Shaniwarwada – The Hallmark of Maratha Dynasty
Located in the Shaniwar Peth in Pune city, near the railway station of Pune, Shaniwarwada fort is one of the most popular historical monuments and main tourist attractions in the city of Pune. It is a monument of historical importance which was originally built by the residence of Peshwas. The foundation stone of this historical mansion was laid by Bajirao-1 in the year 1729 AD. The construction cost was around Rs.16, 200 and was completed in the year of 1732. Later his successors added several accompaniments like fortification walls, court halls and gates to this historical monument.
Shaniwarwada: History of the Fort
Bajirao Peshwa-1 started Shaniwar Wada with a double storeyed structure which had two square court yards on each side. Later it was considerably modified by his successors and today it look more like a fort, completely changed as it was built. The construction of Shaniwar Wada began on the 10th of January, 1730 after Bajirao Peshwa –I collected handful of mud from Lal Mahal and laid the foundation for Shaniwar Wada.
Architecture of Shaniwar Wada
The Architecture of Shaniwar Wada boasts the Maratha craftsmanship and the Moghul Designs. The main door of the fort is about 21 feet tall. The door located in the north of the palace was named as `Mastani Darwaza`. The palace was a home to around 1000 people in those days. The security of the fort was also very restricted and controlled. There were seventy-five towers each were deployed with fifteen to twenty soldiers to guard the palace of the Shaniwar Wada. Shaniwar Wada was protected from the enemies by three thousands and one hundred guards. The walls of Shaniwar Wada were illustrated with scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. A sixteen petal lotus-shaped fountain showcases the architectural work of those times. Today the historical monument of Shaniwar Wada is protected and maintained by Pune Muncipal Corporation. The entire complex of the Shaniwar Wada comprises of trees, fountains, courtyards, blooming gardens, fruits, offices, audience halls and residential quarters which forms the major attractions of the fort.
Fire accident at Shaniwar Wada palace
Shaniwar Wada palace caught fire in the year 1827 and remained undetected for several days. It destroyed the total palace and hence the beauty was lost completely.
Gates of Shaniwar Wada
- Dilli Darwaza (Delhi Gate) – The Delli Darwaza is the main gate of Shaniwar Wada complex. It has massive doors large enough for an elephant to enter. However to discourage elephants seventy two sharp twelve inch steel spikes are arranged in each pane of the gate.
- Khidki Darwaza – It faces the east and the name came from an armored window it contains.
- Mastani Darwaza – Also called as Alibahadur Darwaza, this gate was used by Bajirao’s mistress Mastani while going out of the palace.
- Jambhul Darwaza – Also known as Narayan Darwaza, this gate was used by concubines to enter and leave the fort.
- Ganesh Darwaza – This darwaza used by ladies at the Shaniwar Wada fort to visit the nearby Kasba Ganapati Temple.
Light and sound show at Shaniwar Wada
The main attraction of Shaniwar Wada fort is the light and sound show which was set up at a cost of Rs.1.25 crores.