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Shanivar Wada in Pune

Thursday, April 12, 2012



After exploring Aga Khan Palace we decided to explore Shanivar Wada, the second place on our itinerary.
We consulted some local people and, taking their advice, hailed a rickshaw to Shaniwar Wada. It took us around 30 minutes to reach Shaniwar Wada and cost us Rs 80.
Shanivar Wada


There was a huge crowd outside the fort. We wondered if they were all there to see the fort. It turned out that they were all college students out there to celebrate Tie Day and Saree Day.
I was amazed at the sight of the fortification. The huge door with spears at the entrance made the door even more amazing. Within the main door, there was a smaller door to let people in.
Having bought ourselves an entry ticket of Rs 5 to view to fort, we saw a cannon up ahead. It was still intact. We immediately ran over to get a picture.
Cannon inside the premises


There is a huge garden and some broken down structures in the premises. There were a few cannons mounted on rocks on the inside of the fort.
There is a one floor structure above the main entrance. It has two bastions next to it. We climbed up the staircase and onto the first floor. This was like a French window but with no glasses mounted on it. It has been beautifully carved out of wood and polished but has not been touched over the years. The roof was made of wood. 
View from the Bastion

The bastions had small holes in them, through which guns could be mounted for the purpose of shooting at the enemy. They also had small windows cut out in the rocks, which I guess is for the people to see where the enemy was coming from.
From here on the outside we could see the city in front of us and on the inside we could see the garden, the broken down structures and the fortification of the entire place.
There were many such bastions across the fort, and many other doors, like the Narayan Gate, Mastani Gate and Khidki Darwaja, which are currently closed to the public. The doors or Darwajas, as they are called, have the old locking systems installed on them. Even the locking systems were huge as the door was huge. These locking systems on the doors used to protect Shaniwar Wada from outside invasion.
Garden inside the premises
The entire fort is square-shaped and is placed right in the centre of the city with the walls in good condition and a road running around it.

We then started to survey the walls of the fort. The stone walls were so broad that four people could have easily walked hand in hand on it without falling down on the inside.
There are many staircases, narrow and steep, which bring us up to these walls all across the inside of the fort. The walls were used to protect the fort. Secondly, there were rooms built within the walls of the fort. These rooms have now been closed and are guarded by locked iron gates.
Walls of the Fort

I saw a lot of couples hanging around in Shaniwar Wada. Maybe all these are locked to protect the Wada from insiders, caught in the act.
There were two huge circular pillars which were built on two of the bastions. They seemed to have been added recently. As there was no guide at hand to talk about their history, I could only make speculations.
After walking and exploring the fort via the walls, we then came to the ground to explore the garden and the broken down structures around it.
Hithakshi and Me

I don’t know what this was used for, whether it was used to tie the horses or used as a stand for the fire torch, but these were placed all over the fort.
At the entrance of the garden there was a board put up giving information about the famous events that had taken place within the fort. There is one plaque which provides information about the family tree of the Peshwas who had built this fort.
Broken down stuctures in the premises

A special show in the evening showcases a musical garden to spectators. I haven’t seen it but I guess it is similar to the one I saw in Brindavan Gardens in Mysore. Much smaller though.
We then checked the structures all around it. There was an empty water tank which was meant to provide water to a thousand people staying here.
Beautifully crafted Balcony above the main entrance of Shanivar Wada

That took us back in history. What this place might have looked at that time. When one stands on the walls, one can see grounds all across the fort and houses away in the distance and now houses, shops have cropped up all around the fort. A tiny road separates the fort from civilization.

Just imagine what would have happened if the government had taken an early step in restoring these structures before they collapsed. Then we might have got a glimpse of some of that ancient glory. Hopefully, the belated attention will safeguard whatever remains from collapse and destruction.
Wall

It took us around 1½ hours to view this fort in its entirety. Outside the fort there was a huge statue of Shivaji Maharaj put up on a podium. I guess reality shows are held here with the Shaniwar Wada in the backdrop as the stage was being removed and so were the chairs put around it.

On this trip, both food and water were not an issue as they were easily available. There was no need to carry packed water and food. This was an urban trek and not a rural far away from civilization trek, like the ones I usually do.
Narayan Gate

Shaniwar Wada is listed among the names of the most haunted places in Maharashtra. I had read on the internet that the Peshwas had ruled the province; Narayan, the head of the state, had been assassinated under the order of Madhavrao’s wife. The assassins chased Narayan across the fort. It is said that while running he yelled, “Uncle, save me.” It is said that even today locals hear his voice on a full moon day.
As we had come in broad daylight, we were not likely to hear his voice crying for help.
Khidki Darwaza and shelter near the walls

Family tree of Peshwas

I had told Hithakshi about this and she was against visiting this place. I somehow convinced her to accompany me on this trip stating that it is totally safe during the day.  It has to be. After all, the place is packed with people.
The Main Door
We then headed off to board a city bus to take us to Pune City. It cost us Rs 14. This trip had been a good one. Both places had been good sights. We had a few snacks and then headed off to catch a bus that would take us home. I will plan to do the other attractions in Pune, in the coming weekends. So stay tuned to my blog for those too.





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9 comments:

Viraj Hadkar said...

Hi Merwyn, I enjoy reading the details of the places you visit. It feels that I have myself visited these places. Keep visiting and writing.

Pranjal Wagh said...

Hi Merwyn, Beautiful article! The statue outside Shaniwarwada is that of Peshwa Bajirao I or Thorle Bajirao Peshwe during whose tenure this magnificient residence was built! He is credited with being the Fighting Peshwa who transcended the barren lands of central India to take Maratha Rule up north!

merwynsrucksack said...

Thanks Pranjal and Viraj

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Neha Chandel said...

Hi...Merwyn....Your blog is awesome! Keep writing...Actually i also wanted o start writing a blog...could u help me... :-)

Merwyn Rodrigues said...

Thanks Neha,

Sure why not :)

CRD said...

Hi. How long did it take to explore the place? 1 or 2 hours or lesser?

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