INTACH comes to rescue of Hemus haveli

Haveli of Maharaja Hem Chandra VikramadityaMaharaja Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (1501-1556), popularly known as Hemu, who was the emperor of Delhi, has unfortunately gone into the dark realm of obscurity for obvious reasons.

It was Hemu who commanded a large army that faced the Mogul troops in Panipat on November 5, 1556. In the course of the battle, an arrow hit Hemu’s eye and he fell unconscious.

His army, though outnumbering the Moguls, then took to the heels. Bairam Khan, the commander of the Mogul troops, mercifully dispatched Hemu and that was the end of the Second Battle of Panipat as well as the Afghan empire in India.

All recorded chronicles say that Hemu played a crucial role in the political history of pre-Mogul India, primarily during the reign of Sher Shah Suri and his successors.

He was known and shall always be remembered for his unparalleled bravery, spectacular political foresight and superb administrative acumen.

Dr. K.C. Yadav, a noted historian of Haryana, says, “Hemu deserves a better treatment and a bigger space.” It is all the more agonising that his royal mansion, known as ‘Raola’ or Hemu’s haveli, too, now stands neglected and is in ruins in the Qutubpur colony of Rewari city.

The two-storeyed haveli, which the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has included in its list of 13 t endangered (unprotected) sites of national heritage, was once the royal abode of Hemu’s family from 1535 to 1556.

Although in a dilapidated condition, the historic haveli stands witness to the environment in which this legendary Hindu warrior spent a crucial part of his life.

The haveli is accessed through an elaborately carved entrance gateway in sandstone. There is a central open-to-sky courtyard surrounded by a double layer of rooms. The entire structure was built in local stone, lakhori bricks and lime mortar.

The ownership-cum-possession of the haveli, whose historic fabric suffered extensively owing to persistent onslaughts of abandonment and absence of maintenance, now lies with the family of Sudhir Bhargava, chairman of the Hemu Vikramaditya Foundation (HVF).

A detailed survey of this fast-decaying haveli was recently conducted by a high-level team of the architectural heritage division of INTACH, New Delhi.

Along with an elaborate documentation of the entire haveli, the team has emphasised the urgency of its expeditious restoration with the establishment of a museum-cum-interpretation centre, public library, women’s centre and a café, to ensure maintenance, besides providing much-needed resources to sustain upkeep.

However, Bhargava said it would be better if it was taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ensure its decay-free preservation.

Leave a Reply