(Last Updated on : 25/02/2014)
The term Haveli denotes a private residence of Rajasthan
. The Persian origin of this word means "an enclosed place." From 1830s Haveli became an important building in Rajasthani regions of Shekhawati and Marwar. The marwaris used to commission artists to paint the havelis. These were a status symbol for the merchants and traders. These were also the dwelling places of the joint families that offered comfort away from the day-to-day tensions of the world. There would be one large gate at the entrance and the mansion would be closed from the other sides.
These were spacious abodes that were richly decorated. The main features of these havelis were chhajjas (sunshades), jharokhas (balcony windows) and jalis (screen windows). These huge mansions were usually built around a courtyard with darwazas done in beautiful architectural elements. The marwari havelis of the Shekhawati region
have murals with remarkable colors. The motifs on the walls varied from everyday scenes and subjects inspired by the west. An amazing feature of these havelis was the intricately carved wooden doors.
The havelis of Shekhawati consist of 2 courtyards - an outer one and an inner one. The outer courtyard is for men. The inner courtyard (aangan) is exclusively for women. A large Haveli with two or three stores can have three to four courtyards. The towns and villages of Shekhawati are renowned for the frescos on the walls. One of the most well known Haveli in this regard is the Patwa havelis of Jaisalmer. The stone carved jharokhas are a major tourist attraction here.
Other places where one can come across grandiose havelis are Churu, Jhunjhunu
and Sikar. The havelis were mainly painted in blue, yellow, green, indigo and maroon. With the advent of the 19th century the motifs on the walls underwent a change. New themes of telephones, trains, cars, balloons, British hunters, gramophones the paintings of the Haveli owners became popular.
The havelis in Rajasthan
are widely seen in the areas of Jaisalmer, Sekhawat region, Marwar
and other districts where the traders used to dwell. Till date they are considered interesting pieces of Rajasthani art.