Haveli of Prince Nau Nihal Singh
In 1840, after the death of Kharak Singh, Naunihal Singh became the Maharaja of Punjab. But, a few days later, he too died in a mysterious incident, obviously a conspiracy hatched by the same vested interests.After the death of Naunihal Singh, his mother took his place as regent for her grandson, the rightful successor of the throne but after some time, under pressure, she relinquished the throne to Sher Singh, another son of Mahraja Ranjit Singh. Rani Chand Kaur retired to her son’s Haveli after her withdrawal from the throne.
Ultimately the British took over Punjab in 1849 and this Haveli also went under the possession of the British colonial power. In 1860, a girl’s school began here. The school is still ongoing under the name of “Victoria Higher Secondary School”.
It is an intact structure of over forty rooms with most elements of its original ornamentation preserved on the two main elevations and the interior courtyard facades. Rectangular in plan, the Haveli is a fairly large building. Its entrance is on the west side and the facade has been divided into two clear sections: one housing the entrance gate, which is abundantly decorated and the other is simple but has plenty of fenestration. If there was any decoration on this area, it has been destroyed by the ravages of time.
The building has a basement and four storeys above the ground level. O the four, two storey encompasses the whole area; the third storey is partially crumbled while the fourth stands in the north-western corner and is called “Rang Mahal” – “The Palace of Colors”.
The “Rang Mahal”, like the Mughal “Hawa Mahal” or Palace of Winds, was traditionally built on the top of royal residences where fresh breeze could be enjoyed along with a view of the surroundings. The “Rang Mahal” of Naunihal Singh’s Haveli serves this purpose well. It is a jewel of artistic achievement. The wooden roof is richly decorated, divided into several geometrical compartments. Each is fitted with a small mirror in the center. The northern and western walls have fenestration in the form of windows and ventilators.
There are several other kinds of decorative works such as cut brick work, woodwork including carvings and engravings, painted floral motifs and stucco work. The cut brick work, however, is of the finest kind. It seems that Sikh craftsmen especially excelled in this kind of masonry. The carving of the bricks is so sharp, precise and accurate that bricks seem to be made of wax rather than of baked clay.
Govt. Victoria Girls High School
The building has the status of preserved architecture under the local rules and laws. It serves as a well known educational institution, especially for the female students living in the walled city of Lahore. It provides room for more than 1500 girls between grades 6 to 10. While observing the present condition of this historic architecture and comparing it with many others of same era, one reaches the conclusion that the usage of this building as a school is far better than leaving it idle to ultimately crumble into ruins.
Location: Haveli Nau Nihal is Located between the historic Bhatti and Lohari gates, called Mori Gate.