Sethi House: A mesmerizing marvel of architectural splendor needs projection on digital media

PESHAWAR   -  Known for its architec­tural wonders and rare wood craftsmanship, Sethi House is a unique building in Peshawar that requires proper pro­motion on digital media to attract foreign tour­ists and architecture en­thusiasts.

Constructed by the Sethi family in 1886, Sethi House is a his­torical building from the British era, carry­ing unique architectur­al value and eye-catch­ing wood designs. It is an amalgamation of Mus­lim and Vernacular Uz­bekistan architecture that could attract foreign tourists if showcased properly on digital me­dia through short videos and pictures to gain max­imum exposure.

Located in a small al­leyway, Sethi Mohallah, near the historic Ghan­ta Ghar Peshawar, Sethi House is about a 10-min­ute drive from the bus­tling Qissa Khawani ba­zaar.

“Inspired by Muslim and vernacular architec­ture of Bukhara, Uzbek­istan, the Sethi family, associated with interna­tional trade, constructed this architectural mas­terpiece after migrat­ing from Jhelum, Punjab, to Peshawar in the early 19th century. In Mohal­lah Sethian, about sev­en havelis were built in almost the same style, signifying the affluent aesthetic passion of the Sethis,” said Bakhtzada Muhammad, senior re­search officer of the Ar­chaeology Department KP, while talking to APP.

Associated with the wood and furniture busi­ness, with their trade expanded up to Cen­tral Asia, the Sethi fam­ily brought new innova­tions in the architecture of houses, mansions, and buildings, as evident in Sethi House, showcas­ing their unmatched ar­chitectural intellect and immense love for Muslim architecture.

“The fate took a nega­tive turn for the Sethis at the start of the 20th cen­tury when they faced se­vere economic setbacks due to the Bolshevik Revolution. This resulted in their businesses being adversely affected after the Soviet Union adopt­ed a new currency. Sub­sequently, they sold their houses to revive their business and strengthen the economy,” he said.

Built by Sethi Karim Bakhsh, Sethi House is spread over 33 marlas, including three portions: basement, courtyard, and first floor. Its con­struction began in 1835 and was finally complet­ed after 49 years in 1886.

“It is my second vis­it to Sethi House. I was very pleased to see the rehabilitation and repair works of this architec­tural masterpiece of Pe­shawar,” said Manzoorul Haq, former Ambassa­dor, while talking to APP.

“I have visited many countries, but I have not seen such an impressive building with red and green window glasses and ventilator structures anywhere in the world,” he said.

“The mehrabs inside its rooms are filled with small glass shelves in­tended to place candles at night, shining like stars in the sky. It has impressed me a lot,” he said.

The ceiling is designed with pure Islamic ar­chitecture, and visitors could gaze at the ceiling for hours, enhancing its elegance.

“Buildings like Sethi House are built over cen­turies. It is the identity of Peshawar, and its promo­tion is required to attract foreign tourists,” he said.

Upon entering Mohal­lah Sethian, visitors see its main wooden gate constructed at around five feet in height, lead­ing them to a vast open courtyard with a wa­ter fountain in the mid­dle, reminiscent of its glorious days when this stunning architectural masterpiece welcomed scores of people through its doors.

Four spacious rooms surrounding its court­yard are connected through passageways that attract visitors’ at­tention. The windows of the rooms face the court­yard, each from the same angle, featuring colorful glasswork that adds to the great aesthetic beau­ty.

Visitors cannot help but be impressed while seeing the red and green window glasses, reminis­cent of post-Renaissance art in European church­es. The glass cut-pieces were imported, especial­ly from Belgium, to cre­ate a blend of architec­tural styles.

Bakhtzada said the in­tricate web of floral de­signs on its doors, win­dows, and arches stands as a testament to the art­istry of the era’s artisans. These embellishments add to the accolades for the workers who put un­surpassed effort into the intricacies of the unique design, making Sethi House an architectural wonder.

Upon entering its first floor and balconies, vis­itors encounter a cold breeze and get a bird’s eye view of the sur­rounding areas of Pe­shawar, being the home of a civilization over 3,000 years old. Its base­ment has spacious liv­ing rooms for accom­modating visitors, and holes in wooden ventila­tors are angled uniquely, ensuring ample lighting throughout the day.

“Sethi House is a mod­el for modern-day green architecture because of its perfectly built ven­tilating structures and unique architectural airy designs,” said Shahryar Khan, Chief Architect at the Communication and Works Department, while talking to APP.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt