The Haveli is beautifully decorated with intricate designs of woodwork on the rooftops, sculptures and Hindu goddesses engraved in stone and steel, antique balconies and jharokas that open to the chirpy pigeons and busy roads of Chandni Chowk.
The historic haveli, which was built in 1887 AD, lay abandoned in a deteriorating condition and needed urgent conservation initiatives to reinstate its pristine glory. Once declared a dangerous building by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the building had developed severe dampness because of the rising water level on all the floors. This, along with natural ageing had weakened the ancient woodwork.
The rooms were badly organised and divided into smaller rooms to accommodate, toilet, kitchens etc. The service connections including open pipes, hanging wires etc added to the chaos waiting for calamity to happen any time. It also led to the collapse of the original roof, thus shattering the whole place and creating a bigger task for renovation.
While restoring the haveli, top priority was given to retaining the original character and maintenance of the same. All conservation work followed basic principles such as minimum intervention in the historic fabric and respect for historic pieces of evidence adopted in various international charters for the conservation of heritage sites and monuments. All the new repairs followed traditional methods of indenting, replacing damaged stone with new in the same material with the same carving and refitting undamaged stone in its original location.
The goal behind renovating this haveli was to engage traditional ways of construction with modern knowledge to preserve the architectural heritage. Protection of the potential archaeological deposit in the land was always a top priority. At all times, drawings and photographs of archival quality have been maintained of the physical works carried out during renovation as documentation of precious history. All the old furniture found before renovation has been carefully preserved and a new one designed keeping in mind the elegant style of the period the haveli belongs to. Extra vegetation growing in the haveli was removed with necessary herbicides approved by the conservation architect.
All the workers have worked under secure conditions and all safety measures were adopted at all times with extreme caution. Fire detection measures include smoke alarms, fire sprinklers, etc. have been installed to ensure the complete safety of everyone. Even today, an inspection of the building is carried out by Mr. Vijay Goel and the conservation architect at regular intervals to oversee the maintenance and repair progress.
It took nearly 6 long years, 24/7 working by 50 odd workmen under regular and personal supervision to achieve the result which we can all see today. The Haveli now stands completely restored and reinstate the belief that where there is a will there is a way. There is a renewed hope for the thousands of others Havelis in the lanes and by-lanes of Shahjahanabad.
"On our first visit to the Haveli, we were quite dismayed at the deplorable condition of the building and not sure if it could be restored at all and if so, to what extent, maybe just enough to withstand a few more years. Clearly, there was a big challenge but unfailing will too, to not only restore the original glory of the Haveli but also sustain it for years to come. The Haveli now stands completely restored and reinstate the belief that where there is a will there is a way. There is a renewed hope for the thousands of others Havelis in the lanes and by-lanes of Shahjahanabad." - Vijay Goel & Siddhant Goel - The Restorers
The Haveli, once boasting of grandeur & royalty had been reduced to an ordinary run-down building with spaces unrecognizable and structure falling. The Structure was overloaded with several ad-hoc and inappropriate additions on every floor. The rooms were badly organised and divided into smaller rooms to accommodate, toilet, kitchens etc. The service connections including open pipes, hanging wires etc added to the chaos waiting for calamity to happen any time.
The doors, windows were blocked, the walls had large patches of dampness there were long vertical cracks in the walls. Decorative plaster work was hidden due to multiple coats of lime wash. Stone columns were painted with thick coats of synthetic paints without obliterating the details. The original glass pains were either missing or broken.
The restorers Mr. Vijay Goel & Siddhant Goel were extremely hurt to witness such deteriorated condition of one of the grand Havelis of Dharampura. They were clueless of how and where to start the restoration. There was also no precedence of such restoration work of Havelis in Shahjhanabad or elsewhere in Delhi to fall back upon. It took nearly 6 long years, 24/7 working by 50 odd workmen under regular and personal supervision to achieve the result which we can all see today.