Historic buildings in Jaisalmer
Opening hours: Patwon ki Haveli: 9:00am-6:00pm, Salim Singh ki Haveli: 8:00am-6:00pm, Nathmal ki Haveli: 8:00am-7:00pm
Address: Patwon ki Haveli: opposite Choora Paada, Salim Singh ki Haveli: Amar Sagar Pol, Nathmal ki Haveli: Sadar Bazar
Ticket price: Patwon ki Haveli: Indian/foreigner ₹50/200, Salim Singh ki Haveli: ₹50, Nathmal ki Haveli: Free
Visit duration: People typically 30 minutes to 1 hour in each haveli
Jaisalmer is home to magnificent traditional and decorated residences and one such enormous building is the Patwon ki Haveli. Also known as the Mansion of Brocade Merchants, this Haveli is a cluster of five Havelis.
These mansions were used as residences for royal family members and as you roam in the extensive courtyard you can witness the opulence that lingers in the nooks and corners of these Havelis.
Patwon ki Haveli was built in 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa. During this time, the Patwas were trying to establish their trade. It is believed that a saint had advised the Patwas to leave Jaisalmer and never return and only then can they flourish. They left and truly they rose to great heights. They returned to Jaisalmer to finance the state deficit. It was then that Guman Chand Patwa built these 5 mansions for his 5 sons. However, their life took a turn and they started to lose all their wealth and they once again left Jaisalmer. The mansions were left in the hands of caretakers.
The caretaker approached Mr. Jeevanlalji Kothari who had bought the first haveli. This is the reason why Patwon ki Haveli has been renamed Kothari's Patwa Haveli.
The largest and the oldest mansion complex in Jaisalmer, Patwon ki Haveli is built with yellow sandstone. The main gateway to the haveli, however, stands out with a brown colour. The first haveli is the most stunning one out of the five with ornate mirrored walls, and painted ceilings. There are several windows and balconies with spectacular views in the complex that make the indoors airy and comfortable during the hot summer months.
The complex is open for visitors from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. For Indian tourists, the ticket fee is ₹50, while for foreigners it is ₹200.
Located at the heart of the city with an impressive front facet that closely resembles a ship's stern, Salim Singh ki Haveli is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jaisalmer. The mansion got its name when its renovation was commissioned by then Prime Minister Salim Singh in the 19th century. Other than that, it is also called Jahaz Mahal, “jahaz” meaning a ship.
Inspired by the shape of a dancing peacock, the architecture of Salim Singh ki Haveli is mesmerising. With a narrower first floor and a top storey that spreads out, the Haveli looks breathtaking from a distance. The top of the building is in the shape of an arch with blue dome-like structures capping it.
It can be said that the construction of the Haveli is one of the most ambitious ventures of that time where instead of cement and mortar, iron rods connected masses of sandstones to build the structure. It is said that the structure’s magnificence incited the envy of neighbouring rulers.
Salim Singh ki Haveli opens its doors at 8:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm. The entry fee to the haveli is ₹50 for all visitors.
Nathmal ki Haveli is an architectural masterpiece at the heart of the city. With richly carved exteriors and a couple of life-sized elephant replicas carved from yellow sandstone, the Nathmal ki Haveli is a wonderful sight to behold.
There are two parts of the haveli, each planned to be built identical to each other but actually built with some difference. This 19th century's work of splendour looks beautiful, especially during sunrise and sunset when the slanting rays of the sun give the already golden exterior an even warmer look.
Constructed in 1885, the Nathmal ki Haveli has been named after then Prime Minister, Mohata Nathmal. It was built by his two brothers who wanted to build a part of the haveli individually. That is the reason why though the two segments of the haveli look similar, they are not identical as was initially planned.
Nathmal ki Haveli showcases excellent craftsmanship in spite of not having identical parts. The style of architecture is a reflection of the Rajasthani and Islamic styles, using the best of both to create this wonder.
The elaborately carved exterior leads to an interior that is decorated with old paintings. The pillars that hold the roof have faded paintings of fans and cars that are suggestive of the arrival of the modern era and the advent of technology.
Entry to the Nathmal ki Haveli is free for all. You can visit the haveli any time from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.
The Jaisalmer Havelis are all located in the heart of the city, just a few hundred meters north of Jaisalmer Fort. All the havelis are close to each other and within walkable distance.
See location on Google Maps
It will take you around 1.5 to 2 hours to visit all the three havelis. However, if you want to explore the history of each place, you need to keep more time in hand.
All three are excellent examples of architecture and history. However, you can spend most time exploring the first mansion in the Patwon ki Haveli complex and Salim Singh ki Haveli.
Since the havelis are connected with narrow lanes where big cars can't enter, you need to walk a fair bit to visit the Jaisalmer Havelis. So, it is advisable for aged people who are not able to walk to not visit the Jaisalmer Havelis.