The beautiful mansions built by Jaisalmer's wealthy
merchants are known as 'havelis' and several of these fine sandstone
buildings are still in beautiful condition. Patwon ki Haveli is the most
elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer
havelis. It stands in a narrow lane and one of its apartments is
painted with beautiful murals - unfortunately, at present, the building is
closed up and not lived in. Salim Singh ki Haveli was built about 300
years ago and is still partially lived in.
Salim Singh was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of a princely state and his mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets inn the form of peacocks. The mansion is just below the hill and, it is said, once had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the Maharaja's Palace. The Maharaja had the upper storeys turned down!
The late 19th century Nathmal ki Haveli was also a prime minister's house. The left and right wings of the building were carved by brothers and are very similar but not identical. Yellow sandstone elephants guard the building and the front door alone is a work of art.