Shaniwar Wada - The Throne of the Peshwas
The Maratha empire was the most powerful and liberating empire in Medieval India. Started by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who is loved, respected, adored and thanked by all, was the founding father of this great empire. Peshwas, who were earlier the appointed Prime Minister in Marathas, later became the rulers.
Shanirwar Wada is the historical fortification in the city of Pune which was once the seat and the palace for the Peshwas. Built in 1732 by Bajirao I and once a large palace now reduced to just fortified boundaries, used to house more than 1000 people at a time. Just like any other gigantic kingdom, this too starts with a magnificent gate or popularly called as "Dilli Darwaza" as it faces Delhi. This is the only fort in India whose main gate faces Delhi.
As I walked past this huge gate and collected my entry token, I was mesmerised by the beautiful garden that was ahead of me. The neatly managed park and fountains, which were once a grand palace with many halls and rooms, is now flocked with tourists and locals. The image gets stamped in the mind if viewed from the top, which is by climbing to the first floor of the Jharokhas.
The complex also had a lotus shaped fountain, which was the most intricate design in those times. It was built for the pleasure of the infant Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao.
Roaming around the complex would show you different gates (darwazas) which were used for different purposes. The major ones were:
Mastani Darwaza - This was used by Bajirao I's wife Mastani to go out of the palace
Khidki Darwaza - Contained an armoured window
Ganesh Darwaza - Was used by the ladies who wanted to visit nearby Kasba Ganpati temple
Jambhul Darwaza (Narayan Gate) - Was used by concubines (mistresses) to enter and leave the fort
Doesn't it tell you how organized kingdoms were in the past? A mere walk in the complex with all this information, takes you visually in that time.
The fort was destroyed in a fire in 1828 which brought down many storey's. We can still see the stone structure that was used still intact. It is funny to see common folks sitting around those destructed structures which was once throned by the royals!
The hall depicts paintings from Ramayana and Mahabharata at the ceiling and the floor is made by polished marbles with mosaic style.
Maharashtra history is full of valour and might of the Marathas. The strongest and impenetrable forts exists here which will make you wonder how we consistently degraded from the onset of the decline of these kingdoms. So, if in Pune, Shanirwar Wada is a must visit!
I just managed to click one photo of mine :D