Amidst the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, as you walk down the lane of Gali Qasim Jaan near the corner of Ballimaran, you can feel the essence of the real Old Delhi which is starkly different from the present day New Delhi. People still speak in that somewhat modified dialect of Urdu & the same tehzeeb (manners) can be observed here. This sets up the perfect mood & approach to visit the Haveli (Palace) of Mirza Ghalib.
Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan was a famous Urdu & Persian poet who used ‘Ghalib’ & ‘Asad’ as his pen names. Though he is renowned for his literary works such as poems & couplets, he is mostly known for the various ghazals (poetry) he wrote, which have been sung by different people in many different ways. He is regarded as one of the most influential poets of the British-occupied India. His married life is believed to have been tragic as none of his seven children lived beyond infancy. His sadness & grief are apparent in many of the couplets written by him.
Mirza Ghalib lived in this haveli & spent the last stage of his life here, during the years of 1865 - 1869. He used to earn a modest amount of income & was once also imprisoned for gambling - an experience which he relished with great pride. In the Mughal courts, he was often labelled as the 'Ladies Man' & he took absolutely no offence at such remarks. It’s believed that he was rather proud of his image as a rake. He breathed his last in Delhi at this address in the year of 1869. The place used to house shops inside it until the year of 1999 but then the government acquired a portion of it & left no stone unturned in renovating it & bringing back its old world Mughal magnificence & splendour. It was given a special touch with the use of Mughal Lakhori bricks, sandstone & a wooden entrance gate to acquire the patina of the late 19th century.
The palace still preserves some of the belongings of Ghalib & also houses a typical replica statue of him with a hookah in hand. His handwritten ghazals, selected works from his books, his couplets along with some personal things & a last photograph of him have all been preserved here. The place retains the charm & the beauty of the old world era and tries its best to keep the tourists & the visitors in a transfixed state of awe.
If one wants to witness the richness of Indian history, the haveli of Mirza Ghalib is the perfect place to visit. It’s apparently a little difficult to take a car or a taxi in the narrow lanes of Ballimaran, hence taking a rickshaw or the Metro is the most convenient option. The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk, which lies on the Yellow Line & one can walk from there. It’s open all days of the week.
Go witness this legendary testament to history itself - the maestro's haveli awaits you!