Shaniwar Wada

Weather :

Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Historical Site

Timings : Ticket booking for light and sound show: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM every day,
Visiting hours: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM every day

Time Required : 1 - 3 hours

Entry Fee : Indian citizens: INR 5,
Light and sound show: INR 25,
Foreigners: INR 125

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Shaniwar Wada, Pune Overview

Shaniwarwada, once the seat of the Peshwa governance in Pune is a 286-year-old mansion and is one of the finest examples of architecture in the city. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maharashtra. This grand mansion was built by the Peshwa Bajirao I himself as the residence of the Peshwas. Although the Wada currently covers an area of 625 acres, in its heyday it covered almost the entire area of the city itself. The place never fails to amaze the visitor with its various forts and fountain, and the majestic statue of Baji Rao I that greets the visitor at the entrance of the palace. Although most of the Wada was destroyed by an unexplained fire in 1828, what remains of it is equally thrilling and majestic.

The Shaniwar Wada, although ridden with tales of treachery and deceit, is one of the last standing testimonies to the grandeur, valour, and the just rule of the Peshwas. The entire old part of the city of Pune is laid out in a chaotic yet ironically, orderly fashion all around this historical structure. It is around Shaniwar Wada that you will find the oldest markets of Pune including Laxmi Road, Tulshibaug, Ravivar Peth etc. It is said that on a full moon night the fort is haunted by the ghost of a former Peshwa king Narayanrao as he was murdered in the palace by his aunt and uncle - Anandi and Raghunathrao. However, there is not a shred of evidence to support such claims. So, you can get a glimpse of history and some drama as well! This was after all the site of the famed romance between Peshwa Bajirao and Mastani Sahiba. In fact, one of the gates has also been named after her!

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Shaniwar Wada History

The Shaniwar Wada was built by Bajirao I in the 18th century. Bajirao served as the Peshwa or the Prime Minister to the Maratha ruler- Chhatrapati Sahu. The palace was at first supposed to be a massive 7-storey stone structure, but after the completion of the base floor, much hue and cry arose. The people objected to the construction on the grounds of the fact that stone palaces could be sanctioned and built only be the king and not by his Peshwa. Following this, it was decided that the remaining building would be constructed in brick, and not stone.

Shaniwar Wada was finally completed, but little did anyone know that the monument would witness some murky and horrifying times in the days to come. 90 years later, the palace was attacked by the British Artillery, which caused the entire six storeys to collapse and fall. Only the stone base remained to testify the grandeur and glory of the period passed. On February 27 in 1828, a great mysterious fire started inside the compound. The fire that raged on for seven days razed the entire palace to the ground and what remained were large granite ramparts and ruins of the buildings, along with a few strong teak gateways.

Construction and Structure of Shaniwar Wada

The ceremonial foundation of Shaniwar Wada was laid down by Peshwa Baji Rao I on Saturday, January 10 in 1730. The palace was named Shaniwar Wada after the Marathi words Shaniwar (Saturday) and Wada (residential complex). The teak for the construction was imported from the jungles of Junnar; lime was fetched from the lime-belts of Jejuri and stone was brought from the quarries of Chinchwad. The total cost incurred in the construction at that time was INR 16,110: a sum that was considered to be a fortune in those times. Several additions were made later on, such as the fortification walls with gates and bastions. Court-halls and other fountains and reservoirs were also added.

The walls of the palace were painted with scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Teak doorways were scattered all over the fort, and the beautiful marble floors were covered with Persian rugs. The Ganpati Rang Mahal is another significant site. It was the place for all religious functions of the Peshwas and housed a giant statue of Lord Ganesha. Currently, the complex comprises of the perimeter fortification wall with five getaways (the Dilli gate, the Mastani gate, the Khidki Darwaza, the Ganpati gate and the Narayan gate), nine bastion towers and a garden complex. A sixteen petal lotus-shaped fountain stands indicative of the exquisite work of those times. A few surviving cannons can also be found here: one at the entrance and one within the complex.

Shaniwar Wada Haunted Story

This popular tourist destination in Maharashtra is as famous for its spookiness, and it is for its historical significance. In fact, Shaniwar Wada is one of the most haunted locations in the country. The story starts with Peshwa Narayan Rao and his differences with his greedy and rebellious uncle Raghunath Rao. It is widely believed that Raghunath Rao has sent a message to get hold of Narayan Rao by stating- 'Narayan Rao la dhara', which means 'Hold Narayan Rao'. However, before the message reached the guards, Raghunath Rao' s wife Anandibai changed it to 'Narayan Rao la mara' or 'Kill Narayan Rao'. What followed was the ghastly murder of the Peshwa, who cried and ran about the fort screaming "Kaka mala vachva", which meant "Uncle save me!"

The spot where he was murdered is believed to be haunted by his spirit till date, which moves about the fort and urges his uncle to save him. People who live close by swear to having heard his cries on particular nights.

Shaniwar Wada Light and Sound Show

A Light and Sound show has been set up at the Shaniwar Wada at a total cost of INR 1.25 crores to educate and inform the general public about the rich history of those times.

The show is held every day in the evenings. The timings of the show are as follows:
Marathi Show: 7:15 PM to 8:10 PM
English Show: 8:15 PM to 9:10 PM

The price of the ticket is a nominal INR 25 per head and can be purchased every day between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM. There is no advance booking and tickets are available on the spot.

Shaniwar Wada Timings and Entry Fee

The Shaniwar Wada is open every day from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM. The entry ticket to the palace costs INR 5 per head for Indians and INR 125 for foreigners. This does not include the entry fee for the Light and Sound Show.

Tips For Visiting Shaniwar Wada

1. Since there is a lot of walking around to be done, avoid visiting the Shaniwar Wada in April and May, when the temperature is soaring.
2. Wear comfortable shoes so that you can easily walk around and explore the palace. Keep in mind that the paths are rugged and hence not suitable for disabled people or kids in strollers.
3. No food or water is available inside the complex. Therefore, it is advisable to carry your water bottle.
4. Visit the place either in the morning or the evening to get the most out of your trip.

How To Reach Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwar Wada is right in the centre of Pune and can be reached using any of the local transport options- buses, autos or taxis. Shaniwar Wada is also covered by the Pune Darshan buses organised by the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation).

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