Haveli means a mansion. They were belonged to the ministers of the Kings, rich merchants and Zamindars. They symbolized the power and prestige in the society. In Jaisalmer, Patwas were very rich traders along the old silk route. They built the Patwon Ki Haveli which took over 50 years to complete and became one of the largest Havelis in Rajasthan. This house of the richest merchant in the land was started by Guman Chand Patwa, a wealthy banker in 1805. For his five sons, a cluster of five havelis in one was designed, which he and his five sons built over a period of 55 years. It is one of the largest and oldest havelis in Jaisalmer.
We came to a narrow lane from where Patwon Ki Haveli rises tall. Today, this grand mansion is under Archaeological Survey of India and one can visit the Haveli for a nominal entry fees. We were awestruck by the grandeur of this exquisite Haveli which was built with facades carved from yellow sandstone.
We entered in this five-storeyed complex a part of which has now been converted into a museum exhibiting the 19th century life of these wealthy merchants. It is richly beautified with wonderful Belgium mirror work and exquisite wall paintings.
Built in yellow sandstone, Patwon Ki Haveli, has exclusive intricate carving in the Jharokhas (balconies), windows, corridors and archways.
The museum displays rich artifacts which give an idea of erstwhile lifestyle.
We moved from one room to another, one complex to other and then reached the terrace from where we get the best views of the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer. This magnificent Haveli is a delight to see and takes an hour or so to explore depending upon how much time one spent for looking around.