A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational and economic legacies – all of the things that quite literally make us who we are – Steve Berry

On a hot & unbearably humid Saturday afternoon, I trudged along with my friend on the Delhi Metro and then on a cycle rickshaw in the narrow streets of Old Delhi to find myself in front of Goel Saab ki Haveli, popularly known as Haveli Dharampura. The first look of this ancient haveli (which has now been restored) was beautiful and the ornate wooden door, left partially opened provided a glimpse of the beauty inside; curious and wanting to be in cooler & lesser humid environs, we quickly stepped inside. What greeted us took our breath away! A stunning ancient haveli, with jharokhas, pretty tiled courtyard and such lovely bright stained glass doors.

We were at Haveli Dharampura on invite for high tea session on “Restoring The Heritage Haveli” (in association with Haveli Dharampura and Darter Photography – as an Invitee through my wonderful FB travel group #TCBG).

I first came to know about Haveli Dharampura restoration around 4-5 years back, when one of my colleagues in the architecture division of my then organization mentioned it. It sounded interesting for me, as an urban & town planner, as these ancient havelis of Old Delhi date back to Mughal era and restoring them in their present state is one tough task. Anyways, I forgot all about it (as we tend to do in our daily lives) and remembered it again in March this year, when I saw advertisements and newspapers/social media updates on the now fully restored haveli. I wanted to visit Haveli Dharampura ever since, preferably in salubrious weather, along with my family. However, as luck would have it, I got my opportunity much earlier and on a short notice. While chatting with my friend, I got to know about this event, maybe 3-4 days before the date, and then got my invite.  So, while my enthusiasm for heritage and urban planning was great enough to overcome the weather and visit Haveli Dharampura, it was not enough to bring my DSLR camera.  And boy how I regretted not coming with my camera!!

The event started with an interesting presentation and talk by Ms. Vidyun Goel, who had been actively involved in the restoration process. She told us how, initially when they decided to restore the haveli, they thought it will take around 6 months, but it took around 6 years for all restoration to be completed.  It was an interesting narration on the different challenges they restorers faced, how they overcame them and the very interesting people who helped to restore this haveli. It was quite fascinating to know that the Architect responsible for this project had not done any restoration project before and it was his maiden restoration work; the contractor who saved the the first floors of this haveli from collapse was a local person from Old Delhi. While I was listening to Ms. Goel’s narrative, I also noticed the excellently executed grouting work on the brick walls (as a Civil Engineer, I knew grouting if not done well, can have serious repercussions on an old structure).

We were served typical Old Delhi snacks and tea, which we gorged over as we listened to Ms.Goel. After the snack session, she took us on a tour of the haveli and one of the rooms. I simply fell in love with the courtyards of the haveli, my mind imagining it on a sweet winter day, full of sunshine, lazing around on an easy chair watching people indulge in Patangbaazi (kite-flying). And sure enough, there was patangbaazi going on that day on the rooftop, which my friend indulged in!!

The rooms are pretty and have been named after the various lanes of Old Delhi. Priced from INR 9000 (and above), there are 13 beautifully furnished rooms, most of them looking into the courtyard.  Haveli Dharampura also has 2 restaurants, which serve both in house guests and day visitors.  One can book any of the two for a day visit and eating out (since reaching Old Delhi takes some effort, it is advisable to book prior at these restaurants).

Soon it was evening and time for us to leave. And as I stood on the rooftop of Haveli Dharampura, with gentle breeze caressing my skin and the laughter of my friends ringing in my ears, I realised I had to come back here soon with my family (and my DSLR Camera ofcourse) !! This place is the place for creating perfect happy memories!!

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