Trip Start Nov 14, 2007
92Trip End Apr 20, 2009
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It is a very impressive building which his over 400 years old. It is a three storey building punctuated by a central courtyard (Chowk) which is used as living area and also functions as a light well and vent. The roof top is a flat mosaic deck, perfect for city watching in the late afternoon and evening.
Some of the rooms have Italian designed plaster ceilings and ornaments. There are also European influences in the facades. Ahmedabad was once an important city for European trade. The Italian influence seems to have come here from Dutch traders. This might sound incongruent, but the Dutch in the 16th century were well aligned with several Italian states at this time and many artistic ideas where exchanged
Other highlights of the Haveli are the swing chairs which are a great antidote to the heat, the 18000 litre well (tanka) in the chowk itself and the robust green marble floors. It is a very relaxing place, with excellent thermal qualities despite the consistent 44C celsius temperatures outside.
But the most exciting aspect is the experience of observing the family in the house and being part of their routine. Each day the members of the family, normally one at a time, sit in the storeroom and face a small hindu shrine for their puja (offering), burning incense, singing and chanting. For meals, we sit with the family on the floor of the kitchen and eat Gujarati food from aluminium dishes with our hands.
Few things are done standing up; Always sitting; Always at ease. And this is how you see and experience the house: as a place of ease, somewhat betraying the conditions outside, but a welcome experience nonetheless.