Monday, December 28, 2009

Patwa haveli - Ancient Lego

Visiting the Patwa haveli in Jaisalmer. It's an awesome structure with mind bogglingly intricate work.

Infact, the designs of the carvings on the exterior can and are used on jewellery! The intricacy of the work is difficult to produce even on jewellery despite gold's amazing moulding capability. This was made possible because the haveli is constructed from sandstone.

The other mind blowing bit about this structure is that it has no usage of limestone or cement. The entire thing is built by interlocking of different parts. This means that you can simply dismantle the structure and rebuild it elsewher - yeah, like Lego

It took 60 years to build (1800-1860) and was commissioned by Ghuman mal Bafna - a jain trader. A total of 5 floors were built - 1 for each of his sons. The total cost was about 10 lakh rupees in 1800s money - which is a LOT. The architecture is a mix of Hindu and Muslim styles with the curved windows representing the latter and the flat plain windows the former.

He got the name Patwa because he had significant exposure in trading gold, silver, pearl and opium as well as running this silkroute successfuly.

Recently, it was bought by some members of that 'kothari' clan(for lack of a better word)  for am ere 80,000 rupees rupees who gifted it to the ASI - this was to prevent it from being auctioned into private hands.

It is now under their maintenance - and they have done a pretty reasonable job.

It thus also known as the Kothari ki Patwa Haveli.

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