Haveli Naunihal Singh — a gem in the heart of Lahore

Haveli Naunihal Singh — a gem in the heart of Lahore
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The walled city of Lahore is famous for it’s cultural heritage as you can find some astonishing havelis, mosques, Hindu temples and buildings that were built centuries ago in the Mughal era. When you will enter from the Mori Gate of the Walled City you will come across a girl school i.e. Victoria Girls High School. It was actually a haveli built by Maharaja Naunihal Singh in 19th century during the Sikh rule. Naunihal Singh was the son of Maharaja Kharak Singh (Elder son and heir of Maharaja Ranjit Singh) and Maharani Chand Kaur. This haveli is situated near Bhatti Gate and Lohari Gate. When it comes to Sikh history; Lahore has lot to offer religiously as well as politically.

Also read: Haveli Dhayan Singh – deserted and in ruins.

 

Haveli Naunihal Singh is one of the very few remaining royal residences from the Sikh period in Lahore. It has got 40 rooms and most of the original ornamentation are preserved on the two main elevations and the interior courtyard facades. It has got a basement and four storeys above the ground level. The two storeys on the fourth floor encompasses the whole area. The third storey is partly deteriorated and the fourth stands in the north-western corner and it is known as Rang Mahal or Sheesh Mahal.

 

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When you will enter into the Mahal you will see a balcony with a stunning sculpted brickwork. At this place Maharaja was used to sit and address the people who gathered downstairs. Sikh rule here had it’s fair share of tragedies. Once Maharaja Ranjit Singh was dead, Kharak Singh become king but he was not able to fulfill his duties and as a result Naunihal Singh took control of the state. When Kharak Singh died and Naunihal Singh was returning back from his father’s cremation, stones fell from above injuring him and killing on of his friends. Naunihal was rushed into the fort by Vizier Dhian Singh. No one was allowed to enter into the fort including his mother. Eyewitnesses said that Naunihal Singh received minor blows on his head which knocked him unconscious. After some time when his mother and friends were allowed to enter into the fort, Naunihal Singh was dead. It is still unclear whether building collapse was accidental or deliberate one.

 

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When Naunihal Singh died, a succession crisis occurred and the story took a dramatic twist as Sher Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh took control of everything. He was a very clever warrior and was known as Sher-e-Punjab. There are some famous places in Lahore which are named after Sher Singh like Shera Kot.

Rani Chand Kaur retired to the haveli of her son after Sher Singh took the power. But British came and took over Punjab in 1849 and the haveli went under British Raj possession. They turned the haveli into a girl’s school i.e. Victoria Higher Secondary School which is still present.

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