August 7, 2016

Shaniwar Wada - Pune

Site Name: Shaniwar Wada
Site Type: Museum, Historical
Location:  Pune, Maharashtra state, India
Highlights: The fortification of the Peshwas
Nearest Railway Station: Pune
Nearest Airport: Pune
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire Pune city
Restaurants: Varieties of options especially delicious Maharashtrian food across the entire city

Pune is the second largest city of Maharashtra state of India. The city which exists since the 9th century CE was the first capital of the great Maratha Emperor Chattrapati Shivaji. Pune is also considered as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. The city has many attractions and most of them are religious sites. Let us explore a historically important site called Shaniwar Wada in this article. 

Before talking about Shaniwar Wada, let me brief about the Marathas royal history. The Maratha Kings were called as Chattrapati. The Prime Ministers in the Maratha Empire were called as Peshwas. Originally, they served as the subordinate to the emperors. Later, they became the de facto leaders and the Chattrapatis were just the nominal rulers. However, at last even the Peshwas lost their power and they remained under the authority of the other Maratha nobles and the British East India Company. 

It was built by Baji Rao I, the Peshwa of Chattrapati Shahu in 1732 CE. It remained as the residence of the Peshwas till they were defeated in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818 CE. In 1828 CE, all the buildings inside the fort were lost in fire. 

Currently, the site has five gateways, nine bastion towers, a garden complex and a small temple. The statue of Baji Rao outside the main entrance is a later addition. 

The magnificent north facing main gate is called as Dilli Darwaza. The other gates are named as Mastani Darwaza, Khidki Darwaza, Ganesh Darwaza and Narayan Darwaza.

It is sad to find the entire fort almost empty with just traces of the palaces and buildings.

Happy travelling.

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