I have always maintained that it is essential to keep coming to places where there are remains of chapters of Indian history. For the kids especially, they serve as reference points to co-relate with the history they have been taught in school. Somehow, it gets easier for them to remember the facts if they have seen for themselves some proof of the excerpts that they read about. The Shanivar Wada, Pune is one such place that remains symbolic of the influence that the Marathas once had in the area. It had been the focal point of the Peshwa Rulers until the seat passed on to the British.
Etymologically, the place meant Saturday and a residential abode if you would break the name into its components- ‘Shani’ and ‘Wada’. It may piqué curiosity as to why Saturday? But Saturday was the name chosen because the place was used Saturday onwards after lavish rituals since the day is considered auspicious. A large amount of effort is taken to construct the entire fort with the Teak bought from Junnar and its jungles, the town of Chinchwad provided with the stone and from Jejuri was imported the lime which are used for the making of this residence cum fort. Sadly of all the magnificence, there remained only some of the structures because most of them were destroyed in an unexplained fire. Yet, the opulence of the place can only be imagined when you look at the science behind the construction of the gates and also their architectural beauty. The main gate is supposedly built in such a way that if enemy armies would attack then it would give maximum time for the soldiers in the fort to retaliate.
The presence of the other gates in the Shanivar Wada, Pune, all are symbolic of some use or the other. While the Mastani Darwaza was used for Bajirao’s wife Mastani’s exit, the Khidki Darwaza had an armored window. The Ganesh Darwaza was so named because it felicitated the women folk to visit the nearby Ganesh Mandir. With so much history, we moved on to the Saras Baug, Pune for more information on the history of this land.