Shaniwar Wada initially was supposed to be made completely of stone but after building the base floor or the first storey, the people of Satara complained to the Shahu (King) saying that a stone monument can be sanctioned and built only by the Shahu (King) himself and not the Peshwas. Thus, an official letter was written to the Peshwas stating that the rest of the building be made of brick and not stone. The Wada was then completed and upon being attacked by the British Artillery 90 years later, all the top six stories collapsed leaving only the stone base, which did not succumb to the attacks. Hence only the stone base of the Shaniwar Wada remains even till date.
On February 27, 1828, a raging fire started inside the palace which went on for seven days. Only the heavy granite fortification, strong teak gateways, deep foundations and ruins of the buildings within the fort remained.
Palaces & Doors
1) Dilli Darwaza
The Dilli Darwaza is the main gate of the fort, and faces north towards Delhi. Chhatrapati Shahu is said to have considered the north-facing fort a sign of Baji Rao's ambitions against the Mughal empire.
2) Mastani Darwaja (Mastani's Gate) or Alibahadur Darwaja
This north facing gate was used by Bajirao I's wife Mastani while travelling out of the palace walls.
3) Khidki Darwaja (Window Gate)
The Khidki Darwaja faces the east and is named for the armored window it has.
4) Ganesh Darwaja (Ganesh Gate)
Ganesh Rang Mahal, which used to stand near this door, facing south-east was how this door got its name. It was used by ladies at the fort to visit the nearby Kasba Ganapati temple.
5) Jambhul Darwaja or Narayan Darwaja (Narayan's Gate)
This gate was used by mistresses to enter and leave the fort. It gets its second name after Narayanrao Peshwa's corpse was said to be removed from the fort for cremation through this gate.
Is the Wada haunted?
After death of Madhavrao, Narayanrao, the youngest of Nanasaheb’s son, took over the throne. He was only 17 years old at the time. This succession, however, was disliked by his own uncle, Raghunathrao, brother of Nanasaheb. Even Narayanrao wasn’t fond of his uncle very much as he held Raghunathrao responsible for Madhavrao’s death. These differences soon reached their peak and Narayanrao put Raghunathrao under house-arrest.
Raghunathrao’s wife Anandibai, furious over her husband’s arrest, plotted Narayanrao’s death seeking the help of the Gardis, highly trained assassins. On the last day of Ganesh Festival on 30th August 1773, captain, Sumer Singh Gardi and his guards, entered the palace and started a chaos. Narayanrao, saw the Gardis and ran out of his chamber towards his uncle’s quarters, screaming “Kaka! Mala Vachva!!” or “Uncle! Save me!”. The Gardis followed Narayanrao all the way to his uncle’s chamber, caught hold of him in front of his uncle and cut him down. Narayanrao’s corpse was cut into pieces and secretly thrown into the river at midnight.
It is said that even today people can hear young Narayanrao screaming “Kaka Mala Vachva”, on full moon nights.
Shaniwar Wada Information
A light and sound show that was set up within the fortification is the main attraction here. The Pune Darshan Bus is the best facility for tourists to see Shaniwarwada.
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
Ticket booking: Everyday 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm (No advance Booking)
Title image : wikipedia