Why Haveli Dharampura In Chandni Chowk Is A Perfect Spot For A Staycation

It’s easy to get lost in the maze that is Chandni Chowk. It is, no doubt, vibrant and bursting with life; but its crumbling buildings tell a different story—one of neglect, of past glory now reduced to dust, where memories are mere cobwebs languishing in dark rooms. But then, every once in a while, someone comes along and opens a window, or in the case of this particular haveli, breathes new life into it. The over 150-year-old Haveli Dharampura stands tall today as a shining example of the endless possibilities that restoration throws open. Led by Rajya Sabha MP and President of Heritage India Foundation Vijay Goel, the painstaking restoration of the dilapidated haveli took more than six years. And the results are nothing short of spectacular.

Now a heritage hotel in partnership with WelcomHeritage, the haveli is a seamless blend of Mughal, Jain and European design influences. While the building is modernized, it retains much of its character, and sincere attempts have been made to leave some parts of the building untouched—like the exposed brickwork that forms an arch or the forgotten safe in the basement (that was accidentally discovered when restoration work was underway). The haveli is tucked away in Gali Guliyan, an alley that’s wide enough for just two people, and the only way to reach it is on foot. The refreshing shikanji that I’m welcomed within the breezy courtyard of Haveli Dharampura, however, helps take my mind off things. Dinner follows—and so does a freak hailstorm— and it’s a beautiful balance of Mughlai cuisine and Indian chaat: a fixed meal at Lakhori (the inhouse restaurant) that serves delicately prepared food just the way it should be, sans any twist, save for the lovely paneer cannelloni. I wrap it all up with a delicious paan ice-cream and move to the terrace to soak in the views of the Jama Masjid, Red Fort and the whole of Delhi-6. There’s another restaurant on the rooftop that is expected to be operational soon.

What was once a 60room Haveli is now a 13-room heritage property, where no two rooms are alike. Everything, right from the rug to the wallpaper to the carefully handpicked pieces of art, lends a regal touch to this three-storeyed haveli. If this is anything to go by, one can only imagine what Old Delhi will look like, if and when the proposed restoration happens.

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