Shaniwar Wada is one of the prime locations in the city of Pune. This historic palace fort was the seat of Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire. Built in 1746, this magnificent fort was destroyed in 1828 by a fire which is believed to be set by the Britishers.
Shaniwarwada was the stately mansion originally built as the residence of the Peshwas. The foundation of the mansion was laid by Bajirao 1 in the year 1730 AD and construction was completed in 1732 AD at a cost of Rs. 16,120. Several additions were made to the palace like fortification walls with bastions, gates and court halls by his successors.
What was once a seven storied structure was gutted by a fire in the palace. Only the remains can be seen now like the fortification walls with five gateways and nine bastions that enclosed the entire palace.
The principal gate is called Dilli Darwaja (Delhi Gate); the other gates are called Mastani or Alibahadur Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja.The walls in the palace were painted with scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. A sixteen petal lotus-shaped fountain stands reminiscent of the exquisite work of those times. The historical structure which stands as an important chapter in the history of the Maratha empire, is now maintained by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Around 1,000 people used to stay in the palace.
Important Attractions to see in the fort :
Dilli Darwaza: The Dilli Darwaza or the Main Gate or the North Gate is one of the major attractions of this fort. This is an entry point of Shaniwar Wada and is huge in size. This gateway has tough doors that are mounted by pointed iron nails to sustain and prohibit the enemy elephants from entering the fort. The bastions supporting this gate also had arrow-loops and machicolation chutes to pour hot substances on the offenders. The interiors of this door were also significantly created and have sharp right and left turns to enter the actual central gateway. This strategic architecture helped to launch a counterattack even of the enemy’s army entered this door.
Mastani Darwaza: This north facing door is dedicated to Bajirao’s mistress Mastani who used this door to travel in and out of the palace’s perimeter wall. Located just next to the Dilli Darwaza, this door is similarly massive as that of the Dilli Darwaza.
Khidki Darwaza: The Khidki Darwazaa literary means Window Door and was given this name due to the provision of window it had. The door faces the east direction and was used to keep an eye on this direction.
Ganesh Darwaza: This door is situated facing the south-east direction. The door is named Ganesh Darwaza as the Peshwas and their mistresses used this door to visit the famous Kasba Ganpati situated here.
Jhambhul Darwaza: This door is situated on the southern wall of the fort and is also commonly known and the Narayan Darwaza. The door was renamed after the corpse of Narayan Peshwe was taken from this door for cremation.
Palaces: Today, only a few remains of the palaces here can be seen. Some of the important buildings in this premise include the Residence of Elder King which is often referred as Thorlya Rajancha Diwankhana. The other palaces include
Dance Hall (Naachacha Diwankhana), Old Mirror Hall (Juna Arsa Mahal), etc.
Garden and Fountains: The well maintained gardens and fountains are the major attractions of this place today. The shady trees magnificently aligned here are simply soothing and offer great space for the visitors to sit. The fountain here named the Hazari Karanje which literary means fountain of thousand jets was constructed for the pleasure of Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao.
The Light and Sound Show: This is one of the most magnificent attractions of this fort. The light and sound show conducted here depicts the entire story about this fort and Peshwas with special light and sound effects. The show is scheduled every day between 7:15 PM to 8:10 PM when the depiction is carried out in Marathi whereas a show between 8:15 PM to 9:10 PM is depicted in English. Ticket booking starts from 6:00 PM to 8:15 PM without any advance booking facilities.
Light and sound show: A light and sound show set up at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore is the main attraction.
Timing of the Show (everyday) 7:15 pm to 8:10 pm (Marathi Show)
8:15 pm to 9:10 pm (English Show)
Ticket rate Rs. 25/- per head
Ticket booking Everyday 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm (No Advance Booking)
Shaniwarwada is a must see place on the tourists’ itinerary, particularly if one takes the Pune Darshan bus organised by the PMC. It has also become an attractive destination for public functions and speeches by public figures.
Compiled by: Townpune.com Team
Google map of shaniwarwada: