Haveli of Nau Nihal Singh
|نو نہال سنگھ حویلی|
The haveli's northwest façade is lavishly decorated.
|Location||Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan|
The Haveli of Nau Nihal Singh (Urdu/Punjabi: نو نہال سنگھ حویلی) is a haveli mansion located in Lahore, Pakistan. Dating from the Sikh era of the mid-19th century, the haveli is considered to be one of the finest examples of Sikh architecture in Lahore, and is the only Sikh-era haveli that preserves its original ornamentation and architecture.
The haveli was built around 1830 or 1840 for Nau Nihal Singh, by his grandfather and founder of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The mansion was intended to be a personal residence for Nau Nihal Singh. The haveli has been used, since the British colonial era, to house the Victoria Girls' High School.
The base of the haveli is rectangular in shape, with its entrance on the western side. The façade is divided into two sections, with the portion housing the haveli's entryway profusely decorated with frescoes painted in the vivid Kangra style, and the other pierced with numerous windows.
A large jharoka balcony with sculpted brickwork and a small bulbous half dome is above the haveli's entry, which acted as a Jharoka-e-Darshan from which the Maharaja could view his subjects gathered below. The jharoka features 5 small arches, and is embellished imagery of winged humans, parrots, and frontally-viewed fish that are carved in a style which displays East Asian influences. The winged humans resemble both Islamic descriptions of angels, but also reflect influences of the mythical Hindu garuda. The base of the dome is decorated with a serpent-like figure which echoes the Hindu snake god Naga. The Jharoka-e-Darshan is flanked by two smaller jharokas. Each of the haveli's jharokas is decorated with a floral pedestal.
The building has four stories, and a basement level. The fourth level is made of a small room known as Rang Mahal ("Colour palace"), or alternatively as Sheesh Mahal ("Mirror palace"), with large screens that form a space in which to catch breezes. The remaining floors were built with high ceilings, to exaggerate the height of the structure in order to give the appearance of a citadel, rather than a private residence.
The ceilings of the haveli are made of decorated wood inlaid with glass and mirror, as well as sun-motifs in the central portion of the roof. Walls within the haveli are decorated with false arches that each contain a small 18 inch by 18 inch painting, with blues, golds, reds, and oranges dominating the haveli's colour palette. The interior is also decorated with carved wood, brickwork, and floral frescoes.
The haveli features a large 2 storied inner courtyard which was also profusely decorated - the bottom level of which has since been whitewashed. In front of the haveli is a small plaza known as Maydan ka Bhaiyan that was once used as the haveli's garden.
The haveli is protected by the Antiquities Act 1975.
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