Place: Pune district, Maharashtra
Best Season: October to February
Time: 8 am to 5 pm
Significance: It is a great palace fort in the city of Pune.
This building’s placemark is situated in Pune, Maharashtra, India and its geographical coordinates are 18° 31′ 9″ North, 73° 51′ 19″ East. The original name (with diacritics) of the place is Pune. See Shaniwar Wada photos and images from satellite below, explore the aerial photographs of Shaniwar Wada in the Pune area. The seat of the Maratha empire from 1730 to 1818, the Shaniwar Wada is a very important place in Indian history.
Built by the Peshwas (Prime Ministers) of the Maratha King (Chhatrapati), this palace fort has nearly been destroyed completely by a combination of military attacks and fires through the centuries. Under the Peshwai (leadership) of Bajirao I, the capital of the Maratha Empire shifted from Satara to Pune. Bajirao chose Pune for his seat because he found the climate and geography of Pune most suitable for the Peshwai. As both ceremonies – laying the foundation stone and a house warming – took place on Saturdays and the Wada was built in Shaniwar Peth, it was named Shaniwar Wada.
THE FATHER-SON SUICIDE
Nanasaheb’s third son Narayanrao was appointed Peshwa after the death of Madhavrao. Raghobadada, who was the regent for Narayanrao, soon had major disagreements with his nephew, leading to Raghobadada being placed under house arrest. During the Ganesh Festival of 1773, several armed Gardi soldiers led by Sumer Singh Gardi entered the Shaniwar Wada, either with the intent of freeing Raghobadada and his wife or attacking Narayanrao. During the skirmish in the Wada, the young Peshwa was cut down by the Gardis. The body of Narayanrao is believed to be smuggled out of the Wada through the Jambhul Darwaza (the gate used previously by concubines) and cremated by the river at midnight. According to popular legend, Raghobadada had written to the Gardis with the Marathi word ‘धरा’ (to hold Narayanrao) but the letter was intercepted by his wife Anandibai (Raghobadada’s senior wife), who changed a single letter in the word, making it ‘मारा’ (kill). Narayanrao, after being chased by the Gardis, is said to have run inside the Wada ‘काका मला वाचावा’ (uncle, save me). This gruesome crime is said to have brought ill fate to the Peshwai, which never rose to its previous heights after Narayanrao’s demise. Rumour has it that Narayanrao’s cries for help are still heard around the Shaniwar Wada making it one of the most famously haunted places in India. Sawai Madhavrao, the next Peshwa and the son of Narayanrao are said to have been both physically and mentally weak. At the age of 21, he is believed to have jumped into the Hazari fountain, which was built for the pleasure of the infant Sawai Madhavrao, and died after sustaining severe injuries. Thus this majestic Wada witnessed not only the gory murder of a Peshwa but also the unfortunate suicide of his son, forever damaging the psyche of the Peshwai.
1808 – Fire that destroyed all the important artifacts and documents in the palace.
1812 – Fire that destroyed two stories, a warehouse and Asmani Mahal.
1813 – Fire that destroyed the Royal Hall.
1828 – The fifth and biggest fire which is said to have lasted a week.
Shaniwar Wada is often not high on the list of must-visit monuments for history enthusiasts in India. This can be blamed on the combination of destruction by fire, the consequent neglect by the British, and the relative apathy of the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) towards the Shaniwar Wada. A sound and light show, which was popular among visitors, was discontinued after 2009 for reasons best known only to PMC and ASI.
However, there is a positive side to the state of affairs at Shaniwar Wada in 2016. Ever since the release of the Bollywood film Bajirao Mastani, tourists are thronging to the Shaniwar Wada to get in touch with the history of Bajirao.
The sound and light show is being revived to entertain the tourists who have began to venture into this Wada.
HOW TO REACH SHANIWARWADA
Shaniwar Wada is right in the centre of Pune and can be reached using any of the local transport options- buses, autos or taxis.
Shaniwar Wada is also covered by the Pune Darshan buses organised by the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation).
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