Haveli is a Persian word that means 'Enclosed Place' and known as a Mansion or Palatial Residence while Palaces are known as 'Mahal' are widely seen in Old Delhi within the walled city of Shahjahanabad. They form an integral part of the Delhi Architecture and Historical Opulence and usually follow the Islamic styles of Persian and Mughal architecture including Indian styles defined by huge courtyards, sometimes a fountain built at the centre of the Courtyard and in front of the Haveli and spacious rooms built around well protected walls which date back to the Mughal and British era of the 16th and 17th Century AD.
Havelis and Palaces in Delhi also form a major and prime tourist attraction due to its classical and richness of cultural grandeur that symbolises the very traditions the city was built upon and unfortunately has somehow lost its touch and essence in today's modern and western influenced city.
Numerous Havelis and Palaces were destroyed during the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny or War for Independence of India from the British Rule but some have managed to withstand these plunders and still survive to maintain its classical architecture that makes it unique and inviting to visit. Most of these mansions that were residences of the rich and famous people in the city are seen neglected or sold by their owners who have moved out of this Old City of Delhi, to private firms that either demolishes them or use them for earning profits through tourism. Some Havelis were converted into Dharamshalas and some became wholesale shops.
Tourists can also enjoy a shopping spree after a visit to these Havelis and Palaces near venues like Chandni Chowk, Daryaganj, Chatta Chowk, Chor Bazaar and Nayi Sadak in Old Delhi. After shopping, you can also savour delicacies of a few food stalls that are located on the ground floor of these Havelis or beside the Palaces that date back hundreds of years ago.
To name a few Mansions is the 'Khazanchi Haveli' where Emperor ShahJahan's accountants called 'Khazanchis' had once used it to maintain money and account books of the Mughal Treasury. The street here was also named after them as 'Gali Khazanchi'. A long underground tunnel connects this Haveli and the Palace in Red Fort through which money was safely transferred into the Royal Treasury. The Naughara Havelis or Jain Mansions built during 18th Century AD and located in Kinari Bazaar of Old Delhi are known to be one of the well maintained Havelis within the old city of Shahjahanabad.
Details of Havelis and Palaces that were either demolished or have tolerated the ravages of time and survived cruel battles are listed below.