visited after passing through various narrow lanes and  pols was a stunning Jain temple made entirely of wood with intricate carvings on pillars and ceiling.

The entrance of the Jain temple...




























Pillars...


























Crossing over the 'pols' we reached the haveli that I had been eagerly waiting to see- Tankshal ni Haveli. It is considered as one of the exquisitely carved havelis with the longest wooden fa├žade (25m long) in Old Ahmedabad. Hidden in the narrow lanes, this haveli gives anyone with a camera a tough time as it's almost impossible to capture its' beauty in one frame because of its' length and the narrow distance.

Here are a few images:



















































Our next stop was at Deewanji ni Haveli. This haveli was bought and restored by Mr. Rajiv Patel, a realtor who also owns the famous French haveli. Its' large open courtyard, an underground well that covers 1/4th area of the haveli and the wooden staircase stole our hearts.
                                                                                               




















































The large open courtyard...


























A room used to hold conferences and meetings...
































































Moving ahead, we came at another beautiful haveli- Mangaldas ni Haveli. To our disappointment, it was closed for renovation. So we could not get a glimpse of  the haveli held from inside. The owner of this haveli- Abhimangal Das, is the same person who also happens to own the very popular urban heritage hotel in the heart of Ahmedabad- The House of MG. This is how the haveli looks from outside:










































































































Unaccustomed to the unusual September heat of the place, we were completely exhausted and famished (especially so as we were accompanied by our 8 year old kid). We decided to end our 'Heritage Walk' watching and clicking pictures of some more old buildings on our way back.
































Love for the old doors...








































Another interesting one- story building...don't miss the pulley in the first image that was used to lift the water from the well which was located right in front of the house!







































Last piece of advice: Do venture out for a heritage walk only if you have the time, patience and energy.



Temples and Step wells of Lakkundi

The numerous drives that we had undertaken between Hubli and Hyderabad in the last 10 years, never had we noticed this tiny village- Lakkun...