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the remains of his astounding palace today. Raja Dhiyan Singh became the prime minister of the court and died in 1843.
The balcony for public hearing is still intact in the hall
Pigeons and cats were the only form of life found thereThe existing part of the haveli was the court of Raja Dhiyan Singh while the other portions have been demolished. The balcony for public hearing is still intact in the hall. The small ventilation openings in the floor endorse the presence of a basement. The main door leading to the basement now is covered with cobwebs and the staircase is sealed.
According to the guard he had seen the basement in his childhood. It was huge and used as a private chamber by the Raja. The haveli must have been a masterpiece embellished with ornaments and fresco work as per Sikh architecture. The remains of fresco work are still there in the haveli. It was a two storey building and at present the upper storey is being used as a residential part by the locals.
The construction of the building goes back to the Mughal era. The arches and features of the building reflect a mix of Mughal and Sikh architecture. The lotus flower petals on the pillars of the main hall and the jharoka, or balcony, made for public hearing, resemble the architecture of Lahore Fort and other buildings of that era.
The door leading to the basement now is covered with cobwebs
It was larger than the haveli of Jamadar Khushal SinghAfter the fall of Sikh rule the palace was turned it into a school by the British, in 1854. Ten years later in 1864 it became the house of the Government College and Oriental College Lahore. As per history of Government College, it was to be opened up in 1856, but the tough criteria of foreign qualified teachers delayed it till 1864. After a few years in 1871, the Government College was moved near Anarkali.
After the shifting of the colleges, the premises were used as Dhiyan Singh School which after 1947 was named as City Muslim League High School. Till 2004 the haveli was used as a boys’ school, but following a fire incident, the building was damaged and the school was shifted.
The arches and features of the building reflect a mix of Mughal and Sikh architecture
This is one sad story of our heritage. Not many of us know this place or the fact that Government College starting from this haveli. It should be turned into a tourist site by the concerned department, in order to save it from further deterioration. At present the haveli is under the possession of the Education Department of Punjab and some land has already been shared with the Government of Jammu Kashmir.
Other nations respect their heritage and cherish the old remains. We forget and neglect what we have of our ancestors. I hope to see this Haveli in a better state when I visit it the next time.
The writer is a professional heritage photographer and can be reached at [email protected]