Photographer's Note

The five-storied Patwon ki Haveli is the largest of its kind in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. It is one of the most elaborate and fascinating mansions in Jaisalmer. (Haveli is the term used for private residence in Pakistan and North India. The word haveli is of Persian origin).

Located on a narrow lane in the main Jaisalmer city, Patwon ki Haveli was constructed by Guman Chand Patwa and his five sons between 1800 and 1860. Guman Chand was a famous trader of his times and dealt in gold, brocade and silver.

The entire haveli is and interesting grid of pillared halls, large corridors, lavishly chiseled ceilings and ostentatiously decorated walls. It isn't an exaggeration when the locals claim that no house built for human habitation anywhere in the world features carved stone decoration that surpasses the delicacy and intricacy of the Patwa haveli facades. - "The Best a Man can Fabricate".

This is actually not a single haveli but a cluster of 5 small havelis. The first Haveli is a private museum and shop featuring displays of old furnishings and household items & owned by a family and the rest of it is owned by families who run craft shops within the premises. The second and fifth Havelis are government run, by the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI).

It is quite a challenge taking pictures which do justice to this Haveli. This five story building runs for 25 odd meters, on either side of a narrow lane which is not more than 10 feet (3 metres) wide. To capture the entire height of the haveli is thus next to impossible if one tries to photograph from street level, because of the lack of space to go back. Further due to the closeness of the buildings, the sunlight does not filter down to the street or even to the first & second floors…whereas during late mornings & afternoons, the top part of the haveli is bathed in harsh light.

There is however a courtyard almost towards the end of the haveli, from where I took this shot. This is a view of a portion of the fifth haveli, which is under the aegis of ASI. Here the distribution of light is better. You can see a number of locals in various modes of activity & inactivity.

In the Workshop, a small portion of the Haveli, with intricate carving on stone & wood. You can also see a closeup of the famous jharokhas (balconies).

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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