The story of Shaniwar Wada is that ‘Shrimant Peshwa Bajirao’ once saw a rabbit chasing a dog in this place. Taking inspiration from this, Shaniwarwada was built, a place which would never see defeat. This palace was the greatest seat of power of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire until 1818.
The glorious Maratha era
Chimaji Appa the brother of the famous warrior Peshwa Bajirao built the Shaniwarwada of Pune, in 1732. Bajirao was named the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, honouring his immense military intelligence and power. Many wars have been won by Peshwa Bajirao for the Marathas empire.
While Bajirao was away on one such war, he entrusted his younger brother, Chimaji Appa with the responsibility to build the best palace fort at the place where he had seen the rabbit chasing a dog. Chimaji Appa sought to build the most exquisite palace ever. So that he could present the gift to his beloved brother. Little did he know this palace fort would stand the test of time for centuries to come.
Shaniwar Wada was largely destroyed by an unexplained fire and has also stood tall all the way through Panshet floods of 1961. In the present day, the surviving structures are a tourist site. If you have a couple of hours free in the Pune city, take a stroll at this place where once upon a time stood the greatest seat of power of the Peshwas. The Bollywood movie ‘Bajirao Mastani’ has very well picturized the glory and grandeur of Shaniwar Wada of Pune
Dilli Darwaza of Shaniwar Wada of Pune
As you make your way through the chaos of the city towards the very centre is this ancient structure with the most intimidating walls. But even more intimidating is the main door. The door is the Dilli Darwaza (Door) which is big enough to let even elephants pass through. On the door, you see the sharp spikes to stop any uninvited guests.
The Courtyard and its Fountains of Shaniwar Wada
Inside Shaniwar Wada is a place like a courtyard with remains of the ancient fort perfectly converted into a beautiful garden in the centre. A stroll beside the garden and you can see beautiful fountains one of which called the “Hazari Karanje” (a fountain of a thousand jets) which had sixteen jets of water along with the sixteen lotus petals making an 80-foot arch. You can either take a stroll through these gardens or take a walk on the wall which goes all around the fort, with unique scenes of the city outside and the courtyard inside, from atop.
Architectural Remains at Shaniwar Wada, Pune
The beauty of the place speaks for itself and when you come to the intricately designed pillars, the beautiful wood flooring and the equally beautiful sitting area which overlooks the courtyard below, all of them in reasonably good shape it will make you appreciate their architectural perfection.
Haunted Story of Shaniwarwada of Pune
Some interaction with the locals and you get to know an interesting story about the Spirit of Shaniwar Wada. The fort has experienced brutal killing of Bajirao’s Grandson Narayanrao on the orders of his own relatives. People say that his spirit even today screams “Kaka Mala Wachwa” (Uncle! Please save me) on every Full moon night.
As you walk out of this magnificent building after spending a good couple hours, you will not help but imagine how would it had been during the Peshwa-era, when this was the seat of power where rulers whose names are in bold in our history, ruled from here.
How to reach Shaniwar Wada of Pune:
Get to Pune and in the centre lies Shaniwar Wada, really hard to miss it as it stands in the middle of the city’s chaos.
What to see:
The Palace, The Hazari Fountain, Dilli Darwaza, Other Fountains, Walk on the Palace Walls.
Best time to Visit Shaniwar Wada of Pune:
Any time of the year. Shaniwarwada timings are 9 am till 5:30 pm
Entry Fees: Indian Tourist: INR 25 per head; Non-Indian Tourists: INR 300 per head (separate charges for Video Equipments)
Light and Sound Show Timings: 7 to 7:40 pm and 8 to 8:40 pm
Light and Sound Show Fees: INR 50 per head