Begum Samru's Kothi
Approached from Chandni Chowk between the Kumar Talkies and the State Bank of India is a large, elegant building with huge columns, today popularly known as Bhaghirath Palace. Built in the classical style, this was originally the mansion of Begum Samru. It was a very beautifully decorated building, and used to have marble baths inside.
Namak Haram Ki Haveli: The Traitor's Mansion
If havelis have made their patrons famous, then in some cases the misdeeds of the owners have rendered their havelis ill-famed too. One such example is the Namak Haram Ki Haveli, which was owned by Bhawani Shankar, one of the most trusted companions of Jaswant Rao for many years. Jaswant Rao was a great Maratha warrior. Bhawani Shankar later deserted him and went over to the British side. Though extremely intelligent and able, this one act of desertion made him a traitor and the label stuck to him for the rest of his life. He came to be called as a 'Namak Haram' meaning false to his salt. Hence, the strange name for his haveli.
Haider Quli Ki Haveli: The Mansion Of Haider Quli
A mansion in true terms, the haveli of Haider Quli spread over many square feet near the Fatehpuri Mosque. Haider Quli was the Commander-of-Artillery in the court of the Mughal Emperor, Mohammad Shah Rangila. His haveli has now been replaced by hundreds of houses, though the original gate and the name still remain, just opposite Kucha Ghansi Ram.
Haveli Of Hakeem Ashanullah Khan
The haveli of Hakeem Ashanullah Khan, personal physician of the emperor Bahdur Shah Zafar, was a fortress for those who were able to hide themselves here in the 'ghadar'- the Sepoy Mutiny time. The mansion almost covers 2,000-square-yards and appears to be a 'mohalla' itself. It was because of the orders of the Hakeem that Ghalib was given the scholarship to write the history of the Mughal dynasty. Immediately after the Mutiny, British confiscated the house of the Hakeem. It was soon returned too, but not before it was stripped of the old chandeliers and lamps.
Haveli Of Zeenat Mahal
The haveli of Zeenat Mahal, wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar is a mansion in disarray, occupied by a grinder factory for spices, Zeenat Mahal girls' school, a milk shop, a nursery for children and some houses. According to some of the residents, it used to be a massive mansion spread over almost four acres. There was a big marble fountain and some 'hujras' where the school is present today. There were also two tunnels running to Lal Qila and Ajmeri Gate's 'Madrasa Ghazi-ud-din' Khan but no body knows their significance. Whenever Zeenat Mahal used to come, a 'naqqar' (trumpeter) used to announce her arrival but today the haveli has mundane shops.
Ghalib's Hakimon Ki Haveli
Ghalib's Hakimon ki Haveli at Gali Qasimjan in Ballimaran is in shambles and his rooms where he wrote his Urdu and Persian 'diwans', are damp and dilapidated. Ghalib lived here almost all his life after he came from Agra. Despite getting paid from the king, he lived like a pauper.