Haveli of Bakhshi Ram Singh at Kontrilla.
Haveli of Bakhshi Ram Singh at Kontrilla. © Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro

The distinctive features of Potohar's havelis have always attracted me.

These havelis belonged to Muslim, Hindu and Sikh notables. The word 'haveli' is of Persian origin, meaning a great mansion associated with wealth, status and size. In architectural terms, the haveli was merely a very grand version of the modern urban house. A small list of the havelis in the small and big towns of Potohar include the Khem Singh Bedi haveli in Kallar Syedan, Atam Singh Gujral and Jeevan Singh havelis in Daultana town, Sikh and Hindu havelis in Narali, a haveli of Bakhshi Ram in Kontrilla, a haveli of Ratan Singh in Sagri, and several others in Gulyana and Dora Badhal villages.


I often wonder why the government of Punjab is not making serious efforts to promote tourism in the Potohar region; the only known tourist destination in Potohar is Katas Raj.

Like in Rajasthan, where the havelis have been turned into hotels to promote heritage tourism, the Punjab government too should follow the same model and declare all the havelis here as heritage sites. Not only will that promote heritage tourism, it will also create more job opportunities for the wonderful locals of Potohar.