Houses of Ahmedabad: Deewanji Ni Haveli, the royal courtier's home reborn as a hotel
Located amidst the Sankdi Sheri in Khadia, Ahmedabad, Deewanji Ni Haveli is another example of Gujarat's architectural grandeur. But it is more than just a haveli; it's a masterpiece that represents the glory of the city’s past and its people.
Step in here, and you'll find that this haveli was once the private residence of Deewan Shyamaldas Shankardas Kantharia and his illustrious family, dating back generations. The story goes that Deewan Shyamaldas himself laid the foundation of this splendid structure, leaving an indelible mark on the city's heritage.
Legacy of Deewan Shyamaldas
Legend has it that Deewan Shyamaldas (Deewan means a minister in the royal court), fatally wounded in battle, returned to the haveli in his armor to announce his defeat and took his last breath in the haveli's courtyard. Over the years, the haveli became a haven for his descendants, some of whom ascended to prestigious positions, such as Governors in the Mughal Empire and Deewans of Kutch & Bhuj.
Under the stewardship of Motilal Lalbhai Deewan, the haveli witnessed significant expansion, renewing and extending it to its current grandeur. Additionally, it once graced the life of Ratnamanirao Jote, a prolific literary figure in Ahmedabad renowned for his historical and cultural writings, including "Gujarat nu Patnagar Amdavad."
Stories in Stone and Wood
The architecture of Deewanji Ni Haveli serves as a testament to its historical significance. Elevated six feet above street level, it boasts exquisite wood-carved facades and stands as a prime example of wooden architecture in Ahmedabad. Recognizing its illustrious history and architectural charm, the haveli was bestowed with Grade IIA, the highest heritage building grade, signifying its regional and cultural importance.
Situated within the larger traditional neighborhood of Pols, characteristic of Ahmedabad's old city, the haveli is an integral part of the city's unique historic precinct. Its four floors are adorned with intricate carvings, cultural and religious iconography, and stories from the past.
Over time, the haveli transitioned through different hands and purposes. In the late 1800s, the Deewan family moved away from the old city, eventually selling the property to the Nanavati family in the 1900s. It then became home to various tenants, including a girls' high school.
Today, Deewanji Ni Haveli has been revitalized and repurposed as a cultural and resource center, serving the community by preserving, sustaining, and promoting the architectural and cultural heritage that it embodies. It also serves as a hotel, inviting guests to experience the charm of an age-old city home.