Harkunvar Sethani Ni Haveli in Ahmedabad: Where heritage meets the legacy of THIS visionary woman

Harkunvar Sethani Ni Haveli in Ahmedabad: Where heritage meets the legacy of THIS visionary woman

A woman's legacy, a city's heritage!

Harkunvar Sethani Ni Haveli, also known as Harkuvar Shethani Mansion is one of Ahmedabad's largest and grandest havelis. Its sheer size and opulence make it a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The haveli is said to boast an impressive 60 rooms and is distinguished by the presence of the rather long wooden carved brackets adorning its balcony. But what truly sets this mansion apart is its architectural splendor and the story of the remarkable woman behind it.

Architectural Marvel

Harkunvar Sethani Ni Haveli is a sight to behold. Rising three stories high, it commands attention with its imposing presence, owing to its double-height ceilings. The haveli's architecture is a beautiful fusion of styles, with ionic columns below and an abundance of Gujarati-style woodcarvings that adorn its facade.

The woodcarvings are nothing short of breathtaking, drawing the eye with their intricate patterns and detailing. Iron and wood decorative work on the upper storeys adds to the haveli's visual splendor. However, the true highlight of the Haveli is its "jarokhas" – elaborately carved bay balconies supported by some of the most substantial wooden brackets found in the walled city.

The woman behind the legacy

A portrait of Shethani Harkunwar Bai Hutheesing
A portrait of Shethani Harkunwar Bai Hutheesing

Harkunvar Sethani, a woman of extraordinary vision and determination, is the driving force behind this magnificent haveli. Recognized for her outstanding contributions to society, she earned the prestigious title of "Nek Sakhavati Bahadur" from the British Government. Her legacy extends far beyond the haveli's magnificent walls.

After the untimely demise of her husband, Harkunvar Sethani took it upon herself to complete the Hutheesing Jain Temple. But her contributions didn't stop there. She was a fervent advocate for women's education and empowerment at a time when such initiatives were pioneering.

In 1855, she founded a girls' school in Ahmedabad, a visionary move that laid the foundation for the Harkunvarba and Jyotiba Kanyashala. Additionally, Harkunvar Sethani established a teacher's training college, ensuring a pipeline of skilled educators.

Her benevolence extended to welfare schemes for widows and marginalized women, making a profound impact on the lives of many. Her haveli was not just her residence but also a center for social reform and empowerment.

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