The Chunnamal Haveli is situated in Katraneel region in the heart of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi which is probably one of the only Havelis still preserved and inhabited by the descendants of Lala Chunnamal. It spreads over an area of one acre and surrounded with over 139 shops including a few cloth shops in the ground floor. The Haveli was built in 1848 with a total of 128 rooms covering three floors and later renovated further in 1864. This fact is seen inscribed in the Living room walls of the Haveli.
Lala Chunnamal became one of the wealthiest persons in Delhi after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. His family belonged to the Khatri merchant clans who traded textiles and brocades during the Mughal period. He was appointed the first Municipal Commissioner of Delhi after the formation of the first Delhi Municipal Division in 1862.
Many people including Mirza Ghalib deplored on the condition of the Muslims especially after the attacks known by people as 'Ghadar' while the mansion of Lala Chunnamal illuminated with joy despite the fact that he was responsible for the upkeep of a peaceful atmosphere in Delhi. He was also the first person to purchase an automobile and have access to a telephone at his Haveli.
Lala Chunnamal also won the bid of the Fatehpuri Mosque auctioned by the British after the 1857 Revolt at a price of Rs. 19,000/-. He preserved and maintained the Mosque very beautifully but later in 1877, the government acquired this Mosque and exchanged it at the cost of 4 Villages given to Lala Chunnamal and returned the Mosque to the Muslims after the British allowed them to stay in Old Delhi.
The rooms in this Haveli are beautifully maintained since its inception by the successive owners lined with intricate art work, well preserved ancient Belgium mirrors and exquisite chandeliers seen made in the traditional style with candle sockets. In one corner, pictures of Celebrities who visited this Mansion are seen hung on the walls which include the photograph of famous Hollywood celebrity, Kate Winslet.
The 10th Generation of Rai Lala Chunnamal named Anil Pershad still live in this Haveli. He is often visited by curious tourists since it forms an important part of the Delhi heritage routes. He patiently smiles till you complete touring through and within the mansion. As you climb up the steep stairs, you reach the terrace which offers a wide and panoramic view of the entire town of Chandni Chowk. In order to maintain and respect the privacy of the residents of the Haveli, it is advised to visit this place during the day time and preferably not during early morning hours or from evening onwards.