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
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.
Rampuria Group of
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
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
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.
A sheer magic cast into stone