Shaniwar Wada Fort
At a distance of 3 km from Pune Junction, Shaniwar Wada is an ancient palace fort situated in the center of Pune in Maharashtra. This one of the most popular historical places in Pune and also one of the top tourist places in Pune City.
Built in 1732 AD, Shaniwar Wada was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818 AD when the Peshwas surrendered to the British after the Third Anglo-Maratha War. Following the rise of the Maratha Empire, the palace became the center of Indian politics in the 18th century.
Shaniwar Wada was originally built as the residence of the Peshwas. The foundation of the mansion was laid by Bajirao I in 1730 AD and the construction was completed in 1732 AD. It is said that the foundation was carried out on a Saturday, hence the palace got the name 'Shaniwar' (Saturday), 'Wada' (residence). Influenced by Mughal design and architecture, Shaniwar Wada represents the skillful craftsmanship of Maratha artisans and boasts about 21 feet tall main door that faces north. The palace was built using teak that was imported from the jungles of Junnar, stone brought from quarries of Chinchwad, and lime sourced from the lime-belts of Jejuri. Several additions were made to the palace like fortification walls with bastions, gates and court halls by his successors.
This seven storied structure was largely destroyed in 1828 CE by a fire accident. Only the remains can be seen now like the fortification walls with five gateways and nine bastions that enclosed the entire palace. The principal gate is called Dilli Darwaja (Delhi Gate); the other gates are called Mastani or Alibahadur Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja. There is a statue of Bajirao I on a horse in front of Shaniwar Wada. The fort stands amidst a beautiful landscape which contains water channels and different shaped ponds. Inside one can see Ganesh Mahal, Rang Mahal, Aarsa (Mirror) Mahal, Hasti Dant Mahal, Diwan Khana and Fountains. The walls in the palace were painted with scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. A sixteen petal lotus-shaped fountain stands reminiscent of the exquisite work of those times.
The historical structure is now maintained by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). People can enjoy the 1 hour light and sound show at the monument while visiting the Shaniwar Wada. The show runs in both Marathi and English.
Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM.
Light & Sound Show: 7.15 PM to 8.10 PM in Marathi & 8.15 PM to 9.10 PM in English.
Entry Fee: Rs. 5 for Indians, Rs. 125 for Foreigners, Rs. 25 for Light & Sound show