kathika haveli museum  x
Photo: indiatoday

Kathika, a new museum and cultural hub occupying two restored havelis in Old Delhi, is a great example of adaptive reuse of heritage buildings

Photographs by Sundeep Bali, courtesy Kathika

Photographs by Sundeep Bali, courtesy Kathika

Aditya Mani Jha

ISSUE DATE: Sep 11, 2023 | UPDATED: Sep 1, 2023 16:36 IST

Nestled within Old Delhi’s Sitaram Bazaar, a hop, skip and jump away from Gali Khatikan’s serene-looking Hanuman Mandir, lies the Kathika Cultural Centre, a new non-profit ‘haveli-museum’ that seeks to become the city’s latest cultural hub. As the name suggests, ‘Kathika’ (which began operations in May) is inspired by storytelling traditions like katha-wachan and dastangoi. Comprising two havelis that face each other, the space is choc-a-bloc with all manner of fascinating, nostalgia-provoking artefacts, books, photographs, statuettes, knick-knacks from previous decades, portions of ‘legacy tech’ machines (old typewriters, vintage scooters) and much else. There is an indoor, air-conditioned seating space and a lovely, old-fashioned courtyard. One of the havelis (fittingly, called Neem Ki Haveli), is constructed all around a majestic neem tree (I’m no expert, but that tree has surely witnessed over a hundred summers) that lends an agreeably old-school aura to the surroundings.

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