The magic of the land of deserts – Rajasthan – is unbeatable. Be it the traditional handlooms, the vernacular crafts, the subtle folklores and art forms or the beautifully ornate architecture, Rajasthan has a lot to offer to the wandering mind. One of the integral architectural typology – the Haveli – owes its origins to Rajasthan, or the land of Kings.
The Haveli, today, is not just a thing of the past. Many renovated Havelis are still in use in the state, owned by the affluent. Some have even been converted into resorts and hotels, while still some serve as attractive tourist spots. Not just this, even your own homes could take a cue from such a Haveli for an aesthetic and unique turnover. You could incorporate bits and pieces of ideas borrowed from such a Haveli into your own house realms to create a wonderful space for yourself. Wonder how? Let us tell you.
In a Haveli-styled home, you need to make sure that you go for buys that are opulent and classy. Not like you need to splurge a lot for this, not like each part has to be richly adorned, but browsing and browsing until you lay your hands on that perfect item is a must.
Be it the magnificence of a richly carved wooden chair or a vast and detailed chandelier – every part of your home needs to have something grand, something catchy. Go for rugs that are warm and sophisticated; use a lot of Brass and Copper in your furniture and furnishings. These factors already provide you amazing environs.
If you try to recapitulate the image of a traditional Haveli in your mind, you shall paint a picture of a building draped in earthy tones, brightened up with the vibrant colours of furnishings and walls, haven’t you?
The key to designing your house like a traditional Haveli is simple – try to emulate the combination of colours, keeping a mix of neutral earth shades, jazzing things up once a while with vibrant colours for a balance.
For a home styled like a traditional Haveli, a courtyard, colloquially referred to as the Angan, is a must. Courtyards function not only to create a multi-purpose adaptive space, but also to allow greater amounts of daylight and better ventilation within the home interiors.
Instead of having our garden in the backyard like the English, or the terrace garden, as we are all used to, focus on developing the space central to your house in the form of a big or small courtyard.
The courtyard needs to stress a little on the landscape. A central fountain, inspired from the later stages of the Haveli when India was under the Mughals, is an option. Another alternative, which takes you far back into the Rajput kingdoms, would be a central tree.
The courtyards served as a transition between the public and private spaces in a traditional Haveli in the past. So it can in your house as well, placed centrally between the entrance and visitor foyers and the more private rooms of the house.
Richly carved and meticulously crafted pillars are an all important feature of the Haveli, especially seen along the courtyard, supporting the balconies above. In keeping with symmetry – which was one of the chief factors of designing these beautiful mansions of the past – the pillars were usually even in number. Go for ornamental pillars, installed either during or after the construction of your house. Don’t worry if it is not a structural requirement – it could serve the purpose of ornamentation only if there is room for it.
These are the elements of a Haveli which require no attention. Havelis and Jaalis are simply synonymous. Referring to the lattice work created with stone, wood or other suitable materials, Jaalis are a great ornamental way to up the light and shadow game and are particularly suitable for living spaces where guests can relax and appreciate the intricacy of the works.
Furniture and furnishing
A Haveli is a treasure trove of some unique and antique pieces of furniture, so you are extremely lucky if you can lay your hands on some. Vintage armchairs and swings, ornately crafted seats, hand-sewn cushion covers, richly carved heavy doors and elaborately crafted wooden pieces are the most amazing ingredients to a Haveli-style house.
The four-poster bed, as you must have caught sight of in movies, is a much needed element. Go for fabrics and upholstery that goes in harmony with the rest of the Haveli-styled interiors and do not shy away from choosing brocades and rich works of ornamental detail.
A Haveli is about all things ornate. Intricate artwork in the form of inlays, murals and frescoes used to be an important part of the grand Haveli back then. Adorn your Haveli-inspired house with beautiful pieces of art, preferably picked from Rajasthan itself. The themes of the art do not show much variation and mostly depict folklore, nature or flamboyant events such as marriage. If you are someone who does not prefer the presence of detailed and elaborately painted furnishing for his home, then you could go instead for decorative wallpapers or select paintings which depict the rural setting.
– Sourav Suman