Time Required: 1 - 3 hours
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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