Touring Mangaldas Ni Haveli in World Heritage City Ahmedabad

Mangaldas ni Haveli is a 180-year-old haveli which showcases traditional Amdavadi lifestyle and architecture. Located on a 10 feet wide lane leading to Lakha Patel ni Pol near Manekchowk, it was once owned by Sardar Bholabhai Sarabhai Divatia. This haveli has since been bought by the ‘House of MG’. Since then it has been renovated and restored in to an arts and craft center as well as a cafe. The structure of the haveli represents Indo-Saracenic architecture, found in buildings across Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is a merger of Islamic architecture brought from West Asia and intricate wooden carvings in Hindu style.

The signboard indicating the name “Mangaldas ni Haveli – Arts and Crafts center” outside of the haveli (building).

Mangaldas ni Haveli Arts and Craft Center
Mangaldas ni Haveli Arts and Craft Center

This is how the unpretentious entrance to the house looks. Remember it probably was the house of one of the richest men in the city back then. To get a reference to the architecture of this building, it was built in India during the same time as the art-deco buildings of South Mumbai and the havelis of the Shekhawati region.

Facade and Entrance of Mangaldas ni Haveli
Entrance of Mangaldas ni Haveli

The intricately wood carved motifs on the jharokhas. Jharokhas served a lot of purposes for the buildings in the pols. In Islam influenced, conservative Gujarat they allowed the women to watch over the proceedings in the streets without being observed. They also helped create a shade from the harsh sun in the front of the building.

Jharokhas of Mangaldas ni Haveli
Jharokhas of Mangaldas ni Haveli

The open courtyard with the herb garden – tulsi (basil) plant in the center. Most of the hot and dry regions of North India preferred the open courtyard structure of building. This was the waiting area for guests, drying area for everything from clothes to food and an excellent way to ventilate the house.

Courtyard of the haveli
Courtyard of the haveli with the beautifully carved wooden motifs

Like most parts of Gujarat, Ahmedabad too, in spite of being on the banks of the Sabarmati, has been a dry city. This haveli was built on top of a well to ensure that there is constant supply of water in the house. Amazing na!! Lets have a look at the well:

Well inside Mangaldas ni haveli
Aaand….the well
Water well with the rope to draw water out

That concludes our short tour of the beautiful haveli inside recently crowned World Heritage City Ahmedabad.

Pico Iyer connection to Mangaldas ni Haveli

Just like the well, I also uncovered a few surprising tid bits while researching about this post. I learnt that British author Pico Iyer was the great-great grandson of the owner of Mangaldas ni Haveli. The family of social reformer Mahipatram Roopram Nilkanth and Bholanath Sarabhai Divetia came closer due to the marriage between Ramanbhai Nilkanth and Vidyagauri – the great great grandfather\mother of Pico Iyer. These two social reformers were instrumental in establishing some famous institutions such as the the Prarthnasabha, Hindu Sansar Sudhara Samaj and even the Anjuman-e-Islam. And that Akho Bhagat, the famous gujarati poet used to visit the haveli. The famous Gujarati bhajan “Mangal mandir kholo” was written by Narsinhrao Divetia – the son of Bholaram Divetia.

Mangaldas ni Haveli housed a lot of eminent personalities – all of whom helped shape the city that Ahmedabad has become over the years. Truly an important monument of the World Heritage city of Ahmedabad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *