The untold saga of Ahmedabad's Gaekwad Haveli: Whispers from the Maratha rule
Farhad Shaikh

The untold saga of Ahmedabad's Gaekwad Haveli: Whispers from the Maratha rule

Time-travel through the ages with Gaekwad Haveli, a silent witness to the mystique of Maratha rule in Ahmedabad.

Did you know that during the 18th Century, Ahmedabad was under Maratha rule? Well, yes! In 1738, the ruling Gaekwad constructed a haveli as a seat of power, now known as Gaekwad Haveli. Over time, this architectural gem served various purposes—it was used as barracks and an arsenal during British rule, later transforming into a railway depot and police crime branch headquarters.

Today, this historic structure stands proudly in the Walled City of Ahmedabad, serving as a poignant reminder of the city's diverse history. It features the influences of past emperors and rulers who shaped its structure. Despite the changes over time, Gaekwad Haveli endures as a symbol of power, conquests, and resilience.

Let's delve into the evolving facets of this ancient landmark.

The Gaekwadi Saga: Rise and Fall

Farhad Shaikh

Close your eyes and transport yourself to the late 1730s, a time when Damajirao Gaekwad, a conqueror with a vision, seized Baroda State in 1734. Ahmedabad became the next target. Imagine the clash of cultures as Momin Khan, the Mughal viceroy of Gujarat, joined forces, ousting Ratan Singh and paving the way for a Maratha-Mughal rule in the city.

In this turbulent era, Gaekwad Haveli was constructed by Gaekwad to serve as a colossal fortress transforming the Jamalpur gate into a symbol of invincibility.

British Era and Transformation

Fast forward to 1817, the arrival of the British East India Company injected a new spirit into Gaekwad Haveli. From echoing with military orders to becoming an arsenal for the Northern Division of the Army, it adapted to the rhythms of change.

The whistle of the first train in 1863 marked a shift, relegating it to an ordnance depot. By 1969, the Haveli witnessed a rebirth as the headquarters of the Crime Branch, silently witnessing the city's transformation under different rulers.

Restoration: A Resplendent Renaissance

Farhad Shaikh

Now, open your eyes to October 2014, when Gaekwad Haveli underwent a magnificent rebirth. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, with support from the Gujarat Police Housing Corporation, breathed life back into its weathered stones. The main gate, a masterpiece of Dhrangadhra stone and geru paint, regained its former grandeur. The watchtower, now a magnetic police museum, invites you to touch the past.

As you wander through, pause at the tribute to Vasant-Rajab, heroes immortalized for their sacrifice during the 1946 communal riots. This museum, a guardian of history, encapsulates the spirit of Bandhutva (brotherhood) through the ages.

Today, Gaekwad Haveli stands tall, a phoenix risen from the ashes, inviting you to not just observe but to live and breathe the resilient history of Ahmedabad within its captivating walls.

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