About Lal Mahal
Located close to Shaniwar Wada, Lal Mahal is Pune’s historical landmark. Dating its existence back to the 16th century, Lal Mahal acknowledges the valor of leaders and rulers of Shivaji’s era. It is a symbolic representation that elucidates the heroic acts that the Peshwas were known for.
Not only does it account for the excellence of battles and acquisitions, but it also contributed a lot to Shivaji’s childhood. Today, the Lal Mahal stands as one of the major tourist attractions worth adding to your Pune bucket list.
Lal signifies ‘Red’ whereas mahal denotes ‘palace.’ This is how the monument derived its identity. The entire palace is an architectural brilliance. The walls built from the red bricks feature the progressive stage of Shivaji’s life journey.
As you step inside, there’s a place where you can see a depiction of Shivaji Maharaj plowing a piece of land. He holds a golden plow and all his efforts are being appreciated by his mother and his guru standing adjacent to him.
A significant portion of this mahal was once destroyed by the cruel attacks on the city of Pune. What you see today, is a re-work named Jijamata Gardens initiated by the PMC administrators. You will see many small children and senior citizens enjoying here.
Besides, the Lal Mahal also features a small replica of the Raigad Fort. Be it either Jijabai’s statue or the place where Shivaji Maharaj chopped off the fingers of Shaista Khan, the Lal Mahal is a heaven for the history buffs.
A visit to the Lal Mahal will brief you about Shivaji’s planning strategic attacks, defense points, secret escape routes, and so on
History of Lal Mahal –
Shivaji’s father, Shahaji Maharaj, was the one who laid the foundation of this Lal Mahal. The main reason to construct this colossal structure was the quick revival of the miserable condition of Pune.
During those days, he served in the position of Bijapur Sultanate.
After conquering a few territories, he was enthroned to rule over some Pune territories. This was the time when he felt necessary to construct a palace for his accommodation.
Eventually, in the year 1630 AD, Lal Mahal stood high with pride. From then, until he acquired Torna Fort in 1645, this was his residential palace.
This fort has also witnessed the upbringing of Maharashtra’s brave son – Shivaji Maharaj.
Yet another story is associated with this fort. It was in April of 1663 when Shivaji Maharaj, along with his battalion of 400+ soldiers, seized the palace and killed Shaista Khan's son. In the same battle, Shivaji Maharaj chopped off Shaista Khan’s fingers with his sword.
The present-day structure of the Lal Mahal was built right on the part of the land where a portion of the original one was destroyed. If you closely compare both the present day and the original Lal Mahal, there’s quite a difference.
This current monument is actually a re-construction work accomplished by the Pune Municipal Corporation in 1998.
How to Reach Lal Mahal
By Rail – To reach Lal Mahal, you need to board a train that will drop you at Pune Railway Station. From there, you can opt for any local transport to take you to the Lal Mahal. The distance between Pune Railway Station & the Lal Mahal is only 2 km.
By Road - Lal Mahal is well-connected through roadways. Hence, you can easily find a local rickshaw or hire a taxi to reach here. Also, you can opt for public transport, the frequency of which is quite good. You do not need to book your public transport trip in advance.
By Bus - Various local buses run between the Lal Mahal and other regions in Pune.
What Not to Miss at Lal Mahal
Places To Visit Near Lal Mahal -
Darshan Museum – Darshan Museum is a part of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission Premises. It depicts the life journey of Sadhu Vaswani, who was a poet, a visionary, and a famous educator. The museum portrays a brilliant amalgamation of history & technology.
You can observe the life journey of Sadhu Vaswani and his teachings with the help of audio-visual mediums.
Trishund Ganpati Temple – This Ganapati temple is present along the banks of Nagazari and is an elegant piece of art and creativity. The Ganesh sculpture here is unparalleled, and this is what ranks the temple amongst the rare temples list.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum – Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum of Pune is dedicated to the valuable contributions of Dr. Dinkar Kelkar’s son. The museum is a 3-storeyed building homing to various sculptures, which are as old as the 14th century.
Here, you have a comprehensive relics collection capturing the cultural diversity of the local people.
Saras Bagh – Located on the foothills of the mighty Parvati Hills, Saras Bagh is one of the greatest attractions in Pune. The garden spanning across a stretch of 25 meters, there is also a holy shrine dedicated entirely to Lord Ganesha within it.
The lush greenery that defines the authenticity of this piece of natural creativity is continuously trimmed and well-maintained.
Things to do in/near Lal Mahal -
Embrace the freedom struggle of the Marathas – Lal Mahal is a historical representation of the freedom struggle of the Maratha rulers. It has played a significant role in the upbringing of the great Maratha warrior – Shivaji Maharaj.
You can opt for a local guide to brief you about the historical significance of this palace.
Witness the dedication and focused approach of young Shivaji – On the main entrance, there’s a sculptural depiction of young Shivaji engaged in plowing the field. Placed close to him are statues of his mother and his guru who seemed to be involved in nourishing young Shivaji and appreciating his efforts.
Relax at the Jijamata Garden – Once you are done with exploring the Lal Mahal, you can simply rest for some time inside the Jijamata Garden. Here, you will find many small kids playing with either their siblings or cousins.
Allow your kids to play with them as it might contribute towards a healthy cultural exchange. Besides, your child will have some new friends to enjoy with.
Other Essential Information About Lal Mahal
Location – Lal Mahal is located on the Shivaji Road in Kasba Peth of Pune.
Opening Hours – Except for Wednesday, you can schedule your Lal Mahal visit on any day of the week. The Mahal doors remain open for the visitors from morning 09:00 am and close down by 01:00 pm for lunch. Again, at 04:00 pm, the doors are opened, which shut by 08:00 pm.
In case you want to explore every nook and corner of the fort, plan your visit early during its opening hours. This will give you sufficient timings to move without stumbling into anyone.
Entry Fee – The entry cost for your Lal Mahal visit is 3 INR or 0.046 USD per head.
Best Time – There’s no specific time to visit Lal Mahal as it welcomes you for all 365 days of the year.
Average Temperature – The average annual temperature in Pune is around 25 degrees Celsius.
Distance from Pune – Lal Mahal is at a distance of 450 meters from the mainland of Pune. This distance is easily covered with a 2-minute drive via Mote Mangal Karyalay Road & Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Road.
Transportation facility – Lal Mahal is very well connected with the roads, and thus, reaching here is never an issue.
Medical Facilities – Lal Mahal itself doesn’t have any medical facility. However, you might get it nearby.
Network Connectivity – Network connectivity is quite good at the Lal Mahal.
Places to Eat near Lal Mahal
New Poona Bakery – If you are looking for quick to eat snacks, try the New Poona Bakery products. Viennese Croissants, donuts, and French tarts are their chief preparations. Veg cream rolls are the next delicacy to taste here.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon serves some flawless flavors of malai tikka, soups, biryani, and rolls at affordable prices.
Akash Snacks Corner – Here you will get good fast food varieties to eat.
South Indian Canteen – If you are craving for some South Indian delicacies, this is an ideal place for your visit. Uttapam, Idli, Rava Masala Dosa, Rasam Rice, and so on are primary foodstuffs served here.
Shripad Idli Centre – This is one of the best restaurants to approach for sumptuous street food options. Medu Vada and Idli served here perfectly blend with the flavored chutney.