The Patwa Havelis of Jaisalmer also known as Patwon Ji Ki Havelis are a cluster of five Havelis in Patwa Complex in the city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Dating back to the Eighteenth century, the Havelis are famous for their unique architecture and lavish lifestyle of the Patwas.
The city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India is no stranger to tourist attention. Alongside its other ‘touristy sisters’ in the state, Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur – Jaisalmer is famous for its own set of attractions – the Jaisalmer Fort, Gadhisar Lake, Kuldhara Village and Sam Sand Dunes. During my first trip to Jaisalmer this winter, I discovered the city has one more hidden gem – The Patwa Havelis.
The Patwa Havelis of Jaisalmer, also known as Patwon Ji Ki Haveli have an interesting history. Dating back to the Eighteenth century, Patwon Ji Ki Haveli is not one single Haveli but a cluster of five Havelis commissioned and constructed in the year 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa, a rich Jain trader and renowned man of his time. It is said that Guman Chand Patwa ordered separate stories for each of his 5 sons and hence the 5 separate Havelis.
Also known as the ‘Mansion of Brocade Merchants’, the Patwon Ji Ki Havelis got their name from the family as it dealt in threads of gold and silver used in embroidered dresses. As the folklore goes, the Patwas were advised by a Jain temple priest that they would not be successful in their trade if they continued to run it from the city of Jaisalmer. True enough and despite repeated attempts the rich and powerful Patwas did not see much success whenever they tried to run their trade from the city. Finally, the Patwas left the city leaving behind the stunning Havelis in the hands of their caretaker.
The five Havelis stand in their splendour even today, albeit with minor encroachments and abuses. Looked after by the state Government, the Havelis are open to tourists and can be visited between 10 am to 5pm. The largest Haveli is run by the Government and houses the offices of Archaeological Survey of India and State Art & Crafts departments. The second Haveli has been turned into a Museum and charges a fee of Rs 100/- per person. The other three Havelis house shops & mini-emporiums and are frequently visited by international visitors.
Curious about the lifestyle of the Patwas, I decided to take a tour of the Haveli which has now been turned into a Museum. Built over three stories, this Haveli was nothing short of awe-inspiring glass work and architecture carved out of the famous yellow sandstone, a speciality of the state of Rajasthan. The entry to the Haveli itself is grand – intricate multi-coloured glasswork sets the perfect contrast to the yellow sandstone architecture, an indicator of the luxurious style of the Patwa family.
Stunning multi-coloured glasswork in the first room of the house which also houses the Temple
In addition to restoring the rooms, the Government has also preserved items used by the Patwas in their trade which are a must-see simply because of the quality of restoration and how good they still look.
How to reach Patwa Havelis:
The city of Jaisalmer does not have an airport. Best option to reach Jaisalmer is to take an express train from Delhi. There are many trains that connect Delhi and Jaisalmer but the ideal train to take is the Delhi-Jaisalmer Express which leaves from Old Delhi Railway station (DLI code) at 5pm and reaches Jaisalmer at 11.30 a.m. next day. Tickets can be booked via agents or Indian Railways website easily (www.irctc.co.in). The Jaisalmer station is a small station and there are autos and cabs easily available outside the station. The train journey takes approximately 18 hours and AC reservation (2AC or 3AC) is strongly recommended.
The Patwa Havelis are located in walking distance of the Jaisalmer Fort. After (or before visiting the Fort), you can ask a local person to guide you to the Patwa Havelis and walk approximately 10-15 minutes to reach the Haveli. You can also hire a local guide who will charge Rs 250 to take you through the Jaisalmer Fort and the Patwa Haveli.
Entry charges: Rs 100/- per person
Weather: Jaisalmer becomes very hot in the middle of the year and a sunscreen plus sun cap is strongly recommended as you walk through the city.
Refreshments: Water, tea and coffee are available easily as you walk through the market and not a concern.
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Don’t want to splurge? – These pocket friendly treks are perfect to satisfy your wanderlust on a budget
The notion of traveling is expensive or a good holiday costs a lot is firmly ingrained in our minds – so much so that we often cancel our travel plans or wait for a time when we can save money to travel. To rescue are a couple of trekking & camping sites that offer great 2-3 day trips on a budget which will not only satisfy your wanderlust but also make your wallet love you some more. Here are couple of suggestions to get your wanderlust kick-started:
International Youth Club
Founded by an ex-advertising professional, Laviral Kalra decided to quit his corporate career in Delhi to start International Youth Club, a membership based wanderlust site that offers short and long trips in Northern India. Some of the short – budget trips by International Youth Club include:
Every day trek to Triund (ex-McLeodganj, Dharmshala) – 1 night/ 2 Days for Rs 1,500/- (Rs 1800/- for non-members). Trip is ex-McLeodganj and includes two meals, stay on twin basis in tents & guide. Triund is situated at 9432 feet, is an easy 4 – 5 hours 9 Kms of trek and the summit offers stunning 180 degree views of the mighty Dhauladhar Himalayas , Pir Panjal range, Indrahar Pass, Lahesh Caves and the entire Kangra Valley.
Every day Kheerganga trek (ex- Kasol) – 1 Night/ 2 Days for Rs 1,999/- (Rs 2,499 for non-members). Trip is ex-Kasol and is inclusive of meals and stay. The short but popular trek to Kheerganga through the waterfalls and bridges by the tremendous river flow of Parvati will make you see the panoramic skies, vast greenery & dense forest.
Indrahar Pass Snowline trek (McLeodganj – Triund – Dharamshala) for Rs 5,999/- (Rs 7,999 for non-members). Trek is ex- McLeodganj and includes all meals, tea, snacks and stay on twin sharing basis. The trek is a beautiful walk through mixed forests of the deodar, oak and rhododendron. Triund is situated on a ridge with a beautiful view of whole Kangra valley on one side and Dhauladhar mountain range on the other side.
International Youth Club website: www.internationalyouthclub.org
Contact number: +91-8010224422 / email@example.com
International Youth Club also organises transhimalyan Jeep Safari and Sustainability rides across Ladakh for longer duration trips and details are available on their website.
Located within The Great Himalayan National Park, Woodrose Forest Camp offers guests great location, including the best bird and wildlife viewing in the forest area. The camp also organises quick treks on a budget for avid trekkers:
Jalori Pass Sarloyskar Lake Trek – 1 night and 2 days package for Rs 2250/-. Trip is ex- Delhi and includes stay on shared tent basis and meals. Located at a distance of approximately 75 km from the Kullu district, the famous Jalori Pass is seen as a gateway to the attractive Tirthan valley. Another attraction of the Jalori Pass is the Saryolsar Lake. From this lake tourist can witness an amazing view of the inner as well as outer Seraj.
Kasol & Kheerganga – Pin Parvati Trek – 2 nights and 3 days trip for Rs 3,999/-. Trip is ex- Delhi and includes stay and meals. A very popular trek, the hot springs at Kheer Ganga are extremely important for Hindu and Sikh pilgrims as well as many others who believe the waters have sacred healing properties. From Kheer Ganga to the site of Tunda Bhuj village (3285m), the Parvati Valley cuts a steep-sided gorge through the mountains and as the altitude increases, the thick, coniferous forest gradually makes way for patches of meadowland scattered with boulders.
Kullu Rafting and Bijli Mahadev Trek – 1 night and 2 days package for Rs 2999/-. Trip is ex-Delhi (perfect for weekend) and includes night stay on shared basis, meals and Kullu to Kullu transfer, which means Delhi to Kullu could be your expense (please check website for details). The highlight of the trip is river-rafting with intermediate level trek.
Contact details: + 91 8988493818 / 011-47354739
Triphippe is a unique platform connecting global adventure seeker with remote local organisers. The company organises international and domestic trips including quick weekend trips:
Kasol Camping and Backpacking Trip – 1 night and 2 day trip for Rs 1,750/-. Trip is ex-Kasol and includes stay in tents on twin/triple sharing basis and two meals (breakfast and dinner). Kasol is a heaven for backpackers with its pristine, unadulterated natural Himalayan beauty. Itinerary also includes backpacking to Manikaran and leisurely stroll through the Kasol market which is a major tourist attraction.
Malana Chanderkhani Pass Trek – 3 nights and 4 days trip for Rs 5,500/-. Trip is ex-Kasol and includes guide, stay in tents on sharing basis and all meals. Trip is of ‘challenging grade’ and recommended from April to November months. Chanderkhani Pass is one of the most beautiful and serene pass, at an altitude of 3660 m located in the Kullu valley. Chanderkhani Pass offers fabulous views of the Deo Tibba peak, Pir Panjal and Parbati range of mountains. The trek begins from Kasol, located about 21 km from the town of Manali. The popular trek route of Chandrakhani Pass involves a route from Kasol to Chanderkhani Pass and back to Manali via Malana
Malana Trek & Camping from Kasol – 1 night and 2 day trip for Rs 1900/- Trip is ex-Kasol and includes homestay at Malana, two meals in a day and transportation from Kasol to Malana and back. Kasol is famous for its hippie culture and presence of Israeli population. It is the most attractive place in Manali to the traveler who loves to explore hidden jewels of Himalaya. Malana is a quint and heavenly beautiful village near kasol which is a perfect weekend trek destination.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org/ +91 9819891996
Blogger note: I travelled to Ladakh with International Youth Club this year and can add confidently that being a part of such trips is quite fun, you get to meet new people and see some great landscapes, so time to leave the ifs and buts behind this year and kick-start 2017 on a happy traveling note with quick-budget trips! PS: I will also do a sequel to this post so please keep visiting the blog! Cheers