The beautiful sandstone mansions of Jaisalmer's wealthy merchants are known as 'havelis'. Their elaborate homes are a poem etched out in sandstone with infinite details and pains, carved and pieced together in different patterns, and though they are lavish and loud in nature, there is a perfect harmony that characterizes them and they are a treat for the eyes of the beholder.
Nathmal ki Haveli of the
late 19th century was also a prime minister's house and two brothers
carved its left and right wings, which are similar in their looks. Its
highlights are yellow sandstone elephants that stand majestically at its
entrance and the intricately carved front door. It seems that the
jewelers instead of the stone-carvers did the so-minute carvings of the
ki Haveli is the most convoluted and outstanding of all the
Jaisalmer havelis. It stands in a narrow lane in the centre of the city
and one of its apartments is painted with stunning murals. Built by the
well-renowned dealers in brocade, gold and silver embroidery of their
time from Afghanistan to China, Guman Chand Patwa and his five sons,
there are five suites in the building dating between 1800 and 1860 and
was so designed as to showcase their beauty of work in the stone carving
of their mansion.
Salim Singh ki Haveli
was built about 300 years ago and a part of this is still being used as
residence. It was owned by Salim Singh, a former prime minister of the
state of Jaisalmer and has an arched roof with superb carved brackets
inn the form of peacocks. It is worth a lengthy look and admiration of
the tourists who revel to see this pride of Jaisalmer architecture,
which is now a part of the national heritage. Situated at the eastern
end of the city, it seems to have sprung out of Arabian Nights, with its
top blossoming like a wild flower.