Shaniwar Wada fort is the most popular and historical monuments in Pune city. In 1729 Peshwa Baji Rao commissioned the building of Shaniwar Wada. Shaniwar Wada has great fountains, courtyards, fruits, trees, offices audience halls and substantial residential areas as its attractions.
One of the main historical monument and the main tourist attractions of Pune city is the Shaniwar Wada.
Shaniwar Wada is located in Shaniwar Peth in Pune city, near the railway station of Pune. Shaniwar Wada is a great historical monument and the main tourism attraction in Pune city.
History of Shaniwar Wada
Shaniwar Wada is a monument of historical importance in Pune city which was originally built as the residence of Peshwas. The foundation stone of this historical mansion was laid by Bajirao-1 in the year 1729 AD and the construction was completed in the year 1732 at a cost of around Rs.16,200. Several additions were made to this historical monument like fortification walls, gates and court halls etc. by his successors.
Bajirao Peshwa-1 started Shaniwar Wada with a double storeyed structure with two square court yards on each side. The Shaniwar Wada today looks like a fort, Shaniwar Wada as we see it today was not how it was built. The successors of bajirao have modified the structure and today it is like a fort.
The construction of Shaniwar Wada began on the 10th of January, 1730 when Bajirao Peshwa -I, collected a handful of mud from the nearby Lal Mahal and laid the foundation for the Shaniwar Wada.
The architecture of Shaniwar Wada was influenced by Moghul Designs and Maratha craftmanship. The main door of Shaniwar Wada is about twenty one feel tall. The door located in the north of the palace was named `Mastani Darwaza`.
The security of Shaniwar Wada was excellent. There were seventy-five towers with fifteen to twenty soldiers deployed to guard the palace of the Shaniwar Wada. About three thousands one hundred guards were there to protect this monument from the enemies.
Shaniwar Wada palace caught fire in the year 1827. Unfortunately the fire remained undetected for several days. The fire completely destroyed the total palace and the beauty of the palace was lost in the fire accident. Shaniwar Wada is a good illustration of efficient town planning maintained during the rule of Peshwas.
The walls in the Shaniwar Wada palace were painted with scenes from the great Ramayana and Mahabharata. We can see a sixteen petal lotus-shaped fountain which is an excellent work of those times. The historical monument of Shaniwar Wada is maintained by Pune Muncipal Corporation today. Nearly 1000 people used to stay in the palace in those days.
The entire complex of the Shaniwar Wada comprises of fountains, courtyards, blooming gardens, offices, audience halls and residential quarters.
Gates of Shaniwar Wada
Shaniwar Wada has a total of 5 gates. Let us now discuss about these 5 gates of this great historical monument of Shaniwar Wada.
Dilli Darwaza (Delhi Gate): The Delli Darwaza is the main gate of Shaniwar Wada complex. This gate faces north towards Delhi. The Delli Darwaza has massive doors, which are large enough to admit elephants inside. To discourage the elephants to charge the gates, seventy two sharp twelve inch steel spikes are arranged in a nine by eight grid in each pane of the gate. These steel spikes are arranged at a height of forehead of a battle elephant.
Mastani Darwaza: The Mastani Darwaza also called as Alibahadur Darwaza is also facing north. This gate was used by Bajirao's mistress Mastani while going out of the palace.
Khidki Darwaza: The Khidki Darwaza is facing east. The name Khidki Darwaza came for an armoured window it contains.
Ganesh Darwaza: The Ganesh Darwaza is facing South-east direction. The Ganesh Darwaza was used by ladies at the Shaniwar Wada fort to visit the nearby Kasba Ganapati Temple.
Jambhul Darwaza: The Jambhul Darwaza or the Narayan Darwaza faces south direction. This gate was used by concubines to enter and leave the fort. The name 'Narayan Darwaza' came after Narayan Peshwa's corpse was removed from the fort through this gate.
The fountain at Shaniwar Wada
The Shaniwar Wada had a lotus-shaped fountain. This fountain was constructed for the pleasure of the infant Peshwa Sawai Madhav Rao. The fountain was designed as a sixteen petal lotus with each petal having sixteen jets with an eighty foot arch.
Light and Sound show at Shaniwar Wada
The light and sound show at Shaniwar Wada was set up at a cost of Rs.1.25 crores and it is the main attraction of Shaniwar Wada fort in Pune.
Timing of the Show (everyday):
Marathi Show - 7:15 pm to 8:10 pm
English Show - 8:15 pm to 9:10 pm
Ticket rate: RS.25/- per head.
Tickets for the Light and Sound show can be purchased every day between 6.30 Pm to 8.30 PM. There is no advance booking.
Shaniwarwada is a must see place on the tourists’ itinerary, particularly if one takes the Pune Darshan bus organised by the PMC. It has also become an attractive destination for public functions and speeches by public figures.