By Raiq Qureshi
LAHORE, Nov 24 (APP):Mubarak Haveli, located inside Bhatti Gate, near Bazaar Hakeemaan Lohare, used to be the finest and oldest single family abode of Qazalbash family in central Punjab.
The Haveli was built around 1863 by Nawab Ali Raza who was herbal doctor (hakeem) by profession. He also contributed immensely to business and cultural values of history.
Walking through narrow alleyways, a large, wooden and green front gate of Mubarak Haveli approaches, from where; a tapered corridor with whitewashed brick walls leads to the inner courtyard. The floor of the courtyard is covered with rectangular stone tiles.
On the other side, the courtyard opens into a heavily incensed living area. The walls are painted brick red. The top floor had wooden arches while the ground floor had vaulted wooden windows.
Green ivies and bushy shrubs dangled on the red wall. This part leads to a huge open area with white marble walls and lofty arches, with a small square clean water pond having lampposts around it.
It has black alams lining the wall on one side, and a four feet silver ta’zia with intricate engravings.
The construction of the Haveli was followed by the will of three brothers: Nadar Ali, Bahar Ali and Bahadur Ali. It was named after the son of Bahadur. The family remained as a single unit till the time of Nawab Sahib, however, later on it was divided into two units: Fakir Family and Syed Family.
The ‘Fakir Family’ being nearest to Darbar of Mughal also remained in power but the other half of the family has faced crucial times. Moreover, the history of the Haveli is also sometimes linked with Koh-e-Noor.
The architectural design of haveli also resembles to the art and culture of Mughals as Lahore is one of those sub-continental cities which had most of the Mughals in it.
The wide and long courtyards wooden doors and pillars make manifestation of the glory of past. The kankar lime stone works reflects the dedication and versatility of Mughals and Sikhs affection for art and traditional culture.
Shah Shuja Durrani of Afghanistan had to flee his home and came to Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s court for help in 1813. The Maharajah kept the deposed king in this Haveli under house arrest and forcefully took the Kohinoor diamond and other crown jewels from Durrani. The Afghan king had to escape in disguise with his family to save his life.
After British overthrew the Mughals, the Haveli was returned rightfully to the Qazalbash family in 1927 and still its look-over by his grandsons. A major portion of the Haveli was restored from the west side which was damaged earlier when the haveli was left empty for a decade.
Talking to APP, a shop owner, Khurram at Bhatti Gate said that all these sites represent 1000 years history of Lahore. He said the Haveli also represent the amalgamation of different traditions which lie within the walls of Lahore.
Pakistan is lucky enough that it had a privilege of having seen the glorious past, he added.
The renovation was done by the owners and the British rulers as a sign of positive approach towards the interfaith harmony. After the renovation, one portion of the Haveli was licensed as Imam Bargah and the rest of it remained residential area.
A native of the area, Khalil Sheerazi said that two of the religious processions are yearly held here which culminate at Karbala Gamah Shah.
Mubarak Haveli was not only an architectural building but was also serving thousands of religious pilgrims for about a century.