Do You Know About This Haveli In Old Delhi?

Khazanchi Haveli, despite its faded glory, remains an evocative reminder of a bygone era and the enduring spirit of Old Delhi, where history peeks out from every corner, waiting to be discovered anew
Khazanchi Haveli in Chandni Chowk
Khazanchi Haveli in Chandni ChowkASHISH SHARMA/Open Magazine

Hidden amidst the bustling streets of Old Delhi lies the Khazanchi Haveli, a place steeped in history and whispers of imperial secrets. Much like its peers in Shahjahanabad, the haveli may bear the weight of time, but it still holds onto its mystique. This erstwhile residence belonged to Emperor Shah Jahan's accountants and bookkeepers, a hushed abode that once cradled the riches of the Mughal empire, from coins to precious mohurs. Its strategic location, purportedly linked to the Red Fort through an underground tunnel, positioned it conveniently at the threshold of Chandni Chowk.

Most recently, the old haveli was also featured in the newly released Indian television series Made In Heaven.

Architectural Elegance Amidst Decay

While time may have taken its toll, the Khazanchi Haveli still echoes with architectural grandeur. Despite its weathered façade, the intricate details of its design persist. One enters through an exquisitely carved foliated arch, leading to a pointed arch doorway recessed within a scalloped frame. The upper level boasts a covered jharokha with three openings, overlooking a sprawling courtyard graced by a linear water feature. The courtyard is framed by grand foliated arched entrances and a double-story bay of smaller arched openings supported by Shahjahani columns. An elevated plinth adorned with intricate carvings hints at the existence of a basement. The interior retains ornate stucco motifs, embellished stone walls, Shahjahani columns, and Pattis on the plinth. Notably, the second floor is a colonial-era addition.

The crumbling interiors of the haveli
The crumbling interiors of the

Treasured Past, Neglected Present

The very name Khazanchi suggests a legacy of treasurers and custodians of Mughal wealth. Legends weave tales of a clandestine tunnel connecting the haveli to the majestic Red Fort, facilitating the secure transfer of money and jewels to the imperial coffers. A testament to the opulence and meticulous management of the Mughal treasury, this haveli is a living relic of bygone riches. Today, the haveli stands in a state of disrepair, with fallen pillars and dismantled arches. Portions of the haveli are rented out for a meagre sum of INR 5,000 per month, a far cry from its past as a symbol of affluence. .

A Glimpse into History

Recent beautification efforts in the area have led to the emergence of a signpost on the main road, guiding visitors to Gali Khazanchi. This winding alley eventually unveils the haveli's ornate entrance, an intricately painted metal door that belies the haveli's neglected state. Upon crossing the high threshold, visitors step back in time. Khazanchi Haveli stands as one of the few remnants from Shahjahan's era, offering a glimpse into the life of an affluent treasurer. The opulence of the past is evident in the haveli's architectural finesse, with white marble, scalloped arches, fluted columns, and intricate carvings. This platform, now worn by time, once served as a dalaan, where the master of the house entertained guests amidst Persian carpets, lamps, and vases. Drapes billowed at the arches, from quilted ones in winter to delicate chintzes in the summer.

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