Bikaner Havelies
 Carvings find best expression in Bikaneri havelies. Havelies are marvels in home architecture. Such havelies or residential houses do not exist anywhere in the world. They are the pride of Bikaner, says great author and philosopher, Aldous Huxley. They are situated in narrow lanes in the old city. Splendid abodes can be seen in the midst of streets that look serpent like and peaceful. They are marvelous mansions made of red stone and stand magnificently.

They stand spreading magic around. Their jharokhas (casements), entrances, latticed windows, divankhanas, Gumaharias or basements, are exotic. The -red stone gives a look that is like a red carpet forcing one to look and admire. The havelies were the residence of wealthy merchants who had a fancy for beauty and art. Nine months in a year they lived in far off lands to earn money and then came to this city to rest and enjoy and build havelies and live in them, show their wealth and status, their love , fascination for architecture and colours. The oldest haveli is perhaps four hundred years old but most of them are hundred years in age or around it. That is why they indicate a pattern of their own. They charm each and everyone who happens to see them. Their exterior is dominated by the jharokhas at once charming and capable of keeping spellbound. The jharokhas are exquisite carvings made alive by artistic creaters. They marvel in the beauty that lies in them and not merely in beholder's eyes. They are generally six feet long and three feet wide proving that small is beautiful.Smaller they are, the more beautiful they are likely to look. They form the most picturesque part of the haveli face. They also indicate the love for nature these creators of havelies had. leaves and flowers decorate every jharokha giving it an astonishing and pleasant natural effect. Jali or stone with small holes create unbounded beauty.


Every haveli has at least a second story. A mol or mahal is the most beautiful and artistic portion of this part and is normally adorned with golden work of carving . Mahal is the symbol of status. lt is rich in carvings. Golden carvings are the ardour of the mahal because it is here that dancing girls used to give performances in mahfils (parties). Some havelis have ceilings which instantly attract the viewer, earn his appreciation, amaze him, delight him. Every haveli consists of a number of rooms, big and small, made for special purposes and suitable for those purposes.

Rampuria Group of Havelies.
Rikhji Bagri ki Haveli
Daga chowk havelies
haveli of Bhairondan Kothari
Sampatlal Agarwal haveli

others-
haveli of Poonam Chand Kothari
.

 

The most famous cluster of havelies is the Rampuria Group of Havelies. Built by Balujee Chalva under instructions from Rampuria family its carvings show surprising skill. Rampuria havelis are many in number and are big in size and being located at nearly adjacent positions make great impression almost like the great havelies of Jaisalmer, the Patwa havelies. Their appears an undeniable similarity between the two havelies perhaps because both of them were mainly conceived and built by Vishwakarma clan. The interior scheme of decoration of the two havelies is very different. The Patwa havelies were built earlier and emphasized on exterior decoration and minute carvings on jaisalmeri stone while the Rampuria havelies were built of dulmera stone. The jaisalmeri stone is yellow in colour. The dulmera stone is red.

Both are soft redstones. Exquisite and minute carvings come naturally to both the stones. The patwa havelies have more carvings in the interior also. The Rampuria havelies are decorated with golden work of the highest quality. They have dankhanas (Drawing Room) which take us to the mughal and rajput period of amalgamation and synthesis. They have Victorian influence in abundance. The wood carvings in Rampuria Havelies are more exquisite and are far more beautiful. Another distinguishing feature is that Rampuria havelies have diverse exterior and each haveli has a pattern of its own. The Patwa havelies have more intricate carvings but the Rampuria havelies show a more varied face.
 

Rikhji Bagri ki Haveli

The most beautiful carvings on the face side are those of  Rikhji Bagri ki Haveli situated near mohta chowk. Bikaner. It is very little known and is small in size. It is a poetry written on stone. Such artistic exterior is unparallel and perhaps does not exist anywhere on earth. The other and much better known havelies including the great patwa havelies fade when the carving of this haveli show off the minutest details in a most delicate manner. Be it a peacock, an elephant, a flower or a pot, every thing is natural. living and just enchanting. The more you look at them the more joy you get out of the view. It is a beauty for ever, eternal and irreplaceable. If dreams are cast in stones or if stones can sing they would be like the exterior of Rikhji bagri ki haveli. Arched entrances and captivating jharokhas look more beautiful because of the flowers embossed on them which are more beautiful than the real flowers

Daga chowk havelies.

Another cluster of havelies which attracts the onlooker is the cluster of Daga chowk havelies. There are a number of havelies in daga chowk. A salient feature of these havelies is the fact that they are scattered like the scattered clouds. They are adorned with carvings of flowers. The rose is there with its freshness. The lotus flowers are there with their charm, Other flowers are there with their leaves. The walls are all flowery and take the viewer in a world of nature and its infinite spelendours. The carvings on jharokhas are simply artistic to say the least. They are exquisite. They look like projected pieces of priceless jewelery. They take the viewer to a cocktail of architectural excellence. Daga family had a fascination for deevankhanas. The deewankhanas or drawing rooms gave prestige to the family. They were decorated with taste and were their show cases. They were a treasury of art and a matter of their pride. They preserved valuable murals also. They exhibited old and contemporary faces of Indian painting. They also demonstrate the increasing English influence.
 

haveli of Bhairondan Kothari

The European influence is more evident in the haveli of Bhairondan Kothari. Its exterior is not so attractive or artistic but once you enter. it you are just enamored with its charm, it excels in marble work. It imparts fascinating beauty to its floors. Marble tiles are studded in the floors of the haveli. Marble magic is evident in every corner. It is the beautiful poem of Kamayani written by soft marble stone. Its marble work is unmatched and can match marble work any where in any part of world. It is this consideration which has forced some to include this haveli as one of the most beautiful houses of India, one of the fifty most beautiful.

 

 


Rampuria haveli


Jharokha
 


Rampuria Haveli

Entrance

A sheer magic cast into stone   

 

Rampuria Haveli

Mol or Mahal Interiors