The Shaniwar Wada fort in Pune, which covers about 625 acres, was constructed by Peshwa Bajirao I, as the abode of the Peshwas. It served as the loving home of Bajirao I and Kashi and is also significant for the valuable cultural history of India. You shall be wonderstruck at the beautiful forts and fountains it has and the magnificent statue of Baji Rao I, which adorns the entrance of the fort is quite praiseworthy. However, the fact that it is considered one of the most haunted places in Pune cannot be ignored.
The magnificent fortification which was planned to be entirely built-in stone was objected by the people on the grounds that only kings had the authority to build stone palaces. Thus, six out of seven floors were built with bricks and only the ground floor comprised stones.
The six floors were destroyed by the British empire about ninety years later and the enchanting palace had only the base floor remaining to reminisce of the memorable past. On 27 February 1828, it went up in flames which crumbled the entire palace leaving behind granite ramparts and the ruins of the building along with a few sturdy teak gateways.
Construction and Structure of Shaniwar Wada
10 January 1730 saw the inauguration of Shaniwar Wada which was derived from the Marathi words Shaniwar (Saturday) and Wada (residential complex). Jungles of Junnar contributed the teak for building purposes whereas the lime came from the lime belts of Jejuri and stone was also used. The walls depicted the scenic beauty of the epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana while Persian rugs decorated the glorious marble flooring.
The Ganpati Rang Mahal is difficult to miss as it was another significant site for all religious celebrations of the Peshwas and was blessed with a gigantic statue of Lord Ganesha. Presently, you can observe nine bastion towers, a garden complex and various gates, namely the Dilli Gate, the Mastani Gate, the Khidki Darwaza, the Ganpati Gate and the Narayan Gate.
What shall attract your attention the most is definitely the sixteen-petals lotus-shaped fountain which is a symbol of the lovely times of that era. It is also known as Hazari Karanje which has the power of a thousand sprays or jets. You can spot a cannon or two: one while you enter and another inside the fort.
Shaniwar Wada Haunted Story
This is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the article which shall give you goosebumps. The main characters pertaining to this story are Peshwa Narayan Rao, his ruthless uncle Peshwa Raghunath Rao and his evil wife, Anandibai. Tired of his uncle’s controlling nature and undue dominating streak over the empire, Peshwa Narayan Rao put him under house arrest. Peshwa Raghunath Rao wanted to seek revenge and thus ordered ‘Narayan Rao la dhara’ which meant ‘Hold Narayan Rao’. But before the guards could get hold of this which was the original message, his cunning wife tweaked the message to ‘Narayan Rao la mara’ which is clearly interpreted as ‘Kill Narayan Rao’.
Shaniwar Wada Light And Sound Show
It is one of the most famous attractions which takes place in the heart of the Wada. It depicts the entire journey of Shivaji’s era through a beautiful projection of vibrant lights and mesmerizing images over a water fountain. The show takes place in both Hindi, Marathi and English.
a) Rich history
b) Artistic architecture
c) Ghostly mystery
There is a nominal visiting charge for visitors which are as follows;
a) Indian citizen – Rs. 5,
b) Foreign citizen – Rs. 125,
There are a light and sound show organized for the public’s enjoyment. It charges Rs. 25 per person.
The Shaniwar Wada Fort is open on all days. The timings to visit the place are limited to 08.00 to 18.30 hours.
The fort is not a very huge place. Also, a large part of it is in ruins because of a terrible fire. Hence you need only about 1-2 hours to fully tour this fort.
Shaniwar Wada Fort was once the royal home of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire. It was one of the most important and regal Forts in the Deccan Plateau. The Peshwas had constructed the fort to be a wondrous sight, complete with battlements, towers and trenches. It was considered to be a jewel in the crown of the Maratha Empire.
Wear comfortable shoes, as you will have to walk long distances. Your feet will thank you later.
a) Remember to not stray away in the Fort ruins.
b) Always keep your guide informed about where you are.
c) Carry snacks and water with you.
d) There are limited options in place to eat near the Fort.
Best time to visit:
Pune is a beautiful place and has pleasant weather throughout the year. You can visit it at any time between July – April. You will not feel much discomfort due to the weather.
How to Reach?
Pune is well connected to all the nearby major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Bangalore. There are regular flights and trains between the two places. Buses are always there to move you around. Rickshaws and tempos are available for commute inside the city. For your own comfort, you can also book a private cab.