Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwarwada (Marathi: शनिवारवाडा pronunciation (help·info)) is a palace fort in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1736, it was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818 when the Peshwas surrendered to the British. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist site.

Construction

Peshwa Baji Rao I, prime minister to Chattrapati Shahu, king of the Maratha empire, laid the ceremonial foundation of his own residence on Saturday, January 10, 1730. It was named Shaniwarwada from the Marathi words Shaniwar (Saturday) and Wada (a general term for any residence complex). Teak was imported from the jungles of Junnar, stone was brought from the nearby quarries of Chinchwad, and Lime (mineral) was brought from the lime-belts of Jejuri. Shaniwarwada was completed in 1732, at a total cost of Rs. 16,110, a very large sum at the time.

The opening ceremony was performed according to Hindu religious customs, on January 22, 1732, another Saturday chosen for being a particularly auspicious day.

Later the Peshwas made several additions, including the fortification walls, with bastions and gates; court halls and other buildings; fountains and reservoirs. Currently, the perimeter fortification wall has five gateways and nine bastion towers, enclosing a garden complex with the foundations of the original buildings. It is situated near mula river, in kasba peth.

Despite of its ethical moral the fort is not maintained by the governmental premises of Maharastra.Local Pune mates feel that this place is being ruined by its visitors,due in lack of supervision by the ministry of Tourism.

Fort complex
Gates

Shaniwarwada has five gates:

  • Dilli Darwaza (Delhi Gate), facing north
  • Mastani Darwaja (Mastani's Gate) or Alibahadur Darwaja, facing north
  • Khidki Darwaja (Window Gate), facing east
  • Ganesh Darwaja (Ganesh Gate), facing south-east
  • Jambhul Darwaja or Narayan Darwaja (Narayan's Gate), facing south
Palaces

The important buildings in the palace includes the Thorlya Rayancha Diwankhana (Marathi:The court reception hall of the eldest royal, meaning Baji Rao I), Naachacha Diwankhana (Dance Hall), and Juna Arsa Mahal (Old Mirror Hall).

Since the buildings were destroyed in the fire of 1828, only descriptions of the living areas of the fort are available. All the state halls in the buildings are said to have doorways with exquisitely carved teak arches, with ornamental teardrop teak pillars shaped like Suru (cypress tree) trunks supporting the ceilings, which were covered with beautiful teak tracery, carved creepers and flowers. Exquisite glass chandeliers hung from the ceilings. The floors were made of highly polished marble, arranged in a mosaic pattern and adorned with rich Persian rugs. The walls contained paintings with scenes from the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The buildings are said to have been designed and constructed by many well-known artisans, including Shivaram Krishna, Devaji, Kondaji Sutar, Morarji Patharwat Bhojraja (an inlay-work expert from Jaipur) and Ragho (a painter).

One of the buildings in the Shaniwarwada complex was seven storeys high. It is said that the spire of the Sant Dnyaneshwar temple at Alandi, 17 km away, could be seen from the uppermost terrace of this building.

The Fountain

The complex had an impressive lotus-shaped fountain: the Hazari Karanje (Fountain of a thousand jets). It was constructed for the pleasure of the infant Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao. It was designed as a sixteen petal lotus; each petal had sixteen jets with an eighty foot arch. It was the most complicated and intricate fountain of its time.

Captain More who visited the Shaniwarwada in 1791 described it as “very magnificent. A hundred dancers can dance here at a time. In one corner is a marble Ganapati statue and the palace is flanked by a fountain and a flower garden.”.

History

By 1758, at least a thousand people lived in the fort.

In June 1818, the Peshwa, Bajirao II, abdicated his Gaadi (throne) to Sir John Malcolm of the British East India Company and went into political exile at Bithoor, near Kanpur in present-day Uttar Pradesh, India.

On February 27, 1828, a great fire started inside the palace complex. The conflagration raged for seven days. Only the heavy granite ramparts, strong teak gateways and deep foundations and ruins of the buildings within the fort survived.

Trivia

In 2008, Shaniwar Wada was featured in The Amazing Race Asia 3. In the game show, one participant from each team of two have to find the correct pheta from among those worn by 50 men within the Wada.

Building Activity

  • Amar Bhoyar
    Amar Bhoyar commented
    Awesome place to visit in Pune :-)
    about 6 years ago via Mobile
  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com