For a change this time, I wanted to take the trail tourists take when in this historic city of Maratha. It had been almost a decade since the last time I was in Pune. Back then I had come as a student and had neither the inclination nor the time and money to see Pune. So when I found myself in Pune again this time, I knew I had to make the best out of my couple of days here. I knew that I can’t really explore the city in two days so I thought, why not be a tourist and go see the top things to see in Pune!
The options were many but thanks to my love for of old and historic places, I decided to start my Pune tour from the historic Shaniwar Wada.
The Shaniwar Wada is very much in the city so reaching there is pretty straightforward. I too took a bus and after that, a less than 5-minute walk and I was at the entry of the historic building’s compound. It was all bright and sunny when I alighted from the bus but as soon as I was on the historic Shivaji bridge, walking towards my destination, suddenly from nowhere, the heavens opened up and in no time, I was all drenched. The rain subsided just as it had come, totally unexpectedly, making way for the bright summer sun.
Now a weekend is not one of the best times if you want to visit a place of interest anywhere in the world, let alone in an over-crowded country like our’s so, my visit being on a weekend, I was expecting a fair amount of tourists and was prepared for it. But when I made my way through the ticket counter and to the gate of the Shaniwar Wada, I was pleasantly surprised to find only a handful of tourists. “Have I come too early?”, I thought to myself as I tried to guess how heavy the massive Dilli Darwaja that I was staring at (the one below), would be.
It was BIG, had a small opening in one of its doors to facilitate entry for a smaller number of people and a few of their horses may be. This was now open for the visitors. The big two halves of the door were huge and would have been opened only to allow the armies to pass through. It was obvious from the big, sharp spikes on the doors that this place was of great significance during its time and so every possible arrangement had been made to thwart any uninvited guests.
From the outside, the place doesn’t look very big so, when I finally made my way inside through its century – old but still very strong walls, I pleasantly surprised to see the courtyard on the other side of the alley that I had taken after the door. Very well-maintained and green, the place was a stark contrast from what existed just beyond its wall. Bang in the middle of the cacophony of the ‘city’ that is Pune, this place was no less than a breath of fresh air. A much-needed something even if you forget its historical aspect for a moment.
As I slowly walked through the lush green park-like garden inside, I noticed that people, locals and tourists alike, have started trickling in. I saw families walking around lazily, couples sitting together on the green grass carpet that was trimmed to perfection as kids ran all over the place with one or both of their parents tailing them while I made my way to the other end of the compound.
One of the things I have always been fascinated, of a lot of things, of course, is old brick walls so that was exactly where I was heading.
The charm of the place only increased for me as I walked to the upper storey of Shaniwarwada and was able to get a closer look of the place. The intricately designed pillars, the beautiful wooden flooring and the equally beautiful sitting area which overlooked the courtyard below, all of them in fairly good shape, couldn’t help me from appreciating their architectural perfection.
As I walked out of this magnificent building after spending a good half-day, I couldn’t help but imagine how would it had been during the Peshwa-era. When this was the seat of power when rulers whose names are written in bold in our history, ruled from here.
It was indeed a wonderful day spent!
Do you like historic places? Which one is your favorite?