Inside the 120-room haveli
As a local story goes, there was a time when Lala Chunna malís family was so poor that they mortgaged a lutiya (tumbler) to a channewala in Chandni Chowk in exchange for money. For years, the channewalaís sons would hang up Chunna malís lutiya during Diwali to remind themselves of how poverty can run deep.
History, however, tells a tale of a man, who in 19th century was the richest man in Delhi. He was known for his friendship with the British, properties in Shahjahanabad, business acumen, and charities.
On Nai Sadak, Chandni Chowk, stands the Chunna mal haveli. Anil Pershad, the sixth generation descendant of Chunna mal lives here now. Most of the haveli has been divided among the family and locked up.
From the rooftop, Pershad points to the 120-room haveli, spread across half an acre. The cavernous drawing room with high ceilings, large gilt mirrors and chandeliers gives one a glimpse of what evening soirees at Chunna malís would have looked like in the 19th century.
ďI never thought Iíd end up living here. Now, I canít live anywhere else,Ē Pershad says.
Originally from Lahore, Chunna malís forefathers migrated to Delhi in the 16th century and built a successful business in textiles, tending to toshakhanas (treasury) of the Mughals.
It was in the period after the 1857 revolt, that Chunna mal came into
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