Growing up in a joint family where I’ve always been surrounded by my family members and where I’ve never slept alone at night has now created nyctophobia in me. Even the thought of sleeping alone creates an anxiety in me. But if you ask me about my favourite movie genre then “horror movie” tops the list and anyway what’s the point of watching a horror movie if you don’t feel the thrill and experience the horror in your ‘real life’ (lol, just kidding) . Not just horror movies, but watching horror tv shows,reading spooky stories and visiting haunted places excites me a lot. The mysteries of the unknown have always fascinated my mind.
But not everyone enjoys being afraid, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that no one wants to experience a truly life-threatening situation. But there are those of us (well, a lot of us) who really enjoy the experience, and I am one of them. (though it leaves me haunted for the next few days then), but then it’s a different feeling all together.
So on my very first visit to Pune city, I was just googling about the places I should see in Pune and I was preparing a list of places to visit according to that. And while I was going through an article which says “Must visit places in Pune”, there was one thing that caught my attention and that was Shaniwar Wada, reading the little description about this place gave me an adrenaline rush and made me push the boundaries a little and take a peek into what exactly is mysterious about this place. It’s not just in stories but according to the localites they have witnessed some spooky occurrences here. The locals also believe that the fort is haunted by the ghost of Bajirao’s grandson Narayanrao, who was brutally killed on the orders of his relatives. Some people also believed that the fort never prospered and was probably cursed. Well, to be honest this was not the only sole reason for me to visit this place but the movie Bajirao Mastani also kindled my curiosity and urge to take a visit to this place.
Shaniwar Wada’s main entrance gate
So the day when I finally visited the place I was completely awestruck seeing the exuded fine architecture and a historical charm that it has, and not just that but you could actually sense a mystery in the walls which cannot go unnoticed.
It is an exquisite sample of Peshwa architects of Maratha empire who took up inspiration from Mughal work and incorporated it within their own local architecture. You could see the delicate flower carvings on the door frames and walls which would remind you of the Mughal architechture you see in the forts of Agra and Delhi.
As I walked through the huge gate with iron spikes on it to keep elephant armies out, there’s a zigzag fashion way and you could see staircase on both the sides which takes you up to the huge walls of Shaniwar Wada. The steps are quite steep and the passages are narrow and dark, and then it leads you to a palace where you get a glimpse of amazingly beautiful carvings on the walls. As you walk ahead you could see few surviving cannons, one at main entrance and few small cannons within the palace which could help you imagine what existed back then.
Iron spikes on the main entrance
A touristic pic is a must 🙂
The garden at the Shaniwaar Wada is an integral part of the place which enhances the view of the place. The one thing I would recommend everyone is walking atop the entire perimeter of Shaniwar Wada.
The garden view of Shaniwar Wada
The Five gates of Shaniwar Wada
The fort has 5 doors, with Dilli Darwaza being the main entrance to the palace. It was named Dilli Darwaza (Delhi Gate) because it faces north towards Delhi and is the primary gate of the fort. Chhatrapati Shahu is said to have reasoned the north-facing fort a gesture of Baji Rao’s ambitions against the Mughal Empire.
The second gate is named Mastani Darwaza, again this one also faces north and it was named after Bajirao’s mistress Mastani to enter and leave the palace.
The third gate named Khidki Darwaza, is faced towards the Lal Mahal, where Bajirao grew up.
The fourth gate is the Ganesh Darwaza, facing south- east and the gate was used by the women and other residents of the place to visit the Ganpati temple in the city.
Now the last gate, the Fifth gate is Narayan Darwaza it was named after Narayanrao Peshwa’s corpse was removed from the fort for cremation through this gate.
It allows you a view of the entire palace compound.Though the place is covered by most of Pune Drashan tours or the local city tours and it’s probably Pune’s one of the most popular, iconic and important site, but you would be little dissapointed after reaching this place seeing it’s condition. The place is not well maintained and above that locals littering and defacing the monument has ruined the beauty of the place, now it’s a mere shell that bears no semblance to its former glory. But, I would still recommend atleast one visit to the place, even though there’s nothing much left but the remnants is enough to give an idea what existed back then.
The place is located in the heart of mini metros of India, Pune which is easily accessible by railway, road and flight. Shaniwar Wada is right in the centre of the city and can be reached using any of the local transport options- buses, autos or cabs.