A visit to the delightful Shikwa Haveli

shikwa haveli
Beautifully decorated Shikwa Haveli

Our friend Shobha Chaddha from Red Coral Travel Experiences  recently invited Enriching Journeys to the 3rd Edition of the wonderful  Jashn-e-Doab – a celebration  of Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb, a fusion of Hindu and Muslim culture in the Yamuna Plains region of North India. Just 65 kms/approx 2 hours from my residence Dwarka in Delhi, we headed to a village called Katha to the beautifully restored  Shikwa Haveli. What an oasis so close to the city a true rural delight!

En route of course  had to stop for some breakfast at a local dhaba, serving up delicious paratha and dahi breakfast, always one of my favorite  things to do while driving on these country roads!

Breakfast stop at a village dhaba

Now to Shikwa Haveli: In the mid 90s, Shariq Bin Raza and Alka Raza initiated the gigantic task of consolidation, extensive restoration, reconstruction, renovation and refurbishing of the remnants and ruins of an ancient 700 year old haveli which now is known as “Shikwa – Mehrabon Wali Haveli”. The 15 year long painstaking and meticulous process of restoration was completed in 2009, has brought this traditional haveli back to its former glory.

Today, commanding a majestic view of the Yamuna, the fields and the vast plains as far as the eyes can see, the Mehrabon Wali Haveli is adorned with Chajjas, Chhatris, pillars and columns, stone jalis, jharokas, fountains, exquisite doors and hundreds of Mehrabs.

Bedroom at Shikwa Haveli
Beautifully renovated Bedroom at Shikwa Haveli

The Haveli’s six guest rooms with modern attached bathrooms, four lounges, a hall and three rooms for special occasions have been tastefully, elegantly and artistically furnished, preserving the great heritage and ambiance of the era gone by with the comforts of now.

Traditional architecture at Shikwa Haveli
Shikwa Haveli
700 Year Old Shikwa Haveli

The event that was being held is now in its third year and had some fascinating elements. A discussion on Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb was held by an esteemed panel, an excellent biryani lunch was served and we were introduced to a lovely the desert called Zarda!

Delicious food served at Shikwa Haveli

Another great discussion followed in the afternoon, A Presentation on Fashion and Attire – A Reflection of Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb and Syncretic Culture in the National and Global Context! It was fascinating to listen to the discussing entitled: The Voices of Youth – Views, Perspectives and Poetic Expressions on Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb. The Kathak: The Journey”  A Discussion and Performance by Kartika Singh and Mrinalini disciples of Padma Shri Guru Shovana, was just mesmerising. The moderators were brilliant in keeping the event very contained and intimate.

Kathak Performance
Kathak Performance

This relatively unknown and unvisited region of UP has so much potential with the likes of Shariq and Alka championing the region. Forming part of a natural route from Delhi through to Haridwar and the hills, Shikwa Haveli is an excellent new find for us. Offering a great culinary and rural experiences, the amazing Begum Sumru’s Church is an excellent local attraction.

Local kids

We returned back in the evening with excellent takeaway of experiences. The wonderful hospitality of Shariq and Alka rally shine through.

Thank you to Shobha who markets and promotes this place and many others such very exquisite gems around the country!