Shikarpur’s Balconies and Brackets

An extensive use of decorated and undecorated wooden brackets in façades and outer and inner balconies is a common feature of Shikarpuri havelis and maaris (mansions).

by Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro at Youlin Magazine: I have been documenting Shikarpur’s cultural heritage since 1998, and the city’s maaris (mansions) and havelis have always fascinated me. The ornamentation on both balconies and brackets is a testament to the artisans’ unparalleled craftsmanship and artistry. The intricate decorations on the architectural elements of havelis and maaris showcase the identity of the owners and artisans. The builders gave special attention to the brackets, doors and balconies in the mansions, while artisans dedicated considerable time to engraving and creating vivid and attractive designs. Each of the balconies in an old neighborhood of Shikarpur is a masterpiece, reflecting the artisans’ mastery over the art of woodcarving. Most old mansions are located inside the famous gates of Shikarpur, including Wagnodar, Hathidar, Hazaridar, Lakhidar, Karandar, Khanpuridar and Sividar. The havelis and maaris within these gates showcase remarkable balconies and brackets. The list of the havelis and maaris is very long, and I cannot discuss all of them. However, I will focus on a few havelis and maaris to give an insight into the beautiful woodcarvings found on the balconies and brackets.

Some wooden balconies are found inside the Karandar area, while one haveli is located opposite the Plaza Cinema and is noted for its brackets and balcony. People from Shikarpur used wood in their buildings very often. Doors, windows, balconies, brackets, sunshades above windows, and columns were mainly made of wood and aesthetically carved.

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