Join Restoration Works International on an exploratory trip, October 18-27, 2016, to one of our future projects in Udaipur, India: the Bichli Haveli. As a participant, you’ll be among the first RWI volunteers to arrive on site, and you’ll play an important role in pre-program preparations by providing input about community engagement, logistics, site work, local programs and area activities. We won’t be participating in any hands-on restoration this trip but rather getting to know the site, the community, and our partners as an advance team.

The Bichli Haveli

Built between 130 and 140 years ago, the Bichli Haveli is the traditional ancestral home of the Mehta family, one of the noble families of the former Mewar state. Situated in the old city of Udaipur in Rajasthan, it is close to all the famous bazaars, palaces, and lakes for which the “White City” is known.

The Mehta family still owns the property six generations after it was constructed, but it has sat empty since 1992. With 46 rooms, 3 stories, 2 courtyards, and 5 staircases, it is a large space with enormous potential.

Restoration Works International is partnering with the Mehtas to restore this magnificent piece of Indian heritage and convert it to a purpose that will be beneficial to the surrounding community.

Preliminary plans call for the haveli to become a joint guest house and traditional arts space, which will employ local workers and actively promote the sustainability of Udaipur’s living and tangible heritage during and after the restoration.

Project At-a-Glance

Together, we will:
• preserve and restore the culturally and historically significant Bichli Haveli
• employ local laborers and artisans
• provide economic benefits for the surrounding neighborhood

Preliminary Itinerary

Participants should arrive at least one day before the trip begins and plan to stay one day after.

October 18 (Day 1) – Trip begins on the morning of Day 1 with participants meeting the group leader at the New Delhi hotel where we’ll be staying for the next two nights. We’ll tour important heritage sites and get to know each other at a welcome dinner.

October 19 (Day 2) – We’ll be meeting our in-country partners, the Mehta family, and fitting in a little more sightseeing before preparing for our flight to Udaipur the next day.

October 20 (Day 3) – We’ll take a morning flight to Udaipur where we’ll check into our hotel for the next seven nights, tour the Bichli haveli, and receive an orientation on the heritage of Udaipur. We’ll also receive our volunteer assignments for the week.

October 21-26 (Days 4-9) – In the mornings, we’ll complete assignments. Afternoons will be free for more work, rest, and time for sightseeing at the city’s bazaars, palaces, and famous lakes (and a possible overnight trip explore the region).

October 27 (Day 10) – On our last day, we’ll fly back to New Dehli where we’ll gather for one last meal together at a special farewell dinner that evening.

No Special Skills Required

Only a desire to make a difference in the lives of the local community and a healthy dose of self-motivation, flexibility, and creativity.

During this exploratory trip we won’t be doing any hands-on restoration work. We’ll be establishing the groundwork for future trips so the project is a success for the community and volunteers from the start. Once we get on site in Udaipur, there will be lots to do, such as establishing relationships with the community, documenting the site and surroundings with photographs and video, and identifying lodging, dining, sightseeing activities, and potential overnight trips for future volunteers.

If you have photography and videography skills or community planning or community organizing experience, let us know.

Can’t Go?

Please make a donation to help us launch the first phase of the Bichli Haveli restoration. Donations provide the funds by which Restoration Works International will purchase building materials and pay the wages of the on-site crew (most of whom will come from within the community). All donations are a tax-deductible donation in the United States. (Please consult your tax advisor.)