Haveli, Mahraja Naunihal Singh, Lahore

Nau Nihal Singh Haveli (built mid-19th century)

Located in Walled City, Lahore (Mori Gate Bazzar- Kucha Darzian)

The haveli of Nau Nihal Singh is perhaps the grandest of the surviving havelis in Lahore. It is rectangular in plan and comprises two levels wrapped around a central courtyard. A tower at the northwest corner rises two additional stories and provides a panoramic view of Lahore from its roof. As the west side of the building includes the main entrance from the street, the tower is architecturally integrated with the first and second levels to present an eye-catching facade repleat with projecting fenestration and colorful surface detail. Converted into a Girls High School, Haveli Nau Nihal Singh is one of the most ignored piece of historical architecture in Lahore Apart from its historical background the place has Some pieces of art that are waiting to be preserved which depict centuries of struggle people of this region has made.

Nau Nihal Singh, ruled as Maharaja of the Punjab for a mere month in October and early November, 1840. He gained control of the Sikh Empire when his father, Kharak Singh, died from the effects of poisoning on November 5, 1840. The following day, when Nau Nihal was returning from his father’s funeral, a building collapsed onto the path his entourage was travelling. Nau Nihal sustained minor head injuries and was knocked unconscious. His courtiers pulled him into a tent to ostensibly treat his injuries, but when the tent was opened some time later it was discovered that Nau Nihal was dead–his head having been smashed in. It is not known even today if this resulted from the initial accident or if assassins took advantage of the situation to remove Nau Nihal from power.

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The word “Haveli” is used to refer to mansions in Indo-Pak sub continent. The word is derived from the Persian word “hawli”, meaning “an enclosed place”. Havelis typically were built by wealthy aristocrats to house themselves and their extended families, and were often constructed several stories high with one or more courtyards in the interior.

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