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Patwon ki Haveli

One of the remarkable things about Jaisalmer is the havelis, or mansions, built by its wealthy merchants and nobles in the 19th century. They are famed for their exquisitely carved sandstone facades—a feat of stone-carving not matched anywhere else in India. The largest and most elaborate of these havelis is Patwon ki Haveli (Mansion of the Brocade Merchants), built in 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa, a merchant and banker, who is said to have had three hundred trading centers between Afghanistan and China. Built for his five sons, this ornate five-storied complex took fifty years to complete. It stands in the privacy of a little cul-de-sac, behind a lofty arched gateway. Its entire frontage is beautifully carved, with its 60 latticed balconies looking as if they have been carved from sandlewood rather than from stone. Inside are the remnants of some fine old murals.

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