About Shaniwar Wada Palace
Shaniwar Wada is an excellent example of the Maratha Imperial architecture used in India in the bygone era. It tells the historical tale of the Maratha Kingdom as it has seen every event that occurred in Peshwas Life over time.
It was built by the Peshwas’ symbolizing the brave hearts of the Marathas, who strived hard to keep its glory alive. Though the fort couldn’t tolerate the battering from the wrong time but the stone boundaries still recite the untold tales of the colourful journeys lead by the heroic Marathas.
However, some ruins still remain reciting the remarkable stories and contorted tales. You can witness the enormous stone boundaries made to protect the beautiful Shaniwar Wada, which shows the level of security provided to the people of the kingdom.
The walls have a magnificent wooden gate reflecting the Mughal architecture, which is another example of how secure the palace was made. There are long iron spikes tucked into the gate, which could reduce the attack of the enemy and kept elephants away.
Besides this, you can see a garden which follows the style of the Mughal architecture. It also has a lovely fountain resembling a 16 petaled lotus, right in the middle of the garden. Adding to that, you can see the boundaries marked on the ground, which could tell about all the rooms.
There is nothing more than this havoc of time, which changed the face of the mighty Shaniwar Wada into nothing. But you can still make these remains your window into the past to relive what has happened in history.
History of Shaniwar Wada:
The foundation stone of the Shaniwar Wada was laid in 1730 by Peshwa Bajirao I. Initially, it was intended to be a colossal palace of seven stories made out of stone. But the people of the national capital argued that only King can have a castle made of stone.
So, the construction of Shaniwar Wada began using bricks. It took two years to complete this elegant structure, which displayed an excellent blend of the Maratha Imperial architecture with the Mughal architecture. The interiors had valuable furniture and decorations along with carvings of flowers and paintings of scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The first major fire in the year 1791 destroyed a significant part of the fort, which was re-constructed again. Then the next explosion in 1808 burnt all the necessary artifacts and documents in the palace.
Then another fire in 1812 destroyed the upper two stories of the castle, followed by a fire in 1813 which destroyed the Royal Hall. All this destruction was taken to another level in the year 1818. The British attacked Shaniwar Wada, which resulted in collapsing all the top stories. Finally, in the year 1828, a fire caught the whole palace, which burned for a week and wrecked it.
Architecture of Shaniwar Wada:
Architecture of Shaniwar Wada is an excellent example of Maratha style of construction blended with authentic Mughal architecture. The main gate, also known as Delhi Darwaza, is adorned with iron spikes to restrain the enemy attack as it is enormous enough to pass an elephant through it. There is a small aisle on the top of the door which has dome-shaped windows definitely taken from the Mughal architecture.
Besides this gate, the Wada has four more gates, namely Mastani Darwaza, Khidki Darwaza, Ganesh Darwaja, and Narayan Darwaza. The walls have floral carvings and paintings resembling the Mughal architecture style.
Scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata are also found painted at various significant spots. The windows and doors are also dome-shaped contributing to the traces of Mughal architecture. Archaeologists believe that initially, the fort was six-floored before it was destroyed by the fire. Finally, the garden has a 16 petaled lotus representing the grace of the bygone era.
How to Reach Shaniwar Wada Palace
Pune Airport is at a distance of 12 KM from Shaniwar Wada. It will take around 15 minutes to reach this beautiful palace. You can hire a taxi or catch an auto from the airport to the fort, which would be the best way to commute on this route.
Best Time to Visit Shaniwar Wada Palace
Months from October to February are the best months to visit Shaniwar Wada in Pune. As this is the time of the year when the weather is not biting cold but pleasant. Adding to that, this is the time just after the monsoon so the garden of the Wada will be flourishing with greenery and colours of the flowers helping your experience get better.
However, you should avoid visiting the Wada in the summer and monsoon months as the climate in summer time can get very hot and humid whereas monsoon can become very rainy spoiling your outdoor experience. But if you are considering the day, then it is highly suggested to visit the palace early in the morning at around 08:00 am when there are fewer people and the lighting is best for clicking pictures.
What Not to Miss at Shaniwar Wada Palace
Things to See in the Shaniwar Wada Complex:
Things to see in the Shaniwar Wada Complex are the following:
-Garden: The garden is the only thing left after the harm done by the various fires in the Wada. However, it is a beautiful garden constructed in Mughal style architecture.
-Fountain: It is a 16 petaled lotus-shaped fountain right in the middle of the garden displaying the grand architecture of ancient times.
-Main gate: It is a massive gate adorned with iron spikes to protect the palace from the attacks by enemies and elephants of the enemies.
-Boundary wall: It is a high wall made from stone, which was built to create a protective shield around the wonderful Shaniwar Wada.
-Light and sound show: The show uses projections on the water fountain and narration to tell the tales of Bajirao and Shaniwar Wada.
-Foundation: The foundation of the Wada still traces the boundaries of the rooms, which could be used to imagine how grand the palace would have been.
Attractions near Shaniwar Wada:
Attractions near Shaniwar Wada are listed below:
1. Lal Mahal: It is a reconstruction of the famous Lal Mahal in the tales of Shivaji Maharaj. It is an imaginary image of the original Lal Mahal because nobody knows how did the first look.
2. Vishrambaug Wada: It displayed the Maratha Style of architecture painted with shades of red, brown, and white, which was constructed by Bajirao II. It has nicely carved teak pillars, long columns, adorned ceilings, a gallery made of teak wood, and floors made of stones.
3. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum: The museum has Kelkar’s collection of more than 20,000 articles to be displayed in the museum, which includes musical instruments, Mughal lamps, Ganpati's guns, carved palace doors, etc.
4. Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandir: It is an old temple where the sculpture of Ganpati was incepted by Dagdusheth and his wife when they lost their son. From then on every year, the Ganpati festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm, and people come to witness it from around the world.
5. Aga Khan Palace: The palace is not only known for its architectural excellence but a lot of facts in the past, giving its historical importance. There is a museum inside the castle which has belongings of Mahatma Gandhi and many more art and crafts related to history.
Other Essential Information About Shaniwar Wada Palace
Location: Shaniwar Peth, Pune, Maharashtra 411030
Timings: 08:00 am to 05:30 pm
Price: 5 INR for Indian Tourists and 125 INR for foreign tourists
Shaniwar Wada Light And Sound Show:
Shaniwar Wada Light and Sound Show takes place after the sunset from 7:30 pm. Although the ticket counter opens at 07:00 pm, you should be on time to avoid the rush. The first show at 07:30 pm is narrated in Marathi and then at 08:30 pm, in Hindi.
In the show, you will see the light, image, and video projections over a fountain of water along with a narration of the story of Shivaji and Shaniwar Wada. You must not miss the show if possible, as it will be a perfect way to know the glorious history of the Maratha warriors. However, keep in mind that since it is an open area, the show gets canceled due to rain.
Lesser Known Facts about Shaniwar Wada:
-Shaniwar Wada has been named as it is because the first stone laid in the construction of the Wada was on Saturday as well as the house warming.
-16,110 rupees was the cost of constructing the whole palace, which was quite princely in those days.
-It is also said that the screams of Peshwa Narayan Rao saying ‘Kaka Mala Vachwa’ is still being heard on the campus on a full moon night.
-The Wada has been featured in cinemas for two times. Once in one of the episodes of ‘The Amazing Race Asia 3’ and another time in the Bollywood Blockbuster ‘Bajirao Mastani.’
-The main gate is called ‘Delhi Darwaza’ because Peshwa Bajirao was very much interested in conquering Delhi.
-The reasons for all the fires that took place in the palace are still unexplained.
-The death of the Mastani Sahiba is also a mystery. Nobody knows if she died a natural death, committed suicide, or was assassinated. The only known thing is that she died after the end of Peshwa Bajirao I.